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Bob Hart’s recipe for white barbecue sauce

Article image for Bob Hart’s recipe for white barbecue sauce

An American barbecue legend called Big Bob Gibson is generally credited with having created white barbecue sauce.

But I think it would be fairer to say that Bob was in the right part of the world in the right company at the right time to write down the recipe and, very decently, he shared it.

Also, he almost certainly gave it a tweak which, after all, is how most ‘original’ recipes come into being. Mine, certainly?

But whoever was first responsible, we have Big Bob to thank for telling us about it, and thus drawing our attention to one of the most effective sauces I have ever eaten with properly flame-roasted and/or hickory smoked chicken.

I have given Bob’s recipe a further tweak because I prefer cider vinegar to the rather harsh distilled vinegar he specifies, and freshly ground white pepper to black in any white sauce. So if you are also inclined to impose your prejudices on recipes, I suggest you now give it a further tweak of your own if you feel so inclined.

And put your name on it, for all I care?


                            1 cup Best Foods (or similar) mayonnaise

                            1/2 cup cider vinegar

                            1/4 cup apple juice

                            1-2 tbs good horseradish sauce

                            1 tsp fresh lemon juice

                            1/4 tsp cayenne


1. Whisk the mayo with the vinegar, apple juice, horseradish, lemon juice and cayenne and season with half a dozen grinds of white pepper and 1/2 tsp of sea salt.  

2. Serve it on roasted chicken ? ideally one you have oiled with EV olive oil, seasoned well and cooked, indirectly in a Weber Kettle or similar, over charcoal with a hint of hickory.

Note: You can speed up the process, if you like, and achieve better (and tastier) grill marks by splitting the chicken down the backbone and cooking both halves on the grill, gas or charcoal ? in roughly half the time. Start with the cut sides down, and move the pieces through 90 degrees to achieve great grill marks on the skin sides. Eat with plenty of the sauce.