Why It Works
- A sugar-and-salt mixture purges the cabbage of excess moisture, leaving it tender, but still crunchy and well-seasoned.
- Using ketchup instead of mayonnaise gives this slaw its red color and Lexington roots.
- Hot sauce adds a touch of heat that makes this slaw really stand out.
When made properly, coleslaw is not just a bit of soggy, sweet cabbage in a paper cup alongside your main dish. It’s a crunchy, bright, tart salad that balances the fatty richness of barbecued meat.
Making the best coleslaw relies on a few specific techniques, like getting excess moisture out of the vegetables prior to dressing, as first written about by Kenji in his classic creamy coleslaw recipe.
Lexington-style slaw is famous for its unique color. When I first heard the term "red slaw," I thought it meant coleslaw made with red cabbage, but in the Lexington area of North Carolina, that's not the case. "Red" refers to the color of the dressing, which uses ketchup in place of the standard mayo.
Mimicking the barbecue sauce also common in that region, Lexington-style red slaw relies heavily on vinegar, with ketchup and sugar used to take a bit of the edge off, along with pepper and hot sauce to add a little heat. It's a combo that's great alongside a pile of smoky chopped hog, with the slaw adding a complementary sweetness, tang, and spice.
For the Dressing:
2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons hot sauce, preferably Texas Pete
For the Slaw:
1 large head green cabbage (about 3 1/2 pounds), finely shredded on a mandoline or by hand
1 large carrot, peeled and grated on the large holes of a box grater
2/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup kosher salt
For the dressing: In a small bowl, whisk together vinegar, ketchup, sugar, black pepper, and hot sauce.
For the Slaw: Combine cabbage and carrot in a large bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and salt and toss to combine. Let stand five minutes, then transfer to a large colander and rinse thoroughly under cold running water.
Transfer vegetables to a salad spinner and spin dry. Alternatively, transfer to a large rimmed baking sheet lined with a triple layer of paper towels or a clean kitchen towel and blot mixture dry with more towels. Return to large bowl.
Pour dressing over vegetables and toss to coat. Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and/or sugar.
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Servings: 10 to 12|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 15g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 3g||10%|
|Total Sugars 10g|
|Vitamin C 50mg||252%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|