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Competition-Style Butter Bath

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This easy, homemade competition-style butter bath will take all the guesswork out of keeping BBQ meats moist and tender during a long cook. All you‘ll need to do is combine the ingredients with liquid right before wrapping. This recipe makes enough for two racks of spare ribs or one 6-8 pound pork shoulder. Use this competition butter bath on steaks, corn, turkey, and more!

Using Competition-Style Butter Bath

What is a butter bath?

A butter bath is a liquid that is made of butter and is typically used for submerging foods like steaks or corn. However, when it comes to barbecued meats, a barbecue butter bath refers to the wrapping stage of the cooking process. With BBQ ribs, wrapping takes place after the first 3 hours of cooking. The ribs are placed into a large sheet of aluminum foil and then drizzled with apple juice, brown sugar, and butter before sealing it and returning it to the grill. Our homemade competition-style butter bath is a convenient powder-based variation similar to a BBQ rub. That means it can be made ahead of time and stored in an airtight container until ready to use.

rib done shot

What you’ll need to make a BBQ butter bath:

  • Honey Granules: I used the Spiceology Honey Granules for this recipe
  • Butter Buds or Molly McButter Butter Sprinkles
  • Brown Sugar
  • Paprika
  • Onion Powder

How to make this competition-style butter bath:

Measure out the ingredients called for in the recipe card below. Place it in a bowl, and whisk until well combined. Use immediately, or store it in your pantry for later use.

Adding liquid: Combine the powdered butter bath and apple juice with a fork. After a few seconds, the dry ingredients will start to dissolve.


How to use it

  • Use 1/4 cup of competition-style butter bath mixture, with 1/2 cup of apple juice for 1 rack of spare ribs. 
  • Place the rack onto a large sheet of aluminum foil. Slightly curve the edges to create a boat-like shape.
  • Carefully pour the competition-style bath butter around the ribs.
  • Seal the ribs up, place them back into the smoker, and continue cooking for 2 hours.
  • For pork shoulder: If you are planning to use this butter bath on pork shoulder, combine 1/2 cup of the competition butter bath mixture with 1 cup of apple juice and wrap as directed.


Make up a large batch of this competition-style butter bath, and store it in an airtight container in your pantry for up to 1 year. Check on it every so often, and give it a good shake.

Try this butter bath on my Pellet Grill Pork Ribs Recipe

Competition-Style Butter Bath

Competition-Style Butter Bath

Use this butter bath and when wrapping your BBQ ribs and pork. It will quickly become your favorite go-to recipes for both convenience and flavor. This recipe makes enough for 2 racks of spare ribs or 1 pork shoulder.
5 from 7 votes
Print Rate
Course: Rubs
Cuisine: American BBQ
Keyword: butter bath, butter bath for ribs and pork, competition butter bath, rib wrapping
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 6
Calories: 38kcal


  • 1/4 cup honey granules
  • 5 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons Butter Buds or Molly McButter Butter Sprinkles
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder


  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl using a whisk or fork.
  • Use 1/4 cup of mixture with 1/2 cup of apple juice for 1 rack of spare ribs. Use 1/2 cup mixture plus 1 cup of apple juice for 1 pork shoulder.
  • Make a large batch and store it in an airtight container in the cupboard for up to 1 year.


Calories: 38kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 3mg | Potassium: 15mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 13IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 9mg | Iron: 1mg

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