What Is White BBQ Sauce



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Welcome to the delicious world of White BBQ Sauce, a unique twist on the traditional barbecue that you’re going to love! Originating from Northern Alabama over a century ago, this tangy concoction has been winning hearts (and taste buds) ever since.

Comprised mainly of mayonnaise, vinegar, and spices, White BBQ Sauce is perfect for slathering on grilled chicken or any other smoked dish you can think of.

Key Takeaways

  • White BBQ Sauce originated over a century ago in Northern Alabama and was invented by Bob Gibson.
  • The sauce is primarily made up of mayonnaise, vinegar, and spices, giving it a tangy and creamy texture.
  • White BBQ Sauce is versatile in use and flavor profile, making it perfect as a marinade or dipping sauce for meats, veggies, or even as a salad dressing.
  • Homemade versions of white BBQ sauce are easy to make with few ingredients like mayo, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, etc. while being low in calories compared to traditional tomato-based sauces.

What Is White BBQ Sauce?

White BBQ Sauce, also known as Alabama White Sauce, has a rich history and is primarily made of mayonnaise, vinegar, and spices.

Origin And History

The unique and flavorful White BBQ Sauce has its roots in Northern Alabama, specifically Decatur, where it was invented by Robert Gibson over a century ago. Gibson created this rich condiment as an alternative to traditional tomato-based barbecue sauces, blending together ingredients like mayonnaise, vinegar, and various seasonings to produce something entirely new.

Gibson’s first restaurant in Decatur proudly featured the white sauce from day one and it wasn’t long before it became a staple of backyard barbecues across the region. As word spread about this deliciously tangy concoction, more people began experimenting with their own variations of white BBQ sauce.

The success of white BBQ sauce is found not only in its unique flavor profile but also in the sense of community it creates; families would pass down their secret recipes through generations while friends enjoyed bonding over these summer cookouts where everyone had their own twist on the beloved classic.

Key Ingredients And Flavor Profile

The foundation of any white BBQ sauce recipe consists of three primary ingredients: mayonnaise, vinegar, and spices. Mayonnaise gives the sauce a creamy base, while vinegar provides the tangy acidity that helps to balance out the richness.

Alabama White Sauce stands out from traditional BBQ sauces due to its unique flavor profile. The combination of smooth mayonnaise with zesty vinegar creates a delightful contrast in taste and texture.

In addition to these key elements, the hints of heat from black pepper and horseradish pack a punch that is both unexpected and enjoyable for barbecue enthusiasts seeking something new.

Variations Of White BBQ Sauce

White BBQ sauce can be customized to fit your taste preferences. Want some heat? Try adding hot sauce or cayenne pepper. Looking for tanginess? Add vinegar or lemon juice.

Craving something smoky? Liquid smoke or smoked paprika are great additions.

Spicy Versions With Hot Sauce Or Cayenne Pepper

Adding a kick to your white BBQ sauce can elevate the flavor and give it a touch of heat that many people enjoy. Spicy versions of white BBQ sauce often include a hot sauce or cayenne pepper, which adds a fiery twist while still maintaining the creamy texture and tangy taste. Here are some popular ways to incorporate these ingredients:

  • Blend in the hot sauce: Incorporate your favorite hot sauce into your white barbecue sauce recipe, adjusting the amount based on your personal preference for spice.
  • Mix in cayenne pepper: Start by adding a small amount of cayenne pepper and gradually increase until you reach the desired level of heat.
  • Combine both hot sauce and cayenne pepper: For an extra spicy version, use both hot sauce and cayenne pepper for maximum heat intensity.
  • Create a custom spice blend: Combine other spices like paprika, black pepper, and garlic powder with your cayenne or hot sauce to create a unique flavor profile.

By experimenting with different amounts of hot sauce or cayenne pepper, you can find the perfect balance of spiciness in your homemade white BBQ sauce. Just remember that Alabama White Sauce was initially created with horseradish as one of its key ingredients, giving it that signature kick without overpowering the mayonnaise-based foundation.

Tangy Versions With Vinegar Or Lemon Juice

White BBQ sauce gets its distinctive tangy flavor from the addition of vinegar or lemon juice. These tangy variations are popular for their refreshing taste and ability to balance out the richness of the mayonnaise base. Some common tangy versions of white BBQ sauce include:

  • White BBQ sauce with apple cider vinegar: The inclusion of apple cider vinegar adds a slightly sweet and fruity touch to the sauce.
  • White BBQ sauce with red wine vinegar: This version has a sharper, more acidic flavor that pairs well with smokier meats like beef or pork.
  • White BBQ sauce with lemon juice: Lemon juice adds a bright, citrusy note to the sauce, making it perfect for use on grilled seafood or roasted vegetables.
  • White BBQ sauce with lime juice: Similar to lemon juice, lime juice adds a zesty, tart flavor that complements lighter proteins like chicken or turkey.

