How to Make Alabama White Sauce and Pecan Smoked BBQ Chicken

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Scotty Scott’s palate was formed in childhood. He grew up in a family of home cooks, and anytime there was a holiday or party, he could be found either by his mom’s side, taking in all her techniques, or with his dad, swatting smoke out of his eyes next to the grill.

“My mom not only encouraged me to try different things, but she always wanted me to have a well-rounded meal,” explains the self-taught, Texas-based cook. That means when friends scoffed at the vegetables on his plate, Scott dove in. “It’s because of them I’m always looking for different flavors, different textures, and different items on my plate, which really helps to make a dining experience more pleasurable.”

Scott grew up in Detroit, then moved to Houston at 17 for college and law school. Although food was always at the center of gatherings growing up, it was Scott’s exposure to the Gulf Coast—and the seafood that came along with it—that really sparked his interest in cooking.

“The Gulf Coast region really just took a hold of me and that cuisine is where I started really honing my chops as a home chef,” Scott says. “With my friends and their family members is where I learned how to make gumbo and po’boys and that whole thing.”

Scott began hosting dinner parties. It was a creative outlet for him as he grappled with his newfound career in the world of law. Friends and family were encouraging, constantly asking Scott when he’d write a cookbook. In his eyes, cooking was merely a hobby, but to his friends and family, they saw—and tasted—a gift.

“The more people encourage you, the more you think you might actually be able to do it,” Scott grins. “And then I realized that if you really enjoy something, if it’s something you’re really passionate about, you need to pursue it.”

So Scott began a food blog, aptly titled Cook Drank Eat, where family and friends could scour the recipes he developed. He also began making YouTube videos to coincide with the dishes he was preparing and hosting pop-ups so he could feed more people in person. He became a private chef, even cooking for Grammy award-winning singer Leon Bridges. Eventually, cookbook publishers came knocking. What Scott once viewed as a mere hobby became a career.

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