Hanging with Chris Lilly at Memphis in May.

Hanging with Chris Lilly at Memphis in May.

What is White BBQ sauce? Here is my original discovery of White BBQ Sauce, the Tangy Mayo and Vinegar Based BBQ Sauce that originated from Big Bob Gibsons from back in 2010!!


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 interferes, just push him out of the way!”

grill girl, Komodo Kamado, Porshe of Grills

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.

grill girl, chicken marinated in white bbq sauce, basted 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!!

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.

You will love this sauce. Scott, my fiancee, 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.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
alabama white sauce recipe

Big Bob Gibson’s Alabama White BBQ Sauce Recipe

  • Author: Robyn


Have you ever heard of Alabama White Sauce? It originated from Big Bob Gibsons BBQ in Decatur, Alabama. Here is the original recipe, as published in Chris Lilly's Big Bob Gibsons BBQ Book (affiliate link) an awesome book full of great recipes for the grill. I highly recommend adding this book to your BBQ arsenal!


  • 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.


taken from Big Bob Gibsons BBQ Book by Chris Lilly


Looking for BBQ Sauce inspiration? We got you covered! We’ve made sauce 6 ways to Sunday!

Roasted Garlic and Lemon Carolina Mustard BBQ Sauce

Alabama White Sauce Chicken Wings

Pimento Cheese Jalapeno Poppers (Atomic Buffalo Turds)

doneness of steak

Get a FREE Steak Doneness Chart by signing up for my monthly newsletter!

We'll never spam you, just delicious grilling recipes delivered straight to your inbox!

You have Successfully Subscribed!