Serious Eats

Sauced: Alabama White Barbecue Sauce

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[Photographs: Joshua Bousel]

Of all the distinct barbecue sauce varieties—vinegar, sweet, spicy, mustard, fruitywhite sauce takes the cake as most unique.

A staple of Northern Alabama barbecue, this sauce is primarily a mixture of mayonnaise, vinegar, salt, and pepper. It was invented by Robert Gibson at Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q in Decatur, AL, where freshly smoked chickens are pulled from the pit and then "baptized" in a pool of the sauce.

On the surface, the idea of a tangy hot mayonnaise may not strike the mouthwatering response of its tomato-based brethren, but one taste and I'm sure you'll be sold.

Unlike other sauces that merely sit on top of chicken skin, the dunk or baste of white sauce permeates the meat and adds a rich tang that's present in almost every bite. It injects so much flavor into the finished chicken that a recent head-to-head between red and white sauce I had going left the white as the hands-down winner.

About the author: Joshua Bousel brings you new, tasty condiment each Wednesday and a recipe for weekend grilling every Friday. He also writes about grilling and barbecue on his blog The Meatwave whenever he can be pulled away from his grill.

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