This Simple BBQ Sauce Is a Southern Tradition

Tangy, creamy, peppery—and totally delicious—Alabama white barbecue sauce is a must-have at your next cookout.

In the not-too-distant past, white barbecue sauce was something you’d only encounter in the Heart of Dixie’s best BBQ joints and at the homes of local grill masters. But thanks in part to Alabama transplants and visitors who’ve made the pilgrimage to the Yellowhammer State, barbecue lovers across the country are discovering the benefits of this mayonnaise-based sauce. Slightly tangy, peppery and delightfully creamy, it’s an unbeatable alternative to tomato-based sauces. If you’re big on grilling, this is one sauce you can’t afford to pass up.

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What Is Alabama White BBQ Sauce?

The barbecue staple was invented by Bob Gibson of the legendary Big Bob Gibson BBQ in Decatur, Alabama. He purportedly created it back in 1925. An instant hit, the unique sauce remains popular throughout northern Alabama where it’s a favorite on smoked or grilled chicken. White barbecue sauce is easy to make, and it does a wonderful job enhancing the flavors of the meat.

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How to Make Alabama White BBQ Sauce

This recipe comes to us from Georgia reader Sabrina Everett, who learned about the special sauce from Alabama relatives. “Every time I make the sauce, it brings back memories of those summers in Tuscaloosa,” she says.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Step 1: Whisk and Wait

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk well. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Step 2: Grill and Brush

Grill or smoke your meat of choice (chicken is a favorite but the sauce is delish on basically everything). During the last few minutes of cooking, brush your white sauce over the meat. Remove the meat from the grill or barbecue and serve, using the remaining sauce as a dip.

Test Kitchen tip: It’s important to wait until your meat is almost finished cooking before brushing on the white sauce. If applied too early, the heat can cause the sauce to separate.

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Camille Berry
Part of the third generation in a family of restaurateurs, Camille was born with a passion for cooking and food. She embarked on a career in hospitality where she excelled as a sommelier and wine director. This hospitality experience has given her a wealth of first-hand knowledge about how to pair all manner of drinks with food—plus some serious kitchen skills. These days, she's hung up her wine key in favor of a pen and covers all aspects of food and drink.