Welcome to week 22 of Fifty States of New Recipe Tuesday. This week we welcome the state of Alabama, who joined the union on December 14, 1819.
First, my apologies for the late post. Being that I am a pale Irish/English/German girl who grew up with no fear of a good sunburn, I now pay the price with my dermatologist, who gets to take parts of my face away due to Basal Cell Carcinoma. I am happy that it is the ‘remove and forget about it’ type of skin cancer, but it is still not a pleasant experience. Yesterday involved such a procedure, including 5 stitches and a wicked headache from the local anesthetic. Despite that, I did make dinner last night, but I just ran out of gas when it came to writing a blog, so here we are on Wednesday making up for lost time.
Ok. Moving right along!
Alabama. The last state we are visiting in the good old south. Nicknamed the “Heart of Dixie”. There is a lot about Alabama I don’t like – Slavery, Succession from US during the Civil War, Segregation, Unfair Voting Practices, Montgomery Bus Boycott. Yikes. So let’s focus on some nicer things about the state.
~ Alabama was the first state to declare Christmas a legal holiday, in 1836.
~ The Tuskegee Airmen, the first African-American flying unit in the U.S. military, were trained in Alabama.
~ The Saturn V rocket that made it possible for humans to land on the moon was designed in Huntsville, Alabama.
~ Baseball player Henry Louis (Hank) Aaron was born in Mobile in 1934.
~ And, Alabama introduced the Mardi Gras to the western world.
Being that Alabama has similar cuisine to most of its neighbors, it became a challenge to find the right recipe to make this week. I actually fought the obvious for the whole week. Every time I went on my search, the same thing kept coming up, over and over again. Was the universe trying to tell me something? Maybe. I finally called “Uncle” and went with it. So here we have Alabama White Barbecue Sauce. Created in 1925 by Big Bob Gibson of Decatur, this mayonnaise and vinegar based sauce is used on chicken all over the state. They marinade with it, baste with it, and then put some on the table as a condiment to dip with it.
For all my misgivings, I have to admit it’s really good. The tanginess of the vinegar, combined with some good heat, make this a perfect complement to chicken. Since I am not the grill master in our household, I used a fry pan method and finished it in the oven. I imagine that using this on a slow grill would be amazing and I will definitely give this another try in the spring when Matt is around to fire up the grill.
I give this one a solid A. Thanks Alabama. You surprised me. See you next week in Maine!
Alabama White Barbecue Sauce Recipe (adapted from several sources, but mostly from amazingribs.com, official recipe of Bob Gibson)
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 cup apple juice
1 Tablespoon garlic powder
1 Tablespoon prepared horseradish
1 Tablespoon coarsely ground black pepper (yes, that says Tablespoon)
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon finely ground cayenne pepper
1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons olive oil (if using stove method)
Whisk together all the ingredients in a large bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, if possible, to allow the flavors to meld.
Take ½ cup of the sauce and add to a plastic Ziploc bag. Add the chicken and allow it to marinade for several hours or even overnight.
Grill method. Heat grill for indirect heat. Place 1/4 cup of the reserved BBQ sauce in a bowl next to the grill. Cook chicken for 7 minutes then baste with BBQ sauce. Turn chicken and baste with BBQ sauce again and cook for 5 – 7 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Stove method. Preheat oven to 375° Place 1/4 cup of the reserved BBQ sauce in a bowl. Heat a large, oven safe fry pan (I used my Calphalon anodized) over medium high heat until water droplets dance on the surface. Add the oil and roll it around the pan to coat. Add the marinated chicken to the pan and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the chicken over and baste with some of the sauce. Place the pan in the oven and cook for another 8-12 minutes, turning one more time and basting with more sauce, until chicken is cooked through.
Transfer to a plate and let rest for 5 minutes. Serve chicken with the remaining sauce.