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Alabama-style White BBQ Sauce

In BBQ - Grilling - Smoking, Recipes by Mike StinesLeave a Comment

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white sauce 1 webMost folks think of BBQ sauce as a thick, sticky tomato-based sauce slathered on pork ribs, brisket and chicken and thinner vinegar-based sauces are often used for pulled pork or mutton, especially in the Carolinas. (Think Western Carolina Dip or Piedmont Dip.) Mustard-based sauces using mustard and vinegar instead of tomatoes and molasses are popular in South Carolina.

White BBQ sauce is unique… there are no tomatoes in the sauce. It’s a mayonnaise-based sauce, made tangy with the addition of vinegar, horseradish and mustard. Offered in most every BBQ restaurant in North Alabama, the sauce is eaten with everything from French fries to chicken and ribs. The unique, tangy flavor is the perfect complement to just about everything. Without the Internet, it would be pretty much unheard of outside of North Alabama.

Although probably existing in numerous other restaurants in North Alabama, “Big Bob” Gibson capitalized on his restaurant’s white sauce and is credited by many with concocting Alabama white sauce in 1925. Big Bob Gibson’s is still in existence – 70 years later – in Decatur, Alabama, and its pit master, Chris Lilly, is an award-winning competition BBQ cook… his team has won almost every major BBQ competition including Memphis in May, Jack Daniel’s and the American Royal.

While some recipes call for the sauce to be simmered for a few minutes, usually the sauce is just mixed in a bowl. Like many barbecue sauces it should be applied at the very end of grilling or smoking. The sauce will break and separate if heated too long.

Traditional White BBQ Sauce
 
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Ingredients
  • 2 cups good-quality mayonnaise (Hellman’s or Best Foods)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1 tablespoon Creole-style mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for at least eight hours before using.
  2. Brush over chicken, turkey or pork during the last few minutes of grilling. This sauce is also great as a dipping sauce. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.
 
White Sauce With Crushed Peppers
 
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Ingredients
  • ¾ cup good-quality mayonnaise
  • ⅓ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup apple juice or cider
  • 1 tablespoon granulated garlic
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1 tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard (Colman’s or similar)
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Whisk together all the ingredients in a medium bowl and refrigerate for at least two hours to allow the flavors to blend.
 
White BBQ Sauce with Chile
 
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By substituting chipotle for the cayenne, the sauce has a deep, smoky flavor.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups good-quality mayonnaise (Hellman’s or Best Foods)
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish, drained
  • 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chile pepper
Instructions
  1. Mix ingredients together and refrigerate for at least eight hours before using. Brush over chicken, turkey or pork during the last few minutes of grilling. The sauce is also great as a dipping sauce or sauce for vegetables. It may be refrigerated for up to one week.
 
Ancho Infused White BBQ Sauce
 
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This is a tangy white barbeque sauce with highlights from fresh lemon juice and ancho (dried Poblano) chile.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 tablespoons white vinegar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
Instructions
  1. Whisk ingredients together in a medium bowl. Refrigerate at least four hours to allow flavors to combine.
 
Mustard sauce
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup prepared yellow mustard
  • ¾ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon soy sauce
Instructions
  1. Mix all ingredients except soy, butter and liquid smoke. Simmer 30 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and simmer for 10 minutes.
 

 

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Grilling & BBQ Editor | Mike holds a “Doctorate of Barbeque Philosophy” (Ph.B.) degree from the Kansas City Barbeque Society. His book Mastering Barbecue has been called the “go-to” book for BBQ knowledge.

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