With this pitmaster recipe for Carolina red slaw, besides learning a new and delicious barbecue side dish, we'll share a few tips that will make every coleslaw better.


  • 2 lbs. green cabbage, finely chopped and firmly packed
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • ¾ cup ketchup
  • ½ cup red bell peppers, finely diced
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon sambal chili sauce, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha hot sauce, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons scallions, sliced (optional, amount to taste)


1. Add finely chopped cabbage to a large bowl and sprinkle over the salt. Mix well and let sit for 30 minutes. If using fine salt, use half the amount.
2. Transfer cabbage to a strainer, and set aside to drain for 10 minutes.
3. Add ketchup, red bell pepper, cider vinegar, sugar, smoked paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, sambal chili sauce, and sriracha to a bowl; stir until dressing is well combined.
4. Use a spatula or your hand to press down on cabbage in the strainer; this will press out excess water. Discard the liquid (it is fine if cabbage is still slightly damp). Add cabbage to the bowl of dressing; mix well.
5. Cover slaw and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours (preferably at least overnight), tossing occasionally. Taste before serving, and adjust salt and pepper, or add more hot sauce if needed. Sprinkle with sliced green onions.


You can chop the cabbage by pulsing on and off with a food processor, but it will tear the cabbage. Chopping by hand with a good sharp knife will give the best result.

You can substitute roasted red peppers for the red bell pepper, or use any hot sauce combination you prefer in the dressing.


Chef John


8 servings


North American : United States : Southern



preparation times

• Prep: 20 Minutes
• Stand: 40 Minutes
• Refrigerate: 6 Hours
• Total Time: 7 Hours