Lexington-Style Red Slaw

by Sarah on May 18, 2012 · 10 comments

When Rachel mailed me my Foodie Pen Pal package in March, she left something out.No, I’m not greedy–although I do love free stuff ;)–but the only thing I’d asked for her to send me from North Carolina was a heaping container of the BBQ slaw from Lexington Barbecue that I had first devoured tasted with my family last Thanksgiving.So maybe I was joking a little bit. But wouldn’t have that been great to receive some special North Carolina red slaw on dry ice in the mail or something? The next best thing was a recipe, I guess, which she told me was enclosed!

 But it wasn’t.

Turns out Rachel and I have more in common than our love for vegan snack foods. We both also get a little caught up in our excitement sending care packages that we often write down things we intend to include…and then eat ourselves forget to include.

However, a kind e-mail with the recipe included–along with some extensive Google-searching later–you saw yesterday that I found a way to make it myself…but of course, I had to make it my own. :)Obviously this is no ordinary cole slaw. But it’s not the lack of mayo or not-so-green appearance that makes it worthy of being a Freaky Friday recipe. No sir(s) [nor madam(s)].

So, what makes it freaky?The star ingredient.

Best. Ketchup. Ever.

I’m sure at Lexington Barbecue they actually use their BBQ sauce, but ketchup will make it red…and I love me some ketchup. (Red pepper flakes or Tabasco are optional. The ketchup is not.)Like most slaw, this one starts with shredded cabbage.

I actually DO use my food processor for something other than nut butter.

The key to North Carolina BBQ sauce is the delicate balance of vinegar and sweetness. To make it a bit more savory and BBQ-sauce-like (totally a word) I useda little extra brown sugar along with the suggested white granulated. The smoked paprika was just for kicks.

To make it vinegary…I added vinegar. The first time I made this (and yes, I’m on round #4 or so now) I thought, “I LOVE vinegar! I should add MORE!”What I didn’t think about was the fact that ketchup already has vinegar in it….and that the vinegar flavor will become stronger as it breaks down the cabbage while it chills.

And then things get weird(er).

Because, along with the ketchup, I’ve found that just a dab of yellow mustard makes ALL the difference.

Hey, they put ground mustard seed in some barbecue sauces. Same thing, right?

Mix everything together with a spoon–or the old “close it up and seal it” dance around the kitchen shake method–

–and you are good to go!

Go where? Well, Rachel asked me what I was going to do with this slaw once I made it. I told her I’d probably just eat it with a fork. (Which I have done. A lot.)It’s also oddly delicious paired with apples.

If it's already freaky (Friday), why not make it freakier?

And of course, it can round out a [vegan or not] BBQ plate, as I showed you yesterday.

 Yep. I know it’s weird. Like me. And that’s why y’all love me. :)


Lexington-Style Red Slaw

  • 4 cups shredded cabbage (about 1 lb.)
  • 4 Tbsp. ketchup (or prepared BBQ sauce)
  • 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. light brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp. Tabasco (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. For best flavor, allow to chill for a few hours or overnight.


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