I was born in Pascagoula. If you’re a Jimmy Buffett fan, you’ve heard of it. I’ve mentioned before that I was raised everywhere else. I first moved to Alabama when I went to college at the University of South Alabama, which is in Mobile. Mobile is almost as far south as you can go in Alabama without swimming in the ocean (the farthest south is a little town called Bayou La Batre—if you’re a Forrest Gump fan, you’ve heard of that, too). So I never spent a lot of time in North Alabama. You’d think it would all be about the same.
Not quite. North Alabama has Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. My daughter went to the University of Alabama. The one thing I can tell you about Tuscaloosa is that you don’t really go there—you experience it. Tuscaloosa is a football town, and the University of Alabama is at the dead center of it.
They’re proud of their football. I think there’s a blood test with the admissions application. If the results don’t come back “rabid Alabama fan,” they ship you off to Auburn. Or Siberia. To an Alabama fan, they’re roughly the same thing. I’m not even exaggerating. It’s been four years since she graduated, and my daughter would still rather cut off her own leg than miss the Iron Bowl.
Then there’s Birmingham. Birmingham is awesome. My son-in-law has lived there for eight years, which is roughly how long he and my daughter have been together, so I’ve spent a lot of time there. It has it all—green, rolling hills; any kind of shopping you could ask for; trendy nightlife; culture; concerts; and amazing restaurants. In the South, amazing restaurants means someone is going to open a barbecue place.
And that was my introduction to white barbecue sauce. I didn’t even know it was a thing. I mean, the sky is blue, grass is green, and barbecue sauce is brown. That’s just how it is.
Not in North Alabama. From what I’ve been able to tell, this truly is a recipe that is limited to that region. I can’t imagine why. It’s amazing. Put this on some smoked chicken, and you’ll never want the brown stuff again. I served this at one of our parties and one of the ladies took a piece of bread and swiped every last drop from her plate. Then she dumped some more on her plate and soaked that up, too.
I love this with chicken. The vinegar and lemon juice make for a tangy sauce that compliments chicken’s milder flavor.
North Alabama White BBQ Sauce
2 c. light mayonnaise
2 T. fresh ground black pepper
2 T. salt
6 T. lemon juice
6 T. apple cider vinegar
4 T. sugar
Pinch of cayenne pepper
Cajun seasoning to taste
Mix all ingredients together until smooth, then chill until ready to serve.