North Carolina Red Slaw

North Carolina red slaw recipe

This North Carolina red slaw recipe is a true American South style BBQ side dish from the BBQ heartlands of the south eastern states.

It's a slaw that uses BBQ sauce instead of mayonnaise, along with a few red colored salad vegetables to create something pretty unique. 

It's a nice crunchy salad, and somehow hearty as well.

Being as it's from North Carolina, I think traditionally it would go with smoked and pulled pork shoulder, but I don't see why it shouldn't go with smoked chicken, beer can chicken, pork tenderloin, or any other substantial meaty BBQ recipe.

As it is this should serve 6 or so people, but increase or reduce the quantities or proportions of the ingredients as you see fit.

Red Slaw Ingredients

This makes a relatively small amount, so obviously double the quantities as you need.

  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 head red cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 4-6 radishes thinly sliced
  • 1-2 red onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 heaped tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup of tomato based BBQ sauce

Making North Carolina Red Slaw

  1. Just chop and slice all the vegetables quite thinly - the thinner the better, or use a mandolin if you have one - then mix them all together in a big bowl.
North Carolina red slaw recipe

2. Next whisk the BBQ sauce, vinegar, sugar and salt together and pour it into the veggies and mix it all up again so that every piece gets thoroughly coated.

red slaw

3. Let it stand for an hour or so before serving, but make sure it's no cooler than room temperature!

North Carolina red slaw recipe

4. Have a dollop of it in a pulled pork sandwich or along side hush puppies or French fries.

Warning - it makes for a messy eating experience.


It is best eaten fresh, but will keep OK for quite a few hours if it's covered, although it might need a stir before serving.

Make sure you serve it at room temperature - eating chilled food and hot food in the same sandwich is just wrong!

A few Variations

Try one or more of these - I'm not sure how authentic these would be, but that's no reason not to try them.

  • Use mayonnaise instead of BBQ sauce
  • add a handful of chopped pecan nuts
  • add a handful of golden raisins

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