BBQ’s Best Friend: Coleslaw
I am a firm believer that coleslaw is BBQ’s best friend. No offense to baked beans, but coleslaw is that fresh, healthy(ish), light accompaniment that turns a hot dog, burger, or pulled-pork sandwich into a deliciously sloppy meal and gives leftovers new life.
Have you ever checked out the nutritional information for cabbage? Low calories (20), no fat, and a great source of Vitamins C & K … yes, I realize we are going to dress it but even that can be done in moderation.
Over the past 4-5 years, I have been experimenting with a basic coleslaw recipe. Everyone has their preferences, but this is my family’s favorite. I have made it for many guests and gatherings and I almost always get the question: “What coleslaw dressing do you use?” I tell them I make my own and, inevitably, they look disappointed … until I list the ingredients. I’m not sure why we think flavor has to be complicated. It doesn’t get much more simple than this.
- 2/3 cup salad dressing/mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
- 1-2 teaspoons stone-ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon course-ground black pepper
- 1 bag Coleslaw Mix 14-16 ounces
- Combine all ingredients except coleslaw mix in a small bowl.
- Stir dressing ingredients together until sugar dissolves.
- TASTE IT.
- Add a little more of any ingredient to get the balance you like.
- Pour coleslaw mix into a large bowl and pour half of the dressing over it. Gently fold it into coleslaw mix until evenly distributed.
- Keep adding a tablespoon or two of dressing, folding between each addition just until the cabbage is lightly coated (see notes below).
- Allow coleslaw to rest at least 30 minutes before serving.
Why do I call it “Sidekick Coleslaw”? A sidekick is a close friend or associate and given how many main dishes can benefit from this easy-going salad, that seems appropriate. Also the stone-ground mustard provides the “kick” most coleslaws are lacking.
To me, BBQ without coleslaw is like Butch Cassidy without The Sundance Kid; Charlie Brown without Snoopy; Calvin without Hobbes; cake without frosting … the world just wouldn’t make sense.