This past weekend I was all giddy to smoke up some gargantuan apple-brined turkey legs and share the results here. I also picked up a couple chickens to smoke alongside the turkey, just out of curiosity to see how they'd go with Big Bob Gibson's White Sauce. The turkey legs were delicious, but the true power of the white sauce was unbeknownst to me. After the first bite of that tender, smokey, tangy white sauce-dipped chicken I knew that even though I've already served up a couple of chicken recipes, I'd be doing a huge disservice by not sharing this one as well.
I picked up a bottle of white sauce at the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party, but after reviewing the simple recipe of mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, salt, black pepper, and cayenne, I decided to make a batch myself. Once I whipped up the sauce, all I had to do was smoke some brined chicken and give it a quick dunk. The sauce almost completely drained off after the dip, but what seeped in totally transformed the chicken's flavor, leaving a piquant chicken that I was certain was reserved for menus in heaven.
Don't let this seemingly simple recipe fool you as it did me—the white sauce packs the strength to convert smoked chicken into the truly sublime, and it's sure to be dressing almost all my birds from now on.
- For the Brine
- 1 gallon cold water
- 1 cup kosher salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 whole chickens, cut in half
- For the Sauce
- 1 cup mayonnaise
- 1 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cracked black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, finely ground
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- Finely ground kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3-4 light wood chunks (like cherry or apple)
Mix the salt and white sugar in the cold water until completely dissolved to make the brine. Wash the chicken halves, place them in the brine, and weight down keep submerged. Brine the chicken in the refrigerator for 4 hours, then remove from the brine, wash again, and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken on a rack placed over a baking sheet and put it back in the fridge to air dry overnight (optional).
Combine mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, black pepper, salt, and cayenne in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Place in an airtight container or bottle and refrigerate until you're ready to use. Keeps up to 4 days.
Season chicken with salt and pepper and smoke between 300°F-350°F, using light wood chunks, until the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F on an instant read thermometer. Halfway through the smoking process, baste the chicken with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper once more. After finished cooking, you can transfer the chicken, skin side down, to a hot grill to quickly crisp the skin.