Alabama White Sauce on Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

Most of us have heard of Alabama white sauce.. which is a really tasty sauce created with mayonnaise, black pepper and any number of other ingredients. The variations are endless and it's most often used on chicken but I've also seen it used on pork and seafood.

In this recipe, I use a very basic Alabama white sauce recipe on smoked chicken drumsticks. This particular variation was sent to me by a reader a few years ago. It is simple and delicious.. just the way I like it.

Helpful Information
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours
  • Smoker Temp: 250-275°F (121-135°C)
  • Meat Finish Temp: 180°F (82°C)
  • Recommended Wood: Maple, Hickory, Cherry Blend (pellets)
What You’ll Need
IMG 0492 1000x715Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats– you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

Prep the Chicken

Rinse the chicken under cold water and pat it dry with paper towels.

Place the chicken in a pan and into the fridge uncovered to dry for several hours to help the skin to end up with a better, more edible texture.

Make the Alabama White Sauce

Alabama White Sauce

  • 2 cups of mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup fine ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place all of the ingredients into a bowl and whisk until smooth.

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This recipe makes enough for about 12-18 chicken legs with a little left over for dipping.

This Alabama white sauce recipe can also be found HERE.

Sauce and Rub the Chicken

It is best if the chicken legs are in a pan to help contain the mess.

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Brush some of the Alabama white sauce onto the chicken.

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Coat it generously with about ½ cup of my original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub).

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Turn the chicken pieces over and do the same thing on the other side with the sauce and about ½ cup of the original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub).

It is ok to add the sauce and rub the night before so it's ready to go onto the smoker the next morning.

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Setup the Smoker

About the Smoker

I used the Camp Chef Woodwind for this recipe and it was a wonderful choice! I have used a few other brands of pellet smokers and, in general, they all work similarly but the Woodwind by Camp Chef has added a few features that many of the others are missing.

  • An ash cup on the bottom of the unit to catch the ashes and make cleanup easy.
  • A chute that opens so you can dump the hopper when you want to replace the pellets with a different flavor.
  • A 2nd cooking shelf comes standard.
  • The ability to pull a lever from the outside of the unit which moves the heat deflector to the side and allows the flames to come up through the grates to the meat you are cooking!
  • Available propane powered SearBox (grill) or SideKick (griddle) attaches to the right side of the unit. This allows you to sear steaks, chicken, etc. once they are done cooking. You could also just use it to cook steaks or other meats at very high heat. This is a one of a kind feature that is going to be very handy!
  • 3 year warranty and free shipping ain't a bad feature either!

In case you can't tell, I really like this machine and I think if you are in the market for a smoker that is easy to use, introduces a ton of smoke flavor to your food and has the ability to cook from 160°F all the way up to about 500°F, with smoke, then this might be something you need to look at very closely.

Read my official review for this product

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If you are using a pellet smoker, set it up for cooking at about 225°F (107°C) for at least the first 30 minutes. After this, you can crank up the heat to about 275-300°F to try and get a good bite thru on the chicken skin.

Here's more pellet grilling tips

All other smokers can be set to 250-275°F (121-135°C) to cook the chicken and get a good bite-thru on the skin.

It is best to keep the heat on the dry side so, if your smoker has a water pan or you normally add a water pan, leave it dry this time.

The heat should be indirect.

Smoke the Chicken

Once the smoker is ready to go, place the chicken directly on the smoker grate. Be sure to leave a little space between the pieces to give the heat and smoke plenty of access.

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Let the chicken cook with smoke until done.

After 30 minutes of cooking, brush the chicken generously with the Alabama white sauce and continue to cook.

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Brush the chicken with the Alabama white sauce every 15 minutes until the chicken is finished cooking. Because you are opening the door or lid more often, the cooking time will probably be longer than usual.

Chicken drumsticks and thighs are safe to eat at 165°F (74°C) but have a better texture and are more tender if you let them cook until they reach an internal temperature of 180°F (82°C).

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Continue to add smoke throughout the cooking process if possible.

