The Best Basic Creamy Southern Coleslaw Ever

Just say no to bland store bought coleslaw and hello to this delicious homemade recipe.

Coleslaw is one of the most underated BBQ and grilling side dishes, most likely because it is often store bought or is simply lacking in personality. 

Here's a mayonnaise based creamy cole slaw that's not too sweet and a few little tweaks to make it really special. Hash it and heap it on top of a pulled pork sandwich as they do in Memphis or the Carolinas. It would be a great choice for a West Virginia Slawdog (at right). Prepare this simple, yet classic, homemade coleslaw for your next cookout and your guests will certainly notice the difference.

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mayo slaw

Just say no to bland store bought coleslaw and hello to this delicious homemade recipe. This classic simple creamy coleslaw recipe is not only the perfect side dish for your next BBQ and grilling cookout but is also amazing on a Memphis and South Carolina style pulled pork sandwich or on a West Virginia style hot dog.

Makes. 8 servings

Takes. 15 minutes prep. Allow it to sit for at least 1 hour in the fridge if possible.

Ingredients

Slaw

1 pound green cabbage (about half a medium cabbage)

1 large carrot, peeled

1/2 small white onion

Dressing

1 tablespoon distilled vinegar

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon white sugar

1/4 teaspoon Morton’s coarse kosher salt (read more about the science of salt here)

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/2 teaspoon celery seeds (not celery salt)

About the vinegar. Switch to cider vinegar at your own risk. I think plain white distilled works better.

My favorite add-in. I first tasted this in Charleston South Carolina, and I loved it. Add 1 tablespoon of sweet pickle relish or chipped sweet pickles.

Optional. Add 1/2 red or green bell pepper, sliced thin or hashed.

Optional. Add 3 radishes, red or white, hot if you like, sliced thin or hashed.

Optional. Add 1 small minced jalapeño if you like it hot. Chipotle powder is another way to amp it up. Horseradish, just a tablespoon in the background, is a surprising addition.

Method

1) Prep. First, read my article on The Science of Slawsome Slaw. Then decide how you want to cut the cabbage, carrot, and onion: Chopped, grated, or hashed and have at it. Set them aside. I prefer this recipe shredded or chopped.

2) Whisk together the dressing in a large bowl. Add the cabbage, carrot, and onion. Cover, taste, and adjust seasonings.

3) Serve. Chill for at least 1 hour if possible before serving.

"The perfect dressing is essential to the perfect salad, and I see no reason whatsoever for using a bottled dressing, which may have been sitting on the grocery shelf for weeks, even months - even years."Julia Child

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