North Carolina style coleslaw

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Apr 11, 2006
Phoenix, AZ
Everyone knows that real pulled pork is not complete without a heap of slaw on top. I found this North Carolina style coleslaw recipe that I have used for several years now that is perfect for barbecue. The vinegar offsets the smokey pork very well, and the fact that it doesn't have eggs or mayo makes it great for camping or serving outdoors.

This goes great with a traditional Eastern North Carolina Barbecue sauce (NO ketchup, hot and sour)



1 Head Cabbage, slivered
1 Large Onion, slivered
1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
1 cup Sugar
3/4 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Fresh Celery, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Dry Mustard Powder
1 teaspoon Salt


Make the dressing: Sliver the onion by cutting off the root end, then quartering it and slicing it thinly lengthwise.
Add all ingredients except for the cabbage in a bottle or sealable jar, and shake well to blend.

If you have time, let the slaw dressing rest overnight , shaking occasionally.
The dressing keeps well outside the fridge, but it is best of you can cool the dressing so when it is added to the cabbage, the salad mix will immediately have a lower temperature which is better to conserve the crispness of the slaw.

Sliver the Cabbage

To sliver the cabbage, quarter the cabbage lengthwise, cutting off the core. Thinly slice each quarter lengthwise. I discard the thicker white slivers, but that is just my personal preference. To preserve the crispness of the raw cabbage, sliver it not more than just a few hours before you plan to serve it.

Toss all ingredients in a large bowl and serve.
I'm going to smoke a pork butt tomorrow and give your slaw recipe a try for something new and different!

Made it tonight to your exact recipe and its a keeper for sure! Served it on a toasted bun with a smoked pork butt and smoked nectarine & habanero bbq sauce.

Yum and thanks!

Sorry dude, but that is NOT North Carolina Slaw! No Dukes Mayo! Here is the real deal;

Cut head of Cabbage
1/ cup of Duke's mayo
salt and pepper to taste

Last edited:
Jon in NC 2 said:
Sorry dude, but that is NOT North Carolina Slaw! No Dukes Mayo! Here is the real deal;

Cut head of Cabbage
1/ cup of Duke's mayo
salt and pepper to taste


Usually NC coleslaw has vinegar in it.
As long as we are on slaw recipes for BBQ...this is the one that is my favorite and everyone loves. It's great on pork sandwiches or just by itself....

1/2 cup of Safflower mayo
1/4 cup of yellow mustard
1/2 cup of powdered sugar
1/2 of a jalepeno, minced
3 T of apple cider vinegar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp of black pepper
1/2 tsp of cayanne pepper
1 T of celery seed
1 lb bag of shredded cabbage/slaw mix

Whisk together all of the dressing ingredients then toss with the slaw until coated. Enjoy.
there is a difference between BBQ slaw and seafood slaw... BBQ slaw is a vinegar base and a seafood slaw is a mayo base.... I spent 25 years in Wilm NC... and surrounding areas and that is the norm for low country cooking....
Red slaw/ BBQ slaw has vinegar, cole slaw has DUKE's mayo. And then there is hot slaw which is cooked shredded cabbage with mayo and salt and pepper and a splash of vinegar.
If you go to any BBQ joint in NC and ask what kind of slaw they serve they are one going to look at you funny and two they will say cole slaw.

The real cole slaw you speak somewhat of wasn't made with Dukes, though that is as close to real as you can get store bought, it was made from homemade mayonnaise.

Duke's is a couple miles from me. I drive by that place twice a day. Sometimes the smell is good sometimes not so much. I'd hate to live beside that plant.
Most of the BBQ places around here ask if you want red or white slaw. I know what you mean about the homemade mayo, but I'd still rather have Dukes. It's southern, like my Sundrop or livermush, hard to give up.

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