Finish and Serve

When the smoked chicken drumsticks have reached 180°F (82°C) as determined by an accurate digital meat thermometer such as the Thermapen, they can be removed from the smoker grate and placed into a pan.

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Serve and eat right away.

Notes

I recommend removing about half of the Alabama white sauce into a separate container for dipping later. This leaves you plenty for brushing on the chicken while it cooks and you don't have to worry about cross contamination.

You'll notice that as you brush the chicken, some of the original rub (Purchase formula here | Purchase bottled rub) is transferred into the white sauce. This is ok and just adds to the amazing flavor.

Order Jeff’s Rubs and Barbecue Sauce TODAY!
Jeff's Rubs and Sauce

✅ My rubs and sauce will be the best thing you’ve ever tasted and it’s a great way to support what we do!

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You can also order the formulas for my rubs and sauce and make these yourself at home. Grab those HERE and download immediately.

Jeff’s Smoking Meat Books

smoking-meat-book-coverSmoking Meat: The Essential Guide to Real Barbecue – The book is full of recipes and contains tons of helpful information as well. Some have even said that “no smoker should be without this book”!

With more than 1000 reviews on Amazon.com and a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, it comes highly recommended and is a Bestseller in Barbecuing & Grilling books on Amazon.

AmazonBarnes & Noble | German Edition

smoke-wood-fire-book-coverSmoke, Wood, Fire: The Advanced Guide to Smoking Meat – Unlike the first book, this book does not focus on recipes but rather uses every square inch of every page teaching you how to smoke meat. What my first book touched on, this second book takes it into much greater detail with lots of pictures.

It also includes a complete, step-by-step tutorial for making your own smoked “streaky” bacon using a 100 year old brine recipe.

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Printable Recipe

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Print Recipe
4.1 from 11 votes

Alabama White Sauce on Smoked Chicken Drumsticks

In this recipe, I use a very basic Alabama white sauce recipe on smoked chicken drumsticks. This particular variation was sent to me by a reader a few years ago. It is simple and delicious.. just the way I like it.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 12-18 chicken drumsticks ((thighs also work well))
  • 1 cup Jeff's Original rub recipe

Alabama White Sauce

  • 2 cups Mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup Apple cider vinegar (j)
  • 1/4 cup Black pepper (finely ground)
  • 1 tsp Cayenne Pepper

Instructions

  • Rinse chicken drumsticks with cold water and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • Place chicken on a wire rack or sheet pan and place in fridge for several hours to help dry the skin. This helps to ensure a better texture in the finished skin.
  • While the chicken is drying, mix up the Alabama white sauce. Mix until smooth and refrigerate until needed.
  • Once you are ready to season the chicken, brush some of the Alabama white sauce onto the chicken then coat the outside of the chicken with Jeff's original rub. This can be done the night before or 8-10 hours in advance if desired.
  • Setup your smoker for cooking at 250-275°F (121-135°C) using indirect heat. If your smoker has a water pan, leave it dry if possible to reduce humidity and help the chicken skin to end up with a better texture.
  • Place the chicken on the smoker grate and let it smoke with a mix of maple, cherry and hickory or whatever smoking wood you have available. Leave the chicken alone for about 30 minutes.
  • Now we will begin brushing the Alabama white sauce on the chicken every 15 minutes until it is finished cooking.
  • When the chicken reaches 180°F (82°C) as measured by an accurate meat thermometer, it is finished and should be removed from the smoker.
  • Serve immediately with more white sauce for dipping.

Notes

If you are using a pellet smoker, set it up initially for cooking at 225°F (107°C) for some good smoke action. Then, after 30 minutes, crank it up to 250-275°F (121-135°C) to finish.

22 Comments

  1. Doug March 26, 2022 at 7:16 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    You get a “”ata boy “ for this one! Delicious!!

  2. steve March 12, 2022 at 8:25 am - Reply

    Hello Jeff i bought the Camp Chef pellet grill you mentioned a few months ago and it is fantastic. Love the new pid controller. More accurate temp. I also added the sear box. Overall around $1000. but worth every penny. Great for smoking your steaks then turn up the sear box for a nice finish. Love the recipes and thank you

  3. John Cook March 15, 2021 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    5 stars
    Love all your recipes and your rubb

  4. Cam January 30, 2021 at 6:39 pm - Reply

    Jeff, what about brining the chicken before the alabama white sauce. Seems like that would only make it better?