By incorporating tangy ingredients like vinegar and lemon juice into your white BBQ sauce recipe, you can create a deliciously balanced and unique flavor profile that will take your grilling game to the next level.

Smoky Versions With Liquid Smoke Or Smoked Paprika

One way to add a smoky twist to White BBQ Sauce is by using either liquid smoke or smoked paprika. Here are some key facts:

  • Liquid Smoke: This is a flavoring agent made from condensed smoke that is then added to the sauce. It provides a deep and smoky flavor that is reminiscent of grilled or smoked meats.
  • Smoked Paprika: This spice comes from grinding up dried and smoked peppers. It adds a more subtle smokiness to the sauce and also provides a slightly sweet and earthy taste.
  • Use in moderation: Both of these ingredients can quickly overpower the other flavors in the sauce, so it’s important to use them sparingly. Start with just a small amount and adjust to taste.
  • Experimentation is key: Whether using liquid smoke or smoked paprika, be sure to experiment with different amounts and ratios until you find the perfect balance for your taste buds.

Adding a smoky element can take White BBQ Sauce to new heights, so don’t be afraid to try something new!

Benefits Of White BBQ Sauce

benefits of white bbq sauce

White BBQ Sauce is not only delicious, but it also has some amazing benefits such as being low in calories compared to traditional BBQ sauce, versatile in its uses and flavors, and having a unique and unexpected flavor profile.

Low In Calories Compared To Traditional BBQ Sauce

One of the biggest benefits of white BBQ sauce is its low-calorie count. Traditional BBQ sauce can be laden with sugar, causing it to be high in calories and not ideal for those watching their weight or sugar intake.

In contrast, white BBQ sauce relies on mayo as its base ingredient instead of sugary ketchup or molasses. Not only does this lead to a lower calorie count, but it also offers a creamier texture that pairs excellently with proteins like chicken, turkey, and even seafood.

Versatile In Its Uses And Flavors

White BBQ sauce is an incredibly versatile condiment that can be used in a variety of ways. Whether you’re using it as a marinade for meat, a dipping sauce for veggies or chicken nuggets, or even as a salad dressing, this tangy and flavorful sauce will not disappoint.

Additionally, the unique combination of ingredients in white BBQ sauce means that its flavor profile can easily be adjusted to suit your preferences. For example, if you prefer spicy food, adding cayenne pepper or hot sauce can give your white BBQ sauce some extra heat.

Unique And Unexpected Flavor Profile

One of the most intriguing aspects of white BBQ sauce is its unique and unexpected flavor profile. At first glance, it may seem like a typical creamy sauce, but upon tasting it, you’ll discover its tangy and peppery notes.

The combination of mayonnaise with vinegar or mustard creates a tanginess that complements the smokiness of grilled meats perfectly.

What makes this sauce’s flavor so exciting is its versatility in use. It can be used as a marinade before grilling chicken or pork, as a dipping sauce alongside your favorite veggies or fried foods, or even as a sandwich spread instead of traditional mayo.

Additionally, Alabama-style white BBQ sauce has fewer calories than traditional tomato-based BBQ sauces and is considered healthier overall due to having less sugar content.

Try This Homemade White BBQ Sauce Recipe

Looking to make your own white barbecue sauce at home? Here’s a simple and delicious recipe!


  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce.
  2. Add in the mustard powder, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Whisk until well combined.
  3. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
  4. Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

This homemade white BBQ sauce is perfect for dipping chicken or other grilled meats into. The creamy texture and tangy flavor will have you coming back for more! Plus, with only a handful of ingredients, it’s easy to whip up anytime you’re craving something different than traditional BBQ sauces.

So go ahead and give this recipe a try – your taste buds will thank you!


In conclusion, white BBQ sauce, or Alabama White BBQ Sauce is a tangy and flavorful sauce made of mayonnaise, vinegar, and spices. The sauce was invented over 100 years ago by Bob Gibson in Northern Alabama and has since become a staple in the area’s barbecue culture.

Despite some controversy among BBQ purists, the versatility and unique flavor profile of white BBQ sauce make it a popular choice for backyard grilling and smoking outside of Alabama as well.

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