Chris Lilly of Big Bob Gibson’s in Decatur, Alabama and winner of five Memphis in May World Championship competitions

Meat and Sauce: Alabama ‘cue blends elements of North Carolina and Memphis, but is especially known for its unique white sauce served on chicken and turkey.

Smoke: Hickory adds woodsy flavor

Insider Tip: “When cooking a whole chicken over indirect heat, point the legs towards the fire. They should be closer to the heat source because the dark meat in the legs and thighs has more fat than the breast and are less likely to dry out. The internal temperature of the dark meat should be 180F, but the breast’s white meat should be closer to 160F because it has less fat to keep it moist,” says Lilly.

Secret Weapon: “Hickory wood because it also defines us as a region and gives food a mellow, smoky flavor,” says Lilly. Spread wood chips on hot coals, or place them in a smoker box.

The Recipe: Bob Gibson’s Hickory-Smoked Chicken with White Sauce, adapted from Peace, Love, and Barbecue

White Sauce:

How to Make it:


How to Make it:

After you take the chicken off the pit, immediately place it in the bowl of white sauce, turning the chicken to coat evenly. Place the chicken on a cake rack and allow it to rest for a few minutes prior to serving. Discard any sauce that you’ve used for coating chicken.

Serves 2 to 4

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