For sure the color of barbecue sauce varies . . . traditional sauces run the spectrum from red, caramel-colored, mahogany, etc . . . but never white! Unless, of course, you are from North Alabama which is where this regional staple hails from. I lived in the south (New Orleans to be exact) for over 15 years and never heard of or were served white barbecue sauce before. Even when I took my “Soups, Stocks, and Sauces” course in culinary school we were not taught about this colorless saucy concoction. How could I be left in the barbecue sauce darkness for so long?
The credit for this concoction goes to Bob Gibson who developed the sauce back in 1925 in Decatur, Alabama. The putty-colored sauce is a tangy, mayonnaise-based creamy goodness that seems to melt effortlessly into grilled chicken. I went from mistakenly labeling this sauce as “gross” to making it every time I grill chicken. (Be mindful that poor chicken does not get much grill time up here in the land of lobster). The basic ingredients for the sauce are mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and pepper. But from there, recipes vary adding lemon juice, creole mustard, garlic, corn syrup, onion powder, and what ever else may be in the southern pantry.
The sauce is super easy and quick to make and keeps well in the refrigerator for a week. The recipe I kept seeing was from world barbecue champion Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant. I tweaked Lilly's recipe to give it a little more kick with horseradish and Sambal. The recipe makes enough for 6-8 pieces of chicken.
Yield: approximately ¾ cup
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon Sambal® or Tabasco®
- ½ teapoon prepared horseradish
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
In a medium bowl, whisk all ingredients. Serve at room temperature with barbecue chicken.