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Cyndi Allison - Grill Girl

North Carolina Red Barbecue Slaw

Kum Ba Ya
Pork Sandwich with Slaw

In North Carolina, there is a distinct difference between slaw and barbecue slaw. Slaw is mayonnaise based and served as a general side dish or on hot dogs or even hamburgers. Barbecue slaw goes with chopped pork barbecue, which is slow cooked over smoke.

Barbecue slaw is both used as a side dish with smoked pork and also as a topping to go on buns with the southern vinegar-sauced chopped meat. While slaw is creamy and mild, barbecue slaw is crisper and zippier. Some of the fish houses in the North Carolina offer both options. They usually distinguish by calling them white slaw (regular slaw) and red slaw (barbecue slaw).

If you’re not a mayonnaise fan or don’t like traditional slaw, then red barbecue slaw may be a good option. It has a very different taste. Even if you like regular cole slaw, give the Carolina slaw a try. It’s definitely a different dish and one that has a lot of fans. Though it’s traditional with smoked pork, it also makes a solid side dish that is healthy and a little different from the ordinary. Some folks can make a meal out of this one.

North Carolina Red Barbecue Slaw

•           1 large green cabbage (chopped or shredded up)
•           1 large green pepper (chopped pretty fine)
•           2 to 3 tomatoes (chopped fine)
•           1 TBS sugar
•           1 TBS salt
•           1/2 cup vinegar
•           hot sauce (start with 1 tsp and add to desired hot level)


Chop the cabbage up in fairly thin strips. I use a hand biscuit cutter to do this in a large bowl, but you can use your processor or knife. You want the cabbage just a little coarser than you would for the mayonnaise type slaw.

Chop the green pepper and tomatoes and add to the cabbage. You can substitute petite diced canned tomatoes (15 oz) if you like though fresh is better. Drain off a little water if using canned tomatoes.

Mix the sugar and salt in the vinegar. Stir. Add the hot sauce. I’d go as much as a tablespoon on the hot sauce, but I like things spicy. Go with a teaspoon to start with to determine how hot you can stand. This also varies by brand. Some sauces are hotter than others. My top pick is Louisiana Hot Sauce.

Pour the vinegar mixture over the cabbage mixture. Stir until well mixed. Seal in an airtight bowl.

Chill for a couple of hours or overnight. The flavors need some time to gel.
Carolina Barbeque Slaw keeps well for several days in the refrigerator.


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