Butter Bath Chicken Thighs on a Weber Charcoal Grill

Here is a spectacular way to cook chicken thighs on your Weber charcoal grill!  This butter bath chicken thigh recipe is inspired by the techniques developed on the competition barbecue circuit where getting the perfect skin texture is critical.

This technique is pretty easy to perform and always yields great results!

Butter Bath Chicken Thighs


Prepare the Chicken Thighs

Start with a pack of chicken thighs and flip them over on your cutting board.

untrimmed chicken thigh

Use a long, thin knife and slide it around the bone until you find the thigh vein.

Remove the vein

Nobody likes getting a chicken vein stuck between their teeth.  Do everyone a favor.  Grab that thing and pull it out.

Now take your knife and trim off any large fat deposits or excess skin.  You should have a nice looking thigh when you are done.

Here comes the fun part 🙂

Get an aluminum pan and add about 1/3 of a cup of Parkay.

Why Parkay and not butter?  Butter will separate into liquids and solids and potentially scorch.  Butter is delicious but it is also an inconsistent product.  Parkay is what has been battle tested on the competition circuit and has consistently come away the clear winner.

Parkay in Foil Pan

Place the chicken thighs into the pan skin side down and season with salt and pepper (or your favorite chicken rub).

Seasoned Thighs in the Parkay

Smoke the Chicken Thighs on Your Kettle

Set your kettle up for indirect high heat.  Typically I will have a charcoal basket of fully lit charcoal and run it with both vents completely open.

Charcoal Basket with Lit Coals

I do not have a magic temperature for smoking thighs; I like to go hotter than cooler.  You need to be hot enough that the Parkay is bubbling and extracting the fat away from the chicken skin.

Try to target a temperature of 275F.

Add a chunk of apple, peach or maple wood for smoke.  You are looking for a wood with a light smoke profile.

Place the pan on the side of the kettle that is away from the heat and close the lid with the top air vent directly over the chicken.

Thighs in the pan

Start checking the thighs after 40 minutes.

You want to take them out of the bath when they hit 165F.

Thighs in melted butter bath

Once they have hit 165F carefully take them out of the bath and put them back on the kettle skin side up.

The skin is super delicate and fragile.  It will easily tear if you aren’t paying attention.

Thigh with extremely tender skin

Hit the chicken with some barbecue sauce.

You can use Sweet Baby Ray’s or whatever suits your fancy.

Chicken Thigh with Sauce

Let the thighs cook until they hit 175-185F internal and the sauce has set, about another 15 minutes.

The skin is super delicate, the meat is rich and buttery and the sauce and smoke finish out the package.

Butter Bath Chicken Thighs

Some folks do these with the skin side up in the pan and finish the skin off on the hot side of the grill.

Butter Bath Chicken Thighs

Butter Bath Chicken Thighs

Chicken thighs are smoked in a Parkay bath to create a super delicate skin. The thighs are finished out of the bath with barbecue sauce for competition quality results.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Calories 375 kcal


  • 6 bone in, skin on chicken thighs
  • 1/3 cup Parkay margarine
  • 1/3 cup Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp black pepper


  • Trim excess fat and skin from the chicken thighs while also removing the vein from near the bone.
  • Spread the Parkay evenly into an aluminum foil pan.
  • Place the chicken thighs into the pan with the skin side down.
  • Season the meat side of the thighs with salt and pepper or you favorite poultry seasoning.
  • Smoke the thighs with indirect heat at 275F until the thighs reach an internal temperature of 165F.
  • Remove the thighs from the pan and place on the indirect side of the grill with the skin side up.
  • Paint the thighs with barbecue sauce and cook until an internal temperature of 185F is reached, about another 15 minutes.


Use a mile wood such as apple for smoke flavor.  You could make these thighs even better if you soaked them in a brine or marinade for several hours before they go into the Parkay bath.

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