Ribs- just wondering what this does, and if you have a special method.


Jo Torez

TVWBB Super Fan
Good morning,

I've done the 3-2-1 method for ribs but I've never put butter or brown sugar in my foil only apple juice.
Besides flavor, what does the butter do? I've seen pics of the parkayyyyy and real pats on top of the ribs. Do the ribs taste greasy?

Thank you and have a good day.

Bob H.

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Real pats are flavor enhancers, not greasy. Go with real over Parkay, its just a pretender trying to be real.

Dave from Denver

TVWBB Wizard
Butter and parkay is a flavor enhancer as it bastes the ribs inside the foil with fat - some of the spices in your rub are only fat soluble (not water soluble) so in theory it helps transport those flavors through your slabs.

Parkay is a competition thing - somewhere along the line some teams started winning using it and so now you see it all over the place. I agree there's no reason to use it over butter, though.


TVWBB Gold Member
I definitely side with Bob and Dave, if you're going to go through the extra effort to foil use real butter.


TVWBB All-Star
I've been using two Tbls of real butter with my ribs and have had excellent results.
The butter supposedly adds a silky texture onto your tongue when you eat the ribs. It's an old competition trick.

Try adding different things to your foil basting 'sauce' and see what you like. You can add most anything. I've seen pineapple juice, tiger sauce, apple jelly, etc. Every competitor seems to have their own super secret answer.



TVWBB Emerald Member
Nobody asked, I know, but my opinion is that there's enough fat in ribs not to need butter. Matter of fact, butter on ribs sounds pretty hideous to me. I don't compete, but if I were a judge, I'd toss out any competitor who used butter. Likewise for all that honey and sugar I've seen used. Rub, cook and eat.

Pete D.

TVWBB Member
In addition to taste, what butter or Parkay does is create a glaze. I don't use a sauce, but if I foil with Parkay, Tiger Sauce, and brown sugar, I get a real nice glaze that is not greasy at all.

This would be similar to when chefs add butter at the last minute to their sauces—it gives them a kind of sheen.

Mike JP

New member
I add some drippings, unless I've got beans under there sucking up all the drippings, and some beer. The beer came about because I didn't have enough drippings once, was out of apple juice and, well, I had a beer in my hand. Since that is always true while smoking, it has become routine. I usually spritz with apple juice, so, if I have some, I toss some into the wrap too. And a dash of rub if there's any left. I've only done honey and brown sugar - ala Harry Soo - once and I couldn't tell much difference, but that could certainly have been operator error.

Ralph Q

TVWBB Member
2 weeks ago, I made 3-2-1 ribs and realized I was out of Parkay. I used real butter and brown sugar instead and they were definitely tastier. No apple juice used. They were so good, we did not sauce them at all.