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SIMPLE CAROLINA SLAW: A $10,000 Recipe and Worth Every Cent.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Simple Eastern North Carolina Style Slaw


About the slaw

John and Dale Reed, the authors of “Holy Smoke: the Big Book of North Carolina Barbecue” (any respectable BBQ purest would own a copy  http://www.amazon.com/Holy-Smoke-North-Carolina-Barbecue/dp/product-description/080783243X )  wrote, "Mr. Pete Jones, of Ayden's Skylight Inn claimed to have turned down $10,000 for the secret of this great, pale yellow slaw. He did say once that the ingredients were cored cabbage, Kraft® mayonnaise, sugar and salad dressing - no vinegar." (pp 126, 127) Through trial and error I have nearly replicated this Simple Slaw. The recipe below is real close, maybe not $10,000 close, but close.  Most people can't tell the difference between them. This slaw is a must have side for BBQ, Ribs or Chicken, or on BBQ Sandwiches, Hot Dogs or Hamburgers. A purest gets a half a fork full of slaw, then scoops thru the BBQ to savor these two flavors together, actually 3 flavors.  On the BBQ is a dash of the  Eastern-NC style vinegar sauce: vinegar, crushed red pepper or Texas Pete, black pepper, and salt. The Simple Slaw recipe is further down the page.

About the Skylight Inn


The proclaimed Bar-B-Q Capital of the World, The Skylight Inn, is located in Ayden, NC. Not self-proclaimed, but by National Geographic Magazine. This is a simple BBQ joint with roots in BBQ dating back to 1830. It has some additional notoriety; in 2003 the Skylight Inn was a James Beard Foundation Award recipient in the "America's Classics" category which honors legendary family-owned restaurants across the country. The James Beard Foundation Awards are often called “The Oscars of Food”

A short video of the Skylight Inn



The Skylight Inn is owned and operated by the Jones Family serving whole hog BBQ, BBQ chicken (Fri  & Sat only), Cole Slaw, pan baked cornpone and fountain drinks; nothing else, really, nothing else.


The menu board.





Looks like the Capital, ... kind of... 



Signage out front.




The Recipe:



1 head of firm green cabbage cored,  about 3.25 pounds
Granulated Sugar, 1/3 cup per pound, about 1 cup per head
Kraft® Mayonnaise, 1 1/2 tablespoons per pound, about 1/4 cup per head
(Use Miracle Whip® for that tangy zip, makes it much closer to the original)
Prepared Yellow Mustard, 1 teaspoon per pound, about 1 tablespoon per head
Table Salt, 1/8 teaspoon per pound, or a few shakes of the salt shaker per head.
No Salad Dressing   I know, Miracle Whip is salad dressing.

This is best made the day before.


The cabbage is cored and then finely ground.
A food processor works great for this, first with the julienne disk, then a few pulses with the chopping blade.
Combine all of the ingredients in a larger bowl and mix thoroughly. The sugar will sound like you have sand in the bowl when mixing. The mixture should be on the dry side. The salt will draw out some of the moisture in a few hours making a sweet liquor.  Don’t drain it off. Stir before serving.


Cored Cabbage



In the KitchenAid Food Processor it goes.





Out of the Food Processor, it looks like this





Finished product in the mixing bowl




Serving suggestions, photos from the Skylight Inn


A tray...



Sandwich... yummy


post #2 of 4

Wow!  Nice work on figuring out the recipe!  Gonna give this a try soon now that summer is here!  Thanks for posting it!

post #3 of 4

I grew up on this type of slaw!  Your recipe is good! Try adding a bit of celery seed to it (a la Parker's Barbecue in Wilson, NC)!

post #4 of 4


     Thank you you so much for this post. I also grew up on this kind of Q and, to me it's the best. I have heard about this restaurant several times and some day, I'm going to go there and simply "pig out." (Pun intended)  I have ordered the book from Amazon and entered this slaw receipe in my receipe file. Thanks again for the post!

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