I’ve eaten barbecue six ways to Sunday, all over the nation. By far the most offbeat BBQ sauce is Alabama white sauce, a specialty of the northern part of that state that is almost always used on chicken.
White BBQ sauce, as it’s also known, is super easy to make, keeps for a week or more in the fridge, and is good on more than just barbecued chicken.
Said to be invented by Big Bob Gibson almost a century ago, Alabama white sauce is scandalously easy to make. Chances are you have most of the ingredients in your kitchen already.
White BBQ sauce tastes tart and only slightly creamy, despite the mayonnaise, which really just cuts the acidity of the apple cider vinegar to manageable levels. A bit of horseradish, a dash of Worcestershire, a touch of garlic, cayenne and mustard powder and you’re in business.
Some recipes use lemon juice, too, for flavor, and most use a little brown sugar… or a lot, depending on the cook. I don’t like my Alabama white sauce sweet, so I only add a touch to even things out.
The beauty of white BBQ sauce is that you tinker with it, and add things to your liking. And it’s all safe and easy because Alabama white sauce is not cooked. Yep, a no cook BBQ sauce.
My recipe below is what I like. Tart, zippy with the mayo and sugar just there to shave off the rough edges. Start with mine and go from there.
Once you get it where you like it, use your Alabama white sauce as a finishing sauce on barbecue. What you see in the pictures are smoked turkey wings from a spring gobbler. Chicken is customary, but white BBQ sauce is really good as a salad dressing — take that ranch! — and is great to dip chicken wings in, or to use on pulled pork or even smoked pork chops.
And, untraditionally, Alabama white sauce is great on fried fish. I like it over fried speckled trout especially, but it’s good with a Southern crappie fry, too.
Any leftovers will keep in the fridge for a couple weeks. The sauce might separate, but shake it and it will be as good as new.
Alabama White Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice (optional)
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
- Whisk everything together until well combined. Use chilled or at room temperature.