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tips for BBQ | The secrets for low and slow barbecue ribs, pulled pork, brisket and more

How to do Butter Bath Chicken

Also Known As: Competition Chicken Thighs

Butter Bath Chicken -

This is one of many BBQ secrets used by the pros to produce spectacular competition chicken thighs and is part of the amazing flavor behind my Chicken Saltimbocca recipe. Now the name "butter bath" is somewhat of a misnomer as you should really use margarine. 'Why margarine' you ask? Well margarine actually has a much higher smoke point than butter (i.e., when the fat in it goes from good to bad tasting).

Butter Bath Thighs This process may seem a little over-the-top, but it consistently produces great results. In fact it’s used by some for competition barbecue chicken with good success. The main key to this method is that rather than drying the chicken out you’re adding a rich buttery taste while keeping it tender and juicy – we’re braising BBQ chicken.

Now, there are a few variations you can play with here. You can smoke the chicken for an hour prior to braising or as I prefer go straight to the braising. You can also use this on thighs just as mentioned below or on something like my Stuffed Chicken Saltimbocca recipe.

How to Do Butter Bath Chicken:

  1. Prepare your chicken thighs as desired (debone, trim, rub). See competition link above for help.
  2. Fill the bottom of a disposable aluminum pan with approximately 1 cup of margarine.
  3. Place 12-16 prepared thighs in the pan. The butter should come up no more than half-way when melted.
  4. Cook at 250-275°F for 1 hour in pan.
  5. Remove from pan and place directly on grill. Re-season with rub as necessary.
  6. Set the shape of the thighs as you place them on the grill.
  7. Cook until the chicken reaches 165°F internal temperature and then apply glaze. NOTE: The sauce should be warm and contain plenty of honey to get a decent textbook shine. You can brush on or for better coverage you can dunk the whole chicken thigh in the glaze.
  8. Cook until the thigh reaches 175°F. When finished you should have some great looking like the Pickled Pig’s chicken thighs shown here.
    Finished BBQ Chicken Thighs

Go to the BBQ Dictionary for more definitions.

Last Updated: January 22, 2012

Related Recipes for Butter Bath Chicken

Stuffed Chicken Saltimbocca - Barbecued Chicken Saltimbocca is a prosciutto and cheese stuffed chicken that literally means "jumps in the mouth".