grillgirl, moistening with butter, stumps smoker

Butter is the key to keeping meat moist on the Competition BBQ Circuit.

If you ever go to a BBQ competition (and I highly recommend you do) it is very likely that you are going to see squeezable butter everywhere. Johnny Trigg, the Godfather of BBQ, started the butter craze long ago with his famous 3-2-1 rib recipe. I take the use of butter to whole other level.

I use butter, not only on my ribs, but for my chicken and pork. I have cooked in 10 contests so far this year and have got a pork call at all but one contest.

pork award

5th in Pork in Franklin, NC. Tying with one of best teams in the nation, Swamp Boys BBQ

My secret?….butter.

Once my butts reach an internal temp of between 150-160 I begin to wrap them. I put my butts on the tin foil and squirt a whole container of squeezable butter on them and then add a touch of brown sugar and some more of my rub. When I am building a pork box I like to add as much bark as possible. When a judge takes a bite of my Q I need that one piece to pack a punch. The butter, rub and sugar mixture achieve this goal.  Not only does the butter work as a binder for rub; the oils in the butter act a moisture enhancer- softening that bark and making bbq that will make you want to slap your momma!

In my last article I wrote about my recent chicken win (and I had another great finish last weekend) and have got several emails about my chicken recipe.

My chicken is very simple to make:

I use bone in chicken thighs; I have used boneless, I have used whole, I have used skinless and found that bone-in-skin-on thighs produce the money.

-First thing you won’t to do is pull the skin off of your thighs and put them in the freezer (the skins).

-Get the thighs in a good brine. I personally buy a brine mix to put mine in. You can find many recipes on the web of good brines.  Let the chicken brine for 4-6 hours.

-While your chicken is brining, take your skins out of the freezer and begin scraping all the excess fat off of the back of them. This cangrillgirl, power of butter, bbq moistening take about three minutes per skin (very time consuming). Amy does this for our team and found that a butter-knife with the teeth close together works best.

-Take thighs out of the brine. Wash thoroughly.

-Rub thighs with your favorite poultry rub (….. you thought I was going to tell you what I use, didn’t you?)

-Wrap the scraped, newly thinned skins around the thighs

-Lightly dust the skins (less is more)

Smoke it up!

I cook my thighs in small steam pans as to not get any char marks, because of the high heat. I set my pit to 300 degrees.

grillgirl, squeezable butter, power of butter, bbq moistening


After about one hour, When the chicken is at the 130ish degree (You know… this real scientific stuff) mark, I lay on the butter. In the comp world we call this a butter bath. This is going to make your chicken melt in your mouth! I keep the chicken in the pans and squirt each thigh with a liberal amount of squeezable butter. I then let them cook another 30 mins.

-Take your chicken and put it directly on the smoker for your next stepgrillgirl, chicken, squeezable butter, power of butter, bbq moistening

-Now apply your sauce. I use Plowboys 180 sauce for my chicken, but you can use whatever strikes your fancy.

It couldn’t be simpler.

Always remember when smoking anything, less is more. Many people think we are out on the circuit performing BBQ magic and that just isn’t so. Consistency and simplicity will get you’re the best BBQ every time.


Keep calm and butter on, y’all!



Are you convinced of the power of butter?  Check out these related posts!

How to Achieve Perfect Grill Marks (Grill Grates Review)

Citrus Grilled Golden Tilefish with Coconut Lime Compound Butter

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