Food/Groups

The Most Overlooked Sauce in American BBQ

Editor's Note: This is an episode of Food/Groups, Thrillist's YouTube series based on the deep, delicious relationships between different communities and the foods/food rituals by which they define themselves. Subscribe to Thrillist's YouTube channel and tune in for a brand-new episode every Monday.

Alabama doesn’t always get its due on the map of US barbecue. From the Carolinas, to Memphis, to Kansas City, and all of Texas, pretty much everyone in Bama’s neighborhood has a bigger profile nationwide. But the Yellowhammer State does have ONE undeniable claim to barbecue fame: northern Alabama white sauce. 

Like the state itself, it’s a bit of a barbecue outsider: an ivory mayonnaise concoction amongst the red of vinegar & tomato-based sauces, designed not for competition meats like brisket or pork, but for regular ol’ chicken. In northern Alabama, white sauce’s legacy is as complex as it is delicious. So we traveled the state to get the scoop on this misunderstood sauce, starting with the place that brought it forth almost a century ago: Big Bob Gibson’s

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