Every town, county and state in the United States has their preferred BBQ sauce. Some are tomato- or mustard-based, some are sweet and others are tangy. And some – like Alabama’s famous white sauce – are creamy and tangy. Big Bob Gibson put the sauce on the map in the early part of the 20th century and now it can be found in numerous BBQ joints across America. I love tangy, and this definitely has some tang! It’s been my most popular dish at cookouts – tried and tested deliciousness.
Alabama White Sauce Chicken
- 1 chicken, about 1.5kg (3lb 5oz), jointed into 8 pieces (thighs, drumsticks, wings and breasts)
For the Alabama white sauce
- 250 grams (9oz/generous 1 cup) mayonnaise
- 175 ml (6 fl ounces 3/4 cup) cider vinegar
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 cm(1.2 inch) fresh horseradish root, grated (shredded)
- 1 teaspoon paprika or chilli flakes, (if you want to spice it up)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2 tablespoon black pepper (or more – this recipe loves pepper)
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- For the sauce, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and whisk till smooth. Some people like to make a thick version of this sauce to serve with the cooked chicken as a dip, and others just use it as a thin basting sauce. I do both! So, put a couple of tablespoons of the sauce aside, add more mayo to thicken, and serve in a small bowl.
- Now you need to get your chicken cooking. Once your coals are ready, lay the chicken skin-side down over the direct heat and get some colour rocking on it. Cook for about 15 minutes until it is slightly golden in colour on the outside. You’ll need to turn it a couple of times during that 15 minutes.
- Keep an eye on the chicken because when the fat breaks down and starts to drip on the coals, there will be lots of flare-ups and it can burn. If it gets out of hand, move the chicken to the indirect side of the grill to mellow out for a bit. Once you have a slight golden colour all over the chicken, move the pieces to the indirect side and put the lid on to retain the heat and keep the chicken cooking.
- Now the beauty of this white sauce is that there’s no sugar, which means you can baste your meat much earlier in the cook – start basting about halfway or two-thirds into your cook. Your standard tomato/vinegar/sugar-based BBQ sauces should be added near the end of the cook, so the sugar doesn’t burn. (Having said that, if you’ve made your own mayo, it’s best to use the sauce near the end too, as it won’t like the heat and will split.)
- One by one, remove each piece of chicken from the grill, dip it into the tasty white sauce, and place back onto the indirect side of the grill. Place the lid back onto the cooker and cook for a couple more minutes to cook the glaze.
- As you approach the end of your cook, give the chicken another dip and repeat the process (dip, put it back on the indirect side, cook for a couple of minutes). Heck, you can even go for a triple dip, cooking the glaze each time. It’s your cookout – get crazy!
- As soon as the internal temperature of the chicken is 72°C (162°F), then you can remove it from the heat. Rest uncovered for 10 minutes, before serving with the thickened white sauce for dipping.