Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book

Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: Recipes and Secrets from a Legendary Barbecue Joint

Winners of the World Championship BBQ Cook-Off for six years in a row and with hundreds of other contest ribbons as well, nobody does barbecue better than Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur, Alabama. Chris Lilly, executive chef of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q and great-grandson-in-law of Big Bob himself, now passes on the family secrets in this quintessential guide to barbeque.

From dry rubs to glazes and from sauces to slathers, Lilly gives the lowdown on Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q’s award-winning seasonings and combinations. You’ll learn the unique flavors of different woods and you’ll get insider tips on creating the right heat be it in a charcoal grill, home oven, or backyard ground pit. Then, get the scoop on pulled pork, smoked beef brisket, pit-fired poultry, and, of course, ribs.

Complete the feast with sides like red-skin potato salad and black-eyed peas. And surely you’ll want to save room for Lilly’s dessert recipes, such as Big Mamaas Pound Cake. Loaded with succulent photographs, easy-to-follow instructions, and colorful stories, Big Bob Gibsona’s BBQ Book honors the legacy of Big Bob Gibson and of great barbeque.

big bob gibsons bbq cookbook

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From Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ Book: White Sauce

People raised in Decatur, Alabama, know that barbecue sauce is supposed to be white. For more than eighty years, Big Bob Gibsona’s has been dunking its golden-brown birds, fifty at a time, into a vat of this tangy, peppery white sauce. The steaming, glistening chickens are then cut to order for our customers.

For years and years the restaurant’s early-morning cooks closely guarded the white sauce recipe, which was made each day before the day shift arrived. However, even without doing the math, I can tell you that hundreds of cooks have passed through the pitrooms of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q, so I dona’t think you can describe this recipe as “closely guarded” anymore.

I do know that Big Bob’s techniques and recipes, including his white sauce, have influenced the flavors of regional barbecue in Alabama. The great thing about passing secrets is that every time they are shared they change slightly. There is now a large number of “authentic” versions of Big Bob’s original secret recipe and cooking methods all different from one another. This is one of my favorite examples.



2 cups mayonnaise
1 cup distilled white vinegar
1/2 cup apple juice
2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
(Makes 4 cups)



In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients and blend well. Use as a marinade, baste, or dipping sauce. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.


Simply excellent
By J. Fulton

“At present, I have tried from the book:
(1) the pork shoulder recipe, served with the Memphis style sauce
(2) the whole butterflied chicken, served with Bob Gibson’s famous white sauce.

Both were outstanding and each was easily worth the price of the entire book, particularly the white sauce-WOW.

both followed classic barbecue techniques and did not require excessive preparation or a half dozen steps.

In addition to covering the most common types of barbecue, the book also includes side dishes, an occassional dessert, and a variety of sauces–most derived from something done at Big Bob Gibson’s or by Chris Lilly in competition.

There are lots of great barbeque books out there, what this book brings is (1) recipes that have routinely won awards at barbecue competitions-lots of awards, (2) some unique Bob Gibson sauces that are terrific (3) a enjoyable history of the man and the restaurant.

I look forward to trying more recipes in the future.

NOTE: I tried these on the big green egg, which is well suited for long cooking sessions. Even though the book does not address ceramic cookers, the recipes are not equipment specific. But the obviously amazing results possible (and amply described) with a true barbecue pit and 100% hickory make it clear there is another level of barbecue out there.”

Look carefuly before you buy.
By Renaissance Consumer

“Chris Lilly is one of the best BBQ chefs in the country. However, I am disappointed with his efforts here. This book is true to the title. Most pages are about the history of Big Bob Gibson’s BBQ joint. Lots of pictures. This part is interesting, but not helpful to someone who wants to cook. The recipes are some basics and some off-the-chart stuff with unusual ingredients. He doesn’t disclose a lot of Gibson’s recipes, but gives something close. He has 4 or 5 recipes for a whole hog, but nothing (or very little coverage) for some basics like a beef chuck shoulder and other cuts. He assumes you will BBQ indirectly on a Weber kettle. All in all, this is not a basic book. His coverage of rubs is great, but doesn’t teach anything about other essential topics. After you’ve mastered BBQ smoking, get this for historical interest.”


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