Coleslaw recipes from North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia

Audria Easterly

Sure, it’s the barbecue that draws folks to your summertime gathering, but it’s the side dishes that can make the meal.

Admittedly, no one has ever been invited to a backyard coleslaw party, but the commonly creamy cabbage-based concoction is a must for any pig-pickin’. 

Whether the cabbage is chopped or shredded, the mixture based in mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, vinegar or is marinated, sprinkled with salt, pepper and sugar and topped, perhaps, with a combination of carrots, broccoli, green peppers or red onions, there’s a slaw that’s perfect for any palate.    

Prefer to spice it up a bit? There are coleslaw recipes that include jalapeños. Just be sure to keep a cold beverage nearby.

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Mayonnaise-based coleslaw is a popular side dish for a barbecue plate. It's often put atop barbecue for a delicious sandwich. [Sonny Jones/The Fayetteville Observer]


In Davidson County, red slaw is favored. Outside of Lexington, Thomasville, Salisbury and Statesville, though, the dish is a tough sell compared to white slaw.

Known locally as barbecue slaw, red slaw is ketchup and vinegar-based with some sugar tossed in. It can taste a bit sour or somewhat sweet depending on the amount of ingredients preferred.

Shredding the cabbage at Mike Swing's slaw distributorship, mixing the ingredients and the final product of Lexington red slaw (bottom left) and white slaw (bottom right). [Contributed photos]

“It’s all over the map,” says Mike Swing, who owns Lexington Style Trimmings restaurant and operates a slaw distributorship.

If anyone knows about slaw it’s the 53-year-old Swing, who’s been in the business for “probably 35 years.” Each weekend, his staff chops between 4½ and 5 tons of cabbage to make the side dish for his restaurant and to deliver to clients.

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