Big Bob Gibson's Bar-B-Q White Sauce
Makes: 4 cups
People raised in Decatur, Alabama, know that barbecue sauce is supposed to be white. For more than eighty years Big Bob Gibson's has been dunking its golden-brown birds, fifty at a time, into a vat of this tangy, peppery white sauce. The steaming, glistening chickens are then cut to order for our customers. For years and years the restaurant's early-morning cooks closely guarded the white sauce recipe, which was made each day before the day shift arrived. However, even without doing the math, I can tell you that hundreds of cooks have passed through the pitrooms of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, so I don't think you can describe this recipe as "closely guarded" anymore.
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and blend well. Use as a marinade, baste, or dipping sauce. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
- 2 cups mayonnaise
- 1 cup distilled white vinegar
- ½ cup apple juice
- 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
- 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
For years Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q customers have wondered why their chicken breasts were sometimes served without a portion of the wing. Usually it's because at some point during the process of flipping, basting, and moving the whole chickens around, the wing tips get caught in the cooking grate and break off. That being said, Big Bob loved chicken wings.
While a skin-on chicken breast with only the drumette of the wing attached was called a "taster" in the early days of the restaurant, in the 1960s, back when commercial airlines still served real meals, they became known as "airline chicken." Leaving a portion of the wing attached to a small chicken breast made the serving look larger while still allowing it to fit nicely into an airline food tray.
The airline chicken breast is a perfect cut for the outdoor grill if cooked correctly. The best method is a combination of both direct and indirect cooking. With a portion of the wing removed, the skin covering the breast is exposed so it can become thin and crispy while acting as a protective barrier to the lean meat. Finishing the chicken in a pan over indirect heat protects the exposed breast meat.
Cooking Method: direct and indirect heat
Suggested Wood: hickory, pecan, oak
Cooking Time: 40 minutes
- 4 chicken breasts (skin-on breast with only the wing drumette attached)
- Kosher salt
- Black pepper
- Basil Butter
- 12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil
- With a sharp knife, remove the bones and cartilage from the underside of each chicken breast. The only bone left in the breasts should be the drumette bone. Season the chicken breasts lightly on both sides with salt and black pepper.
- Build a charcoal and/or wood fire on one side of the grill, leaving the other side void. This will create two cooking zones, indirect and direct. The heat over the coals should be very hot (approximately 450 to 500°F).
- Melt the butter in a small pan. Add the basil and mix well. Place the chicken breasts directly over the coals skin side down and baste with half the basil butter. Grill the chicken for 5 minutes, or until the skin is golden brown and crisp. Transfer the chicken to a shallow baking pan skin side up and place it over the void side of the grill. Baste with the remaining basil butter. Cover the grill and cook with indirect heat (approximately 400°F) for an additional 35 minutes. The internal temperature of the chicken breasts should reach 160°F. Slice the chicken breasts across the skin into small medallions to ser
He is the husband of the great-granddaughter of Bob Gibson and the father of three children who someday, he hopes, will carry on the tradition that was started so many generations ago. He began working for the world famous Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q restaurant in Decatur, Alabama in 1991. Big Bob's was named, "Best Barbecue Restaurant in Alabama" by the Birmingham News and recognized by The Wall Street Journal as having the best pork barbecue in the country. I am now vice president, executive chef, and partner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q and Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Franchises. We operate two company-owned restaurants and opened our first franchise in Monroe, North Carolina in 2007.
In 1996, he formed the Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking Team. Over the last eleven years they have amassed 10 World BBQ Championships including six Memphis in May World Titles (a.k.a. "The Super Bowl of Swine"), as well as winning the American Royal International Cook-Off and BBQ Sauce Competition (which awards the Best Sauce on the Planet honor), and eight state barbecue grand championships across the Southeast. They were also able to display our culinary talents abroad by capturing the Grand Championship at the 2003 International Jamaican Jerk Barbeque Cook-off. Recently I served as an honorary chef at the James Beard Foundation, American Institute of Wine and Food, and was a presenter at the Low-Country and Caribbean Food Conference at Johnson and Wales University.
In an effort to educate America on the fundamentals of championship barbecue, he created "The All-Star BBQ Showdown" for The Outdoor Life Network (OLN). This 9-episode BBQ television series aired in 2005. Along with creating the show, I also assumed the Executive Producer role and hosted the show. In 2006, I continued with my television endeavors as co-creator and executive producer of "The Barbecue Championship Series."