I happen to be in Huntsville Alabama this week on business. I made a promise to myself that the next time I was down here, I would make it a point to visit Big Bob Gibson's in Decatur. I love a good barbeque as much as the next guy, but I'm not stone cold crazy about barbeque. However, this pilgrimage was the result of a conversation I had with a colleague who lives down here.
Some months back at a conference in Virginia Beach, this colleague was making some announcements on the last day of the conference. Among other things he announced that he'd discovered a terrific fish house. His words were "I've been here 4 days and eaten there 4 times." At the first break I admonished him. I said "That was a first-day announcement, not a last day announcement." He mentioned that when he travels, he likes to sample the food for which a region is known. I try to follow that line of thought as well. Among other things, Kurt mentioned that some folks had taken him somewhere for chicken wings, and while he enjoyed them, he thought they'd be better with some "white sauce", and asked if I'd ever heard of white barbeque sauce. I hadn't, but a few minutes on Google and I found that it's quite popular in the northern Alabama region, but not that well known elsewhere. This is a real shame, because it's really too good to be kept a secret. Kurt said the next time he was in Decatur, he'd pick up a bottle and mail it to me, and he was good to his word.
I, being somewhat impatient, tried a few recipes I'd found on the web. It's not that tricky, mostly mayonaise and vinegar, and lots of black pepper. Some variations from there, you might add cayenne, sugar, lime, etc... But the basic sauce is very simple, and very good.
Well this evening, I found my way to Decatur, and got lost trying to get back to Huntsville, but for all the extra driving and stopping to ask for directions, the food was absolutely worth the little inconvenience. Between the three of us, I think we sampled most of what was available. Chicken, ribs, and brisket. I had half a chicken with as much of that delicious white barbeque sauce as I could eat. Exercising considerable restraint, I had the first bite of chicken with no sauce, to see how it tasted on it's own. I could've eaten the entire thing without a drop of sauce. It was that delicious. The ribs were fantastic too. I can only tell you second hand that the brisket was top-notch, because the colleague who ordered the brisket wasn't sharing. But he said it was awesome. He also said before we left, that he didn't care for ribs. At the restaurant, he mentioned that if he could be sure that ribs would always be cooked like these were, he'd be a convert.
I don't have any pictures to share, but you can order this wonderful white barbecue sauce from
Big Bob Gibson's online.
Or you can make your own using this recipe: Alabama White Barbecue Sauce.