Alabama White Sauce
June 21, 2021 | Updated June 06, 2022
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
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.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
I spent 1950-1960 summers in Decatur Alabama. I ate at Bob Gibson’s frequently. Friends who worked there told the way to make the white sauce was to mix 50% mayo, 50% apple cider vinegar and black pepper and that’s all.
Thank you! This was a HIT!
cant wait to try it always interesting stuff, even if not ‘my thing’ thanks joe
Okay – this was an outstanding new condiment. I used it on grilled chicken legs last night and it was a big hit! This will become a staple in my kitchen. Thanks for the great recipe.
Essentially the same dressing my mother (a native of the District of Columbia) used for coleslaw which was always served with fried chicken. Delicious thing!
Your Alabama White Sauce post pushed me over the edge. I am not a fan of SC mustard sauces and had held off on the White. Huge mistake- Huge. Did a half chicken with Holy Voodoo seasoning and white sauce and it was so good I did it again.
I also owe my Andouille and Boudin addiction to you. I can’t believe the fifference between my Andouille and the flavored got dogs that pass for Andouille in FL grocery stores.
My mother used to use this concoction, absent the cayenne and lemon juice and perhaps a little easier on the Worcestershire to dress freely shredded cabbage—- bright and refreshing! Thanks for reminding me!
Although Alabama white is not quite traditional, I must respectfully disagree and say that the Kentucky black mutton is the most offbeat BBQ around. Worcestershire heavy sauce mostly used as a dip with that unmistakable twangy mutton. Acquired taste for sure but if done well, pretty damn tasty. I’ve never put AL white on trout. I’ll be doing that for sure for my next trout fry! Cheers!!
Nathan: Fair argument, there. I also have a recipe for that in my book “Buck, Buck, Moose.”
Now come on down here for a book signing…I’ll be in line!!! Been making this sauce for years and we all love it!
I’ve been thinking about using something like this as a dressing for a coleslaw, especially one to put on a fried chicken sandwich.
I really appreciate the time that you take to share your insights and knowledge with us who think we can’t learn anything. Keep doing the good work! Thank you.
Discovered white sauce when my dad retired just outside huntsville. Now white sauce always has a place at my bbq table. I marinade all my whole chickens in it before they go in the smoker(like gibsons does). Between Guntersville and Wheeler you also going to find this at any little road side BBQ shack served with pulled pork. My favorite thing to put it on personally.
I had a rare steak leftover, I sliced it real thin,put it on a roll with a bunch of the white sauce, nothing like a cold steak sandwich for lunch.
Thanks for sharing. I use Duke’s Mayo for mine. The go to in this neck of the woods ?