By Gary Glen, Contributing Author
Although most barbecue sauces grab my attention, an unusual one will really peak my interest. That was the case when I ran into a recipe for Alabama white sauce. I was aware of it, but I’ve never tried it. It was time to give it a go.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Alabama white sauce, it’s main ingredients are mayonnaise, apple cider vinegar and black pepper. Created by Robert Gibson of Big Bob Gibson’s Bar-B-Que restaurant of Decatur, Alabama in 1925, it is commonly found in northern Alabama.
I wasn’t particularly pleased with the results of the recipe so I thought I should try the real thing. Was it the recipe, or do I just not like the stuff?
The 16 OZ plastic bottle sure hypes the product. “since 1925”, “original white sauce” and the 1st place ribbon try to convey that this sauce is the best. There’s a little blurb regarding their first place finish at the American Royal Barbecue contest for White sauce. I wondered how many white sauces would be in that competition and also, what year that was.
The listed ingredients are: Water, distilled vinegar, soybean oil, sugar, salt, spices, egg yolks, modified food starch, food starch, mustard flour, natural flavors, paprika (color), garlic, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (to protect freshness), xanthan gum, soy lecithin. Contains: Egg and Soy.
The sauce is definitely white mayonnaise colored with predominant specks of black pepper. It’s a medium consistency. Not much can be said of the aroma. If you can imagine what the combination of mayo and vinegar would smell like, you’re there.
Out of the Bottle Taste Test
The taste has a nice balance of mayonnaise and vinegar, unlike the recipe I attempted, where the vinegar flavor overpowered. The black pepper offers just a hint of flavor but enough to give the sauce a little more character than just mayonnaise and vinegar alone would offer.
Big Bob Gibson’s white sauce offers no heat factor nor any hint of smoke that one finds in most traditional barbecue sauces.
Apply the Meat Taste Test
The bottle mentions that the sauce is used by the locals on chicken and pork. Who am I to argue? A beer can chicken and pulled pork sandwiches it is! I used a sweet-style meat rub on both since the sauce is a bit tart.
I liked it on the pulled pork. If you’re one who dollops creamy coleslaw on your sandwich, it’s reminiscent of that. It worked equally well on the chicken, yet I found that once I broke through the outside layer of chicken, I wanted some of the sauce for dipping. As usually happens with most barbecue sauces, the flavor changes when applied to meat. This was also the case with this sauce. The potent kick of vinegar was tamed.
The Final Verdict
Although I liked it, Big Bib Gibson’s white sauce may not be for everyone. It’s certainly not going to be a replacement for the typical red, tangy barbecue sauce you’re use to. An acquired taste? Maybe. Yet, if you’re a serious griller or barbecuer, this is a sauce that should be in your flavor arsenal. Compared to the couple of recipes that profess to be the perfect Alabama white sauce, Big Bob Gibson’s is the real deal and you can taste the difference.
I intend to continue more experimentation and am convinced that there is more than can be done with this sauce. I know I would prefer it over other dressings with chicken wings and can’t wait to give it a shot on my next batch of coleslaw. As we say in the barbecue world, experiment, rinse…and repeat!
To take a look at Big Bob Gibson’s Products, you can check it out…here