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Cook the Book: Big Mama's Chow-Chow

Until recently, I thought there was only one type of chow chow—the furry breed of Mongolian dog that Martha Stewart adores. As it turns out, there's another breed of chow-chow, differentiated by a mere hyphen. This one is a pickled relish that is a staple in the South, usually consisting of cabbage, salt, sugar, and a few other vegetables.

Depending on the preparation, chow-chow's flavor profile falls somewhere between sauerkraut, vinegar-based cole slaw, and giardiniera. It can be served hot or cold; as a side dish or condiment. The name comes from the French word for cabbage, chou, which leads me to think the dish has Acadian roots.

Big Mama's Chow-Chow in Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book is a bit sweeter than your everyday chow-chow. It's an ideal accompaniment for any type of barbecue since the sweetness and acidity cut right through the fattiness of the meat. Take a look at the recipe and just imagine a few spoonfuls atop a pulled pork sandwich.

In preparation for Labor Day weekend, I made a big batch of chow-chow based on this recipe but with a few touches of my own. I cut the sugar down to about a cup and added some sliced chiles and corn to the mix. Still warm from the pot, it tasted great—sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. I'm going to jar it up and let it sit until the weekend. I can only imagine what flavors will intensify before then.

Win 'Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book'

As always with our Cook the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book to give away this week.

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