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Barbecue Chicken w Alabama White BBQ Sauce and Whiskey Hollow Barbecue Beans

The first time I tried Alabama white sauce was on the show TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters. I was in Decatur, Alabama, to shoot Episode 3 The Riverfest Cook Off. The seven teams in the show were invited to enjoy dinner with world barbecue champion Chris Lilly at his family’s Big Bob Gibson’s restaurant. Amid the cameras, microphones, and production crew around us, we chowed down on a wonderful Southern dinner. What was especially memorable that evening was the flavor of their signature Big Bob Gibson BBQ chicken with white BBQ sauce. I was amazed at how good it was despite the unusual white glaze on barbecued chicken. It is a mayonnaise-based sauce and it works very well with the flavors of the BBQ chicken.

Bob Gibson is credited with concocting white sauce back in 1925. Today, this tangy, mayonnaise-based mop, which is traditionally used to slather on chicken, is synonymous with the state of Alabama. Like regular BBQ sauce, white barbecue sauce comes in various shades ranging from white to beige. Some versions are free flowing like light gravy, while others are more reminiscent of a creamy dressing.

Here is my version to recreate the magic of that meal I experienced.

  • Total Time: 3 hours 15 mins
  • Yield: 4 1x


Units Scale

BBQ Chicken ingredients

White BBQ Sauce

  • 2 cups Best Foods Mayonnaise
  • 2/3 cup Apple Cider vinegar (or to taste)
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Louisiana Hot sauce to taste (I used Red Rooster from Food for Less)
  • Salt and white pepper to taste
  • A few teaspoons of apple juice, as needed, to thin the sauce so it coats the back of a spoon


  1. Trim excess fat and skin from chicken thighs so they are shaped like little pillows
  2. Lay skin side down on cutting board and apply a medium coat of SYD Jailbird Chicken rub.
  3. Flip over and arrange the thighs so the skin is nicely tucked under.
  4. Repeat with a medium coat. Place the 8 seasoned thighs in a half foil pan and leave in fridge for 1 hour (4 thighs lengthwise top-to-bottom row and 2 rows of thighs side-by-side in the half foil pan)
  5. Remove thighs from fridge after a 1 hour chill. Put the cold pan straight into a 275F smoker with indirect heat. Toss a piece of pecan wood into the hot coals.
  6. Cook in foil pan uncovered for 1 hour or until the crust sets on the chicken (about 45 to 60 minutes)
  7. Place a piece of unsalted butter carefully on top of each thigh.
  8. Wrap the foil pan tightly with a piece of foil. Cook covered for another 50-60 minutes. I take a peek at 50 minutes to see if the chicken skin is tender and the internal temp is beyond 185F
  9. Remove from pit and vent once skin is tender. Let it cool about 10 minutes and dip the entire thigh into the white BBQ sauce to completely coat the thighs. Let the residual heat from the thighs to set the sauce. Serve with some store-bought baked beans spiked with some hot sauce to taste. I’ve become a fan of the Whiskey Hollow baked beans found in Walmart. Thank you, Whiskey Hollow, for sending some for me to try. They really pair well with this Alabama style chicken


  1. Stir together in a bowl the mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, garlic powder, and onion powder.
  2. Add hot sauce, salt, and white pepper to taste. Thin the sauce a bit to your liking with some apple juice.
  3. Sauce will keep up to a week in the fridge


  • Author: Harry Soo
  • Prep Time: 75 mins
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Category: Entree
  • Cuisine: American