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Chris Lilly: White BBQ Sauce, Grilled Pizza and Competition BBQ

Hanging with Chris Lilly at Memphis in May.

Hanging with Chris Lilly at Memphis in May.

I’ve come to realize that the mark of a good Southern Woman is the type who will email a kindred spirit they just met a recipe relating to a conversation that was had.

I received the “White BBQ Sauce recipe” from a kindred spirit I met while giving a presentation on Search Engine Optimization while in Birmingham, Alabama. As a North Carolina girl, white sauce was a novel concept to me at the time. It took an Alabaman to set me straight on this infamous sauce.

Chris Lilly has shared the beloved Northern Alabama White sauce recipe in his book “Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book” which chronicles the success of the infamous Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ. I met up with Chris Lilly for a spell while competing at Memphis in May’s World BBQ Competition.

For those of you who don’t know BBQ, let me school you by saying that Chris has the equivalent of an MBA in BBQ. He and his team have won ten World BBQ Championships and six World Titles at “Memphis in May”. He is truly in the big leagues of BBQ.

I posed a rather difficult question by asking Chris “what came first, white BBQ sauce or Big Bob Gibson’s?”

According to Chris, they came out around the same time. He states that “When Big Bob started his restaurant in the 1920s he was dipping pork shoulder and whole chickens into the original white sauce and then basting it with a vinegar based sop mop in the pit”… So, the answer to that question is well, no one, not even Big Bob Gibson himself, really knows… That’s okay, it’s hard to dispel an urban myth!

I asked Chris what his advice is to backyard warriors who were looking to make the jump to competition BBQ. He stated that “now is a better time than ever to make the transition because of all the information out there including the internet, cooking classes and even taking competition BBQ judging classes, such as the KCBS” (Kansas City BBQ Society).

So what did Chris have to say about Girls who want to grill and are a little intimidated?

“Take a night when your boyfriend is out to get on the grill. Fire up a charcoal grill and if your boyfriend interfers, just push him out of the way!”

Now that is what I’m talking about.

The Komodo Kamado is like the Porshe of Grills. Chris Lilly happens to have one, lucky dog!!

The Komodo Kamado is like the Porshe of Grills. Chris Lilly happens to have one, lucky dog!!

Evidently Chris knows a lot more about BBQ than just the low and slow. He can actually throw a nice dinner party to boot. According to Chris, his perfect dinner when  having friends over to grill out would involve “firing up his Komodo Kamodo, (a ceramic grill and smoker) and allowing everyone to make their own personal pizzas”. Chris did an “Indonesian Sweet and Sour Grilled Shrimp Pizza” for Kingsford University 2009 where he did this same technique.

After marinating the chicken in the white sauce, I also basted with the sauce while on the grill.

After marinating the chicken in the white sauce, I also basted with the sauce while on the grill.

In homage to Chris and his infamous White Sauce, I grilled chicken breasts on my new weber performer with grilled endive and rosemary potatoes. YUM.

Because of my recipe-shopping ADD, I had to substitute a few ingredients. I substituted the horseradish with equal amount of wasabi, and the white vinegar with rice wine vinegar. It turned out fabulous!!

Big Bob Gibson’s White BBQ Sauce

**taken from Big Bob Gibsons BBQ Book by Chris Lilly

  • 2 cups mayo
  • 1 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the above ingredients and mix well. This can be used as a marinade, baste or dipping sauce.

I marinated my chicken breast in the sauce for an hour and then used basted on the grill with the leftover sauce. I grilled the breasts over direct heat at 350 degrees for 8 minutes each side.

Grilled chicken in white BBQ sauce served with grilled endive and rosemary potatoes.

Grilled chicken in white BBQ sauce served with grilled endive and rosemary potatoes.

You will love this sauce. Scott, my fiance, said this was the best chicken I had made in a long time! Thanks for sharing the recipe in your book Chris! Now people can have the Big Bob Gibson’s flavor at home too. The world is a better place with the addition of white BBQ sauce.

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15 Responses to Chris Lilly: White BBQ Sauce, Grilled Pizza and Competition BBQ

  1. KC June 13, 2010 at 8:55 am #

    Looking at the picture of the chicken on the grill, it looks thick. Did you use boneless or bone-in chicken.

  2. Robyn June 13, 2010 at 9:56 am #

    HI- I used boneless chicken breasts. Hope this helps clarify!


  3. Cheryle Huhn July 1, 2010 at 6:48 pm #

    Very usefull advice , thx

  4. Yorkshire terriers training July 2, 2010 at 7:59 am #

    I love your blog – excellent job!

  5. Chapati July 5, 2010 at 11:33 am #

    Here is a wonderful summertime recipes for grilling juicy flavorful chops that have been brined overnight and served with grilled fresh peaches. Grilling the peaches brings out the flavor by caramelizing the natural sugar. Baste them with butter, honey, and bourbon as they grill to make them shiny and even more flavorful

  6. Healthy Eating Tips July 27, 2010 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks very good for report, I follow your blog:-)From http://www.healthyedu.com

  7. Nathan August 31, 2010 at 8:56 pm #

    Just found this site in Google today. Been following it for a few days now. Great blog. Bookmarked! :) I will be back!

  8. Robyn September 1, 2010 at 10:28 am #

    Thanks for reading Nathan! Let me know your thoughts!
    Cheers, Robyn

  9. Glenn Coleman September 10, 2010 at 6:54 am #

    I am glad to see this sauce getting the recognition due. However, I would like to set the record straight. Glenn’s Gourmet Goodies is the original White BBQ Sauce. Prior to this they were called White Sauce. GGG Foods White BBQ Sauce won 3rd place in Food Network’s BBQ contest in 2005.These sauces contain no sugar, carbs, MSG, gluten nor anthing artificial. They also contain no EGG!. Wtih no sugar, they are TRUE BBQ sauce and do not burn on the grill as there is no sugar. Three flavors available; Original White, Mild Wasabi and Spicy Chipotle. http://www.gggfoods.com

  10. Robyn September 10, 2010 at 11:42 am #

    Thanks for the info Glenn!!

  11. Glenn Coleman September 11, 2010 at 8:48 am #

    You are welcome. Please go to my website and try the White BBQ Sauce Pizza. Amazing!

  12. Glenn Coleman September 11, 2010 at 8:50 am #

    Can I send you a sample set?

  13. Robyn September 14, 2010 at 11:19 am #

    Glen that would be great. Ill email you my address. cheers, Robyn


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