Most BBQ sauces are named by the state they came from (like Kansas City or South Carolina). Not many sauces are identified by a person’s name = Enter the Alabama style BBQ sauce.
Bob Gibson invented the Alabama white barbecue sauce over 100 years ago, and it still remains a staple of backyard barbecues in Northern Alabama to this day. Combining ingredients that were a bit unique and not usually used as the base of traditional BBQ sauces, Gibson created a mouthwatering sauce that people from come miles to experience in its birthplace.
Wanting to up your BBQ game this summer with a new sauce that will wow your friends and family? We’ve got you covered with all the info about the Alabama white BBQ sauce and how you can use it in your own cooking.
History of Alabama Style Sauce
Memphis is known for its dry ribs, KC for its molasses, and South Carolina for its mustard in the world of BBQ. The state of Alabama is known for its white sauce. But how did a condiment that usually has a tomato base suddenly get a major twist?
Picture it – Decatur, Alabama, the 1920s. Big Bob Gibson worked at the L&N Railroad during the week. Standing at over six feet tall and 300 pounds, Gibson would have friends and family over on the weekends. He would smoke chicken and pork in a dirt pit he dug in his yard.
When you’re smoking chicken for hours at a time in a pit, it has a tendency to dry out once the fat is cooked away. This is where the Alabama white sauce controversy enters the picture.
The base of the sauce isn’t tomatoes like most BBQ sauces. It’s mayonnaise.
Now, mayonnaise might not be the first thing you want anywhere near your BBQ, but it is crucial in helping the chicken not dry out. The original sauce has mayonnaise that’s thinned with lemon juice and apple cider vinegar with a ton of black pepper added.
Using mayo as a BBQ sauce base was radical during the time. The mayo isn’t the dominant flavor in the sauce. Combined with the vinegar and lemon juice, it adds a tanginess that accentuates the flavor of the smoked chicken.
Cooking w/ Alabama White BBQ Sauce
One of the best things about the Alabama style sauce is its versatility. Use it as an Alabama white sauce marinade. Add some horseradish to give it an extra kick. You can use it as a dunking sauce, drizzled over pork on a sandwich, or even as a salad dressing.
- Alabama White Sauce Smoked Chicken
- Alabama White Sauce Wings
Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q
Gibson’s BBQ fame didn’t stay confined to his backyard for long. He soon opened a storefront in Decatur, quickly moving to bigger locations. His specialties were smoked chicken and pork and, of course, that tangy Alabama-style sauce.
Soon the locations offered curb service, allowing patrons to order and get their food directly from their car window. It became a family business with all five of Gibson’s children following in his footsteps. The storefronts expanded, offering not only BBQ but pies, potato salad, and coleslaw.
The fame and demand of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q continued to grow over the years, with more locations added. Their mission is to provide their customers with food that’s good for your soul.
The chickens at Big Bob Gibson are split, then seasoned, and then laid open on the BBQ pit for over three hours at 350°. The chicken is then dipped into a huge vat of the Alabama white sauce. It’s then served up to waiting customers.
You don’t need a backyard pit to replicate this tangy Southern sauce. There are many ways to achieve the flavors right in your own backyard BBQ.
Alabama White Sauce Smoked Chicken
If you’re wanting to taste the Alabama sauce the way Gibson first brought it to life, check out some recipes that involve smoked chicken. For this recipe, butterfly and then brine your chicken before cooking it. The brine will add moisture and flavor to your chicken, making a huge difference in your final product.
After the chicken has brined and dried off, rub on a blend of spices. Cook the chicken on your BBQ on a medium-hot grill with a small piece of light smoking wood to give it that smoky flavor without overpowering it. Finish it off with your tangy white sauce, resulting in a juicy and delicious bird.
Alabama White Sauce Wings
Chicken wings more of your thing? Alabama style sauce is perfect for making some delectable treats for your next game day. This recipe adds one more unusual ingredient to the mix—baking powder.
When salt and baking powder are combined, it allows for the chicken skin to dry out and get extra crispy. This works great on whole chickens or wings, but be sure to leave out the baking powder if you’re using skinless meat.
Coat the wings in a dry rub and put them on the grill. This version of Alabama white sauce features honey, horseradish, granulated garlic, dry mustard, and cayenne pepper, adding lots of extra kicks and pops to your new favorite chicken wings.
If you’re looking to sample some of the South’s most delectable dishes, check out some BBQ events in the area.
The World Championship Barbecue Cooking Contest is held in Memphis, TN over four days. BBQ teams come from all over the country and world to compete for prize money and the World Champion title. It will be held this year from May 12-15, 2021.
To stay up to date in BBQ events happening with the Alabama BBQ Association, be sure to check out their website.
Whip up Some Alabama Style Sauce Today
Don’t let the base of mayo in Alabama style sauce deter you. For a moist and delectable bird that will impress all your BBQ guests, add Alabama white BBQ sauce to your cooking recipe box. Whether you use it on wings or smoke your chicken, you will have a delicious meal no matter what route you take.
If you’re looking to check out other unique sauces, along with some awesome craft beer, find a BeerSauce Shop location near you.