Mayonnaise probably isn't the first ingredient you think of when you hear the words "barbecue sauce." It might even be the last thing that crosses your mind (especially if you're not a coleslaw-on-pulled-pork kind of person). Yet the creamy condiment is, in fact, the main ingredient in Alabama white barbecue sauce, a tangy and sweet blanket for slowly grilled chicken. Donald Link's recipe in his new cookbook, Down South, is on the spicy side—in addition to the mayonnaise and vinegar, he stirs in a scoop of prepared horseradish, cayenne, freshly ground black pepper, minced jalapeños, and a good dose of pickled chiles. His sauce makes an excellent topping for grilled chicken skewers (dark meat, of course, with skin included), lending the gently smoky meat a rich, spicy tang.
Why I picked this recipe: I'd never eaten, much less made, Alabama white barbecue sauce before.
What worked: This simple grill recipe couldn't be easier or more rewarding. Even mayonnaise-haters will appreciate the rich glaze.
What didn't: Be sure to give the sauce a few good stirs before brushing it on the chicken. The good stuff (aka chiles) tends to fall to the bottom of the bowl.
Suggested tweaks: If you don't care to light a grill right now, you can cook the chicken under the broiler. Keep a close eye on the skin, though, as it will be quick to burn.
About the author: Kate Williams is a freelance writer and personal chef living in Berkeley, CA. She is a contributor to The Oxford American, KQED's Bay Area Bites, and Berkeleyside NOSH. She blogs at Cooking Wolves. Follow her @KateHWiliams.