This 5-minute, 9-ingredient Alabama white sauce is creamy, tangy, sweet, slightly spicy, and a delicious white BBQ sauce/condiment for chicken, other meats, fish, and more!
What Is Alabama White Sauce and Who Invented It
When thinking of barbeque sauce, it’s likely the rich brown tomato/ketchup-based condiment used for marinating, basting, dipping, and spreading that comes to mind. However, there’s a surprising number of variations on a traditional BBQ sauce. And one of those is mayonnaise-based Alabama white sauce.
The Alabama white BBQ sauce recipe was created by Bob Gibson – the executive chef and vice-president of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant – in Decatur, North Alabama. It’s been served at the restaurant since its opening in 1925.
This popular Southern sauce was traditionally used for their slow-smoked chicken, cooked for hours in a hickory-fed pit and then dunked whole into the sauce. However, it has since become a popular condiment for brushing, dunking, and dipping all sorts of meats, seafood, veggies, and even hard-boiled eggs!
With a base of mayonnaise, vinegar, lemon juice, sugar, and salt and pepper (among several other flavor boosters), this sauce is creamy, tangy, and slightly sweet. It’s also often slightly spicy with the addition of horseradish and/or cayenne pepper. The combination of smooth and tangy makes it ideal for enhancing all sorts of meats and veg.
What’s in This Post
Creamy, Tangy, Spicy Alabama White BBQ Sauce
If you’re in Alabama (or the Southeast), you’ll likely be able to pick up a bottle of Bob Gibson Alabama white sauce in your local grocery store. However, for those of us further afield or anyone who likes to make things from scratch, this Alabama white sauce recipe is incredibly easy to prepare (and tweak to your liking).
Alabama White Sauce Ingredients
This Alabama BBQ sauce relies on a few simple pantry ingredients to create a complex condiment with a creamy, tangy, spicy, and sweet flavor.
- Mayonnaise: The star of the show. Use store-bought or homemade mayo.
- Apple cider vinegar: Adds the wonderful tanginess (and a mild sweetness).
- Brown sugar: Honey will also work, but brown sugar has a rich molasses flavor, too.
- Horseradish: For a zingy heat in the white barbecue sauce. You can use a milder or hot/extra-hot horseradish, depending on your preferred heat level.
- Lemon: Use fresh lemon juice for the best flavor.
- Worcestershire sauce: Add umami-rich depth and further zip. For a milder addition, use mustard instead (either Dijon mustard or spicy brown mustard).
- Hot sauce: (or chili sauce) This is technically optional but great for those who like spice. Adjust the amount to taste.
- Seasonings: This simple white BBQ Alabama sauce relies on a combination of salt, black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper (for heat).
For a lighter version of white Alabama BBQ sauce, I recommend replacing about half of the mayonnaise with sour cream or Greek yogurt. Adjust the added lemon accordingly, as both are tangy already.
For extra depth of flavor, you could add some onion powder to the Alabama white sauce, too.
How to Make Alabama White Sauce
Unlike regular BBQ sauce, this white BBQ sauce recipe is ready in minutes and with minimal effort. And there’s no need to boil or reduce the sauce on a stovetop. In fact, the entire process requires just 2 simple steps.
- First, add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk well until thoroughly combined.
- Then, transfer the white BBQ sauce to the fridge for a minimum of 1-2 hours (though overnight is even better!). This allows the flavors to meld and marinate. Enjoy!
How Long Does BBQ Sauce Last
Homemade Alabama white BBQ sauce tastes even better after a few days of being left to meld/marinate in the fridge. So I highly recommend making it several days in advance.
Transfer any leftover Alabama white sauce to a sterilized jar. Store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (5-7 days if using homemade mayonnaise).
What Do You Put Alabama White Sauce on
If you want to use it traditionally, I highly recommend using this Alabama white sauce for chicken in the last few minutes of grilling. You can also use it for other poultry and meats like pulled pork, ribs, etc. However, it’s also a great dipping sauce for meats and other dishes. I’ve used it for:
- Dipping my favorite air fryer chicken wings.
- Dipping French fries and sweet potato fries.
- Dunking fritters and crudites (veggies).
- Dressing coleslaw or potato salad. Or even using it as a salad dressing for other salads.
- Brushing over veggies when roasting/grilling.
- Dipping pizza.
- Spreading in sandwiches and wraps.
I haven’t tried. However, if the pH is below 3.5 (which may be as it’s heavily vinegar based), it should be possible. You can use pH strips for this purpose.
This mayonnaise-based sauce is obviously fairly creamy. However, the vinegar in the recipe is the next most dominant ingredient and makes for a very tangy sauce, too. With the addition of sugar and other elements, this sauce has a wonderful balance of savory, slightly sweet, and spicy flavors.
Overall, though, when describing this homemade white barbecue sauce, I like to say that it’s tangy and bright, with a hint of spice.
This homemade version of Big Bob Gibson white sauce has a substantial kick, thanks to the horseradish, hot sauce, and cayenne pepper.
Buy it’s not super spicy. You can increase or decrease the heat to taste. Just reduce or omit the cayenne and/or hot sauce and use milder horseradish.
More Delicious Sauce Recipes
If you try this easy Alabama white barbecue sauce recipe, I’d love to hear your thoughts/questions below. Also, I’d appreciate a recipe card rating below, and tag me in your recipe recreations on Instagram @Alphafoodie!
The Best Alabama White BBQ Sauce
- 6.8 oz mayonnaise 1 cup
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar or honey
- 1/2 tablespoon horseradish use regular, hot, or extra-hot; mustard works for a milder zing
- 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice about 1/4 lemon
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce optional; adjust amount to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne pepper optional; adjust amount to taste
- Add all the ingredients to a bowl and whisk well until thoroughly combined.
- Transfer the white BBQ sauce to the fridge to leave the flavors to meld and marinate for a minimum of 1-2 hours (though overnight is even better!). Enjoy!
- Make ahead: this white sauce tastes even better after a few days of being left to meld/marinate in the fridge, so I highly recommend making it several days in advance.Store: Transfer any leftover white sauce to a sterilized jar and store in the fridge for up to two weeks (5-7 days if using homemade mayonnaise).
- Allow it to “marinate”: Give the sauce time (a few hours is great, but overnight is even better) for the flavors to meld before using it, so no one ingredient is overwhelming.
- Tweak to your liking: One of the best things about making your own homemade sauces is how easy they are to tweak. For example, add more cayenne for heat, more ACV for tanginess (and a thinner sauce), more garlic, less sugar, etc.
- Adjust the heat: For a milder Alabama white sauce recipe, use mild horseradish (and possibly less of it), and either reduce or even omit the hot sauce and cayenne pepper. For more heat, add more of any of those ingredients.
- For a thinner sauce, add a small amount of buttermilk/milk when serving.