This White’s Alright

The White Stuff

Around this time last year I vaguely recall coming across Annemarie Conte’s glowing description of something called white barbecue sauce over on The NY Times Diner’s Journal that apparently “transforms chicken”.

I am nothing if not an equal opportunity barbecue fanatic, so at the time I eagerly filed it away under the yummy recipes bookmark folder I keep, and then proceeded to forget all about it for the next 9 months.

On Thursday morning, I was trying to decide what I wanted the Everyman to make for our weekly dinner ritual (having already mentioned the possibility of chicken when he asked me the day before) and for whatever reason, I woke up thinking about this white barbecue sauce.  I don’t know why; honestly, I hadn’t given the recipe even a passing thought since I read it last year, but all of a sudden, only the promise of white barbecued chicken would do.  I floated the idea by the Everyman and he seemed game, so I went about retrieving the recipe.

Of course, oddly enough when I went back to the bookmark, the see additional recipe section (which contained the actual white barbecue sauce recipe) was inexplicably missing.  The only recipe I had was for the brine the chicken soaks in, while the hyperlinks to the barbecue sauce recipe had completely disappeared.  Immediately, my heart sank.  After nearly half an hour dejectedly sifting through Google, I finally came across a cached version of the recipe, followed by the discovery of several other variations on the theme.  It was then that I learned that white barbecue is a regional style characteristic of Alabama, one that is distinctly different from the ketchup, mustard or vinegar-based barbecue sauces that people are generally more familiar with from regions of their own around the south.  Sensing that there was no one true recipe, I decided to amalgamate several recipes that looked good into one and hope for the best once it was all done.

That night, the Everyman soaked a package of meaty chicken legs in Conte’s suggested brine, while I offered to tinker with the sauce.  After a few additions and taste tests, I arrived at a white sauce that was rich, tangy, creamy and fairly spicy that was unlike anything I’d ever tasted before.  At that point I knew we were on to something.  After our meat had marinated a bit, the Everyman threw the brined legs on the barbecue and cooked them until they achieved a nicely crisped and crackled crust.  Pulling the chicken legs off the heat, I immediately dunked them into the white sauce and went in for the taste test.

True to the description, this white barbecue sauce definitely transformed our chicken.  It was somewhere between a ranch dressing and a barbecue sauce, with a rich, tingly flavour and a gentle background heat that sneaks up on you, and despite the ingredient list it was creamy but thin, coating the meat without glomming up the surface.  The Everyman thought it might’ve been a little heavy on the horseradish, but even it can be tweaked to suit your tastes.  Overall I was impressed with this newfound barbecue sauce and would definitely make it again.  I see other uses in its future too, but that will be the subject of another post.

Foodie’s Whiteish Barbecue Sauce

0.5 c. mayonnaise

7 tbsp vinegar

1.5 tbsp prepared horseradish

1 tbsp dijon mustard

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp sugar

2 cloves garlic, minced

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and whisk until smooth, thinning with water if necessary.  Dip grilled meat into the barbecue sauce until thoroughly coated, then serve.

Until next time…

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2 Responses to “This White’s Alright”

  1. dan says:

    Immediate reaction: kind of shocked and appalled. Though given my tzatziki chicken love, I could see this with some chicken on a flatbread.

  2. mochapj says:

    It is a bit of a stretch to call it barbecue, but I agree, it would be quite at home on one of those fluffy Greek pitas and a souvlaki skewer of chicken.

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