Boots and Skirts 2017: The Quest for Country Music & White Barbecue Sauce


Authentic white barbecue sauce hails from Alabama, but after a smoked meat-filled weekend in Nashville, it’s clear that the Music City has shared custody of the tangy, spicy, mayonnaise-based sauce. Or, maybe the sauce is like Taylor Swift and moved to Nashville to be “discovered.” Almost every restaurant we visited had their own version: some were red with paprika, others infused the base with an herb-scented ranch dressing flavor, and others were pucker-inducing varieties with an abundance of apple cider vinegar and horseradish. They were all different and almost equally delicious. This mildly spiced recipe has an onion-forward flavor that benefits from a slow roast or a stint in the smoker. If you’d rather serve it as a dipping sauce, cut the amount of onion in half and add 1 tablespoon of prepared horseradish.

Roast Chicken with White Barbecue Sauce

1 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons grated white onion
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon liquid smoke, mesquite flavor
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon dry mustard powder
⅛ to ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
5 to 7 seven dashes Tabasco Sauce
1 whole chicken, cut into 8 pieces

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the apple cider vinegar, grated white onion, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, lemon juice, sugar, dried parsley, salt, black pepper, dry mustard, and half of the cayenne pepper; whisk until combined. Taste and add more cayenne pepper, if desired. Finish the sauce with Tabasco Sauce for a vinegary kick.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place a wire rack on a sheet pan.

Place the chicken pieces into a large bowl and add one-third of the sauce; toss to coat. Arrange the chicken skin-side-up on the wire rack-lined sheet pan and bake the chicken for 45 mins.

Remove the pan and brush the chicken pieces with more sauce. Increase the oven heat to 450 degrees Fahrenheit and cook the chicken for 15 more minutes, until the skin is golden brown.

Serve the chicken with additional white barbecue sauce, if desired.