    • Jeff Phillips February 1, 2021 at 11:26 pm - Reply

      Brining is always a great option!😃

  5. Tom September 22, 2019 at 11:47 am - Reply

    One of the more famous grilled chicken recipes is Cornell Chicken from New York.
    The baste is egg oil and vinegar. So Bob Gibson's white Alabama BBQ sauce isn't such an outlier after all since it is egg oil (Mayo) and vinegar

    Basting Sauce:
    2 cups cider vinegar
    1 cup of vegetable oil
    1 egg
    3 tablespoons salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1 tablespoon poultry seasoning

  6. wayne sanders April 20, 2019 at 11:50 am - Reply

    Hey jeff, wayne sanders, ala white sauce. Glad to see u try it before and during the cook. Still enjoy your newsletters, keep up the good work.Happy grilling, wayne

  7. planeaddicted April 18, 2019 at 11:13 am - Reply

    I used this recipe a few weeks ago and it was amazing! A winner for sure. Thank you Jeff for all the great recipe ideas.

  8. Lee Setzer August 19, 2018 at 6:49 pm - Reply

    Hi Jeff, this recipe rocks. I did it indirect on a Weber kettle although I have do have other smokers. I’m going to use this recipe for years. I added Worcestershire sauce to taste. It was a hit with my family.

  9. Jim July 14, 2018 at 1:36 pm - Reply

    1/4 cup prpper is very overwhelming.

  10. Kent September 23, 2017 at 11:35 am - Reply

    I have yet to try this recipe but was wondering if it would work just as well with chicken breasts.? My wife and I prefer the breast meat on chicken over the drumsticks and thighs.

    • Jeff Phillips September 23, 2017 at 10:32 pm - Reply

      Yes, this sauce is good on all of the chicken.. even the breast meat.

  11. Douglas August 19, 2017 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    This was awesome. I did cook at a lower temperature for 3 1/2 hours. I would recommend this to all.

  12. WAYNE SANDERS July 27, 2017 at 8:54 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Jeff, wayne sanders here, glad u tried the white sauce recipe. Like i said i have been using this recipe all my life and it is different from big bob's but i think this method is the better one. Got to make me another batch of your bbq sauce, the best there is any where.Thank for all your input out here in the bbq world.
    Keep up the good work, wayne sanders,alabama.

  13. Deen July 14, 2017 at 11:15 am - Reply

    5 stars
    This is one of my favorite recipes! And that Alabama white sauce MAKES it!!!!

  14. Tim West June 29, 2017 at 11:19 am - Reply

    5 stars
    Smoked some thighs using the white sauce. It turned out great!!

  15. Georg June 21, 2017 at 3:52 am - Reply

    3 stars
    Great stuff but somehow the white sauce info is missing in the printable version ?

    says “Alabama white sauce (recipe below)” but is not part of the print.

    • Jeff Phillips June 21, 2017 at 10:57 am - Reply

      The recipe for the white sauce is listed in step 3.

  16. Vince Trentz June 16, 2017 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    I will be doing this to some boneless chicken thighs in about 3hours. Can't wait to taste it

    • Vince Trentz June 17, 2017 at 4:50 pm - Reply

      This was amazing I loved it. I will be smoking this again!

  17. Kevin Zeringue June 14, 2017 at 8:08 pm - Reply

    Jeff,

    I live in Decatur, AL, home of Big Bob Gibson's, who is the originator of Alabama White Sauce. i have had the sauce numerous times so i am excited to try this version and compare it to BBG's version (the original). Chris Lilly, the pit master of Big Bob Gibson's and 5 time grand champion of Memphis in May, is a good friend of mine. i will let you know how this compares.

    • Jeff Phillips June 14, 2017 at 9:32 pm - Reply

      Kevin, I will look forward to your review. This version is a very basic one but it seems to work and the black pepper and cayenne add a nice bite to the chicken.

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