Recipe: Coleslaw for Barbecue
Yesterday, I spent five hours smoking a pig’s shoulder. Hovering over my old Webber grill in our carport, in the 97 degree, breezeless day– this was not such and unusual sight where we live here in the Carolinas.
I love the ritual, the process of smoking meat. Tending the fire, soaking and distributing the wood chips, salting the meat; it all hits me in a visceral manner. I am sure I have lived another life doing it. A doscent in Colonial Williamsburg in the ’60s perhaps…
The smell of the smoke is intoxicating. The way the fat and sinew of the pork goes all sticky after hours on the grill makes me weak in the knees. Snapping that first bit of crispy, sticky, deep brown fat from the roast, when it is finally done- that first rich, salty, smoky taste that invades my mouth, sending my taste-buds stratospheric.
Coleslaw is the perfect, unobtrusive foil to the scene-stealing ‘barbecue’. I learned, very soon after our arrival in the south, that down here, barbecue is a noun, not a verb. Coleslaw’s slight sourness enhances barbecue’s rich nature. Its sweetness balancing BBQ’s saltiness.
A pile of shredded barbecue on a soft, white, potato roll with a scoop of sweet and sour slaw on top is as close to the perfect sandwich as I know.
I never eat barbecue in a restaurant, though; the process of transforming a raw, pink hunk of pork into a majestic, mahogany, smoked pork butt is too good to allow someone else the pleasure of doing.
This is not a soupy slaw. The cabbage is simply dressed in the mayo mixture, not swimming in it.
1 small head Savoy cabbage
3 medium carrots
1 bunch green onions
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 tablespoons table sugar
Large pinch salt
1 teaspoon Ume plum vinegar (don’t worry if you don’t have it)
2/3 cup plain yogurt (full fat or non-fat, makes no nevermind)
2/3 cup Duke’s or Hellmann’s mayo (full fat)
1″ knob fresh ginger, peeled finely minced
Shred all the vegetables, preferably in a food processor, or by hand. Mix up the dressing: Swirl the sugar and salt into the vinegar to dissolve, then add in everything else. Whisk until smooth. Dress the vegetables, toss well and stash in the fridge for at least an hour so that the flavors can develop.
Makes 12-16 servings
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