Cast Iron Grilled Chicken Thighs with Alabama White BBQ Sauce

Southern Kitchen

Serves: 4

Hands On Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour and 0 minutes


Alabama BBQ Sauce

2 cups mayonnaise (see note)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sugar

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper


1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ground coriander

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

8 boneless skinless chicken thighs

1/4 cup kosher salt


To make the BBQ sauce: In a medium bowl, whisk together all of the ingredients until completely combined. Taste and season with additional salt and pepper, if desired.

To make the chicken: In a small bowl, stir together the pepper, coriander, paprika, cumin and garlic powder until completely combined. 

Season the chicken on both sides with salt, then sprinkle both sides liberally with the rub. Let the chicken sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. 

About 10 minutes before cooking the chicken, begin heating a cast iron grill pan over medium-high heat. Evenly space the chicken across the grill grates and cook for 8 minutes on the first side. Flip and cook until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the chicken to a serving platter and let rest for 5 minutes. Drizzle generously with the Alabama BBQ sauce and serve.

About the recipe

Made popular by Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ restaurant in Decatur, Alabama, white BBQ sauce has a mayonnaise base that is enhanced by the acidity of apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. It can practically double as a cole slaw dressing. While it may be a bit of an unusual pairing with meats like brisket and pork shoulder, white BBQ sauce works beautifully with chicken and turkey. The key is to use the sauce as a finishing component, rather than a part of the cooking process.

When you’re seasoning the chicken, be sure to pay attention to the directions. If you don’t start with the salt, it will not stick and your chicken will be bland.

If you’d like to smoke your chicken, use bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Prepare the recipe as written, but smoke at 250 degrees until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees, about 2 hours.

We prefer Duke’s Mayonnaise in this and all other mayonnaise recipes.