Sunday, July 22, 2012

My coleslaw can beat up your coleslaw.

BFF on a bun. Slaw on pulled pork with mustard sauce. © Ryan Schierling
There is only one coleslaw recipe in this household. I will admit, we have prepared others on a whim, when experimenting with dishes that seemed like they'd benefit from a crunchy, slightly sweet and tangy cabbage salad on the side. As much as I love cabbage in all forms, none of them stuck.

This one, I wrote down for the first time in 2005. I don't remember how long I'd been making it before it was finally put to paper, but full of bluster and bravado on an old blog, I branded it Ryan's Bad Ass Coleslaw. Somehow the moniker stuck. If I had to rename it now, in 2012, I might be a little more humble. I'd call it... Ryan's Bad Ass Coleslaw. Hey, we're all proud of our children, right?

Alright, sorry, it is a nice slaw, and it's a perfect barbecue side. It also has no mayonaisse, which is a sticking point for some coleslaw traditionalists, but mayo weighs down a lot of picnic dressings and I wanted to keep this as light as possible to give the cabbage, carrots, green apple and jalapeños center stage. The simple dress for this salad is a mixture of cream, apple cider vinegar, honey or agave nectar, and salt. That's it. That's all it needs.

Unless you wanted a little help from Bad Ass Coleslaw's friends – pulled pork and mustard sauce. 

Bad Ass Coleslaw. © Ryan Schierling

And this time, I did. The beer was cold, the smoker was fired up for pineapple juice-brined bone-in salt-and-pepper pork butt and a batch of Bad Ass Coleslaw was at the ready. As I've come to like a little saucy sauce for my pulled pork you're going to get a second recipe here for a deliciously sweet and fiery little mustard sass. Make your pig however you dig it for pulled pork sandwiches – smoke it, throw it in the crock pot, roast it in the oven – but get some cheap white buns and top it with the following.

Ryan's Bad Ass Coleslaw

1 medium-sized head of green cabbage
3 carrots
8 jalapeño peppers
1 Granny Smith apple
1/2 pint heavy whipping cream
4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
4 tablespoons honey or agave

Core the cabbage. Slice it thinly into pieces about 3 inches long and 1/4 inch thick. Peel and grate the carrots. Seed and mince six of the jalapeño peppers. Mince jalapeños number seven and eight with seeds and membranes. Core the apple and grate it (do this last, because it will turn brown otherwise), then mix the cabbage, carrots, peppers and apple in the large bowl. In a smaller bowl, whisk together a half-pint of heavy whipping cream, three or four good glugs of apple cider vinegar, and about 4 tablespoons of honey. Don't whisk too vigorously, or you'll end up with whipped cream. Toss in a good pinch of salt. Taste the dressing – it should be sweet, creamy and have a late bite from the vinegar. Pour the dressing over the cabbage mixture, stir, cover and refrigerate. Stir well before serving.

Now go wash your hands, because I won't be held responsible for you touching your eyeballs/swimsuit area with jalapeño manos.

(L) Mustard sauce. (R) Smoked, salt-and-pepper pork butt. © Ryan Schierling

Mustard sauce for pulled pork

1 cup yellow mustard
1/2 cup white sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons butter

Mix all ingredients except the butter in a non-reactive (stainless steel, glass) saucepan over medium-low heat. When everything's incorporated and at a low simmer, whisk in the butter until the sauce is velvety and smooth.

Place pulled pork on buns, drizzle with mustard sauce and top with slaw. 

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