June 12, 2014 at 1:00 am

Cook's Corner

Alabama white barbecue sauce is a regional specialty

Q. My husband recently was on the road and came home raving about a white barbecue sauce he had on a pulled pork sandwich. He maintains it was not mayonnaise, but had a kick. Do you have any idea what he is talking about?

Kay Aldano

A. Pure coincidence: In March I was thumbing through Southern Living and saw a recipe for white barbecue sauce in a feature about making mayonnaise. The magazine said to use the “vinegary, piquant north Alabama specialty” as a basting and finishing sauce.

Intrigued, I looked for more information. Various Web sources credit the sauce to Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama, which started serving it in 1925. There are a lot of variations on the theme, but basically the recipe is mayonnaise, lemon juice or vinegar, salt and pepper, plus embellishments such as horseradish, Worcestershire, mustard or garlic.

The recipe here using Alabama white sauce is from “Grill to Perfection” (Page Street Publishing , $21.99) by two champion pit masters, Andy Husbands and Chris Hart (with a foreward by Steven Raichlen). They describe the sauce as “a regional oddity that is virtually known outside Northern Alabama, tangy and rich, with a kick of horseradish. It is typically paired with chicken but tastes great with just about anything you can think to pour it on or dip in it.”

Alabama White Sauce

From “Grill to Perfection” (Page Street Publishing, $21.99)

1 cup mayonnaise (Kewpie preferred; see note)
½ cup apple cider vinegar
¼ cup light corn syrup
1 tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper sauce (or your favorite hot sauce)

Whisk all ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl until fully incorporated. Cover and set aside until ready to use, or transfer to an airtight jar and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups.

Note: Kewpie mayonnaise is a new darling of foodies, made in Japan with rice wine vinegar and whole eggs, and is creamier and a bit tangier than the usual American mayo. It costs about $8.50 for a 500g (17.64 ounce) tube at Asian markets and online.

Per serving (per 2 tablespoons): 113 calories; 10.4 g fat (1.6 g saturated fat; 83 percent calories from fat); 4.7 g carbohydrates; 5.8 mg cholesterol; 241 mg sodium; 0.2 g protein; 0 g fiber.

Send questions and responses to LindaCiceroCooks@aol.com or Food, The Miami Herald, 3511 NW 91st Ave., Doral, FL 33172. Replies cannot be guaranteed.