Food & Drink

How to Make White Barbecue Sauce: A North Alabama Tradition

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Regional barbecue sauce rivalries remain a time-honored tradition across the South. What tastes good to a Texas purist is sacrilegious to a dedicated Memphis pitmaster. But North Alabama boasts a tomato-free white barbecue sauce that's from an entirely different playing field.

This mayonnaise-based concoction is so tied to the North Alabama region, most people outside of the state have never even heard of it - let alone tried it. Even someone in North Carolina or Arkansas may be blissfully unaware there's another way to do barbecue out there.

Southern Living asked Myra Grissom, owner of Miss Myra's Pit Bar-B-Q, what the sauce should consist of. She says it's just mayonnaise, vinegar, salt and ground pepper. "We...use it to perk up salads and to top pulled pork sandwiches and grilled fish," she says. The original recipe was most likely concocted in 1925 by Bob Gibson.

The basic components of this sauce leaves quite a bit of room to play with seasonings. Chef John over at Food Wishes likes to spice up the basic recipe.


  • 2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup extra-hot horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Whisk these spicy, bright ingredients together in a bowl and you're ready to go. This mixture pairs beautifully with grilled chicken and can be used as a marinade or a table sauce. You might be completely converted to the white sauce tradition after you try it once.

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How to Make White Barbecue Sauce: A North Alabama Tradition