Vinegar-Based Coleslaw

Making Kansas City barbecue for the big game on Sunday?  Ribs, brisket, chicken, or sausage? You’re gonna need sides.  So, give this vinegar-based coleslaw a try to go along with your meats.  The vinegary crunch cuts through all the sweetness and fattiness of the barbecued meats.  It’s an easy and delicious side dish that your family will request over and over again.

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A bowl of cool, crunchy vinegar based coleslaw - made with cabbage, carrots, onion, and cilantro in a sweet and sour vinegar sauce. Perfect to go with barbecued meats.

This crunchy, tangy slaw makes a tasty topping for a pulled pork sandwich, or on the side of burnt ends, barbecued chicken thighs, or grilled pork tenderloin.  For more crunch, cool your dressing completely before pouring on the vegetables.  If you like a more tender slaw, dress the veggies while the sauce is still hot.


  • Cabbage – shred it yourself or save time and buy the angel-hair cabbage in the bag.
  • Carrots – shredded 
  • Onion – I like using a sweet onion and grating it in the food processor.  Spread out the onion on paper towels to absorb some of the juice so that your slaw is not too watery.
  • Cilantro – not a fan of cilantro?  Use parsley or just omit the herb.
  • For the dressing, you will need sugar, oil, dry mustard, celery seeds, pepper, and vinegar.

The dressing is boiled briefly before tossing with the shredded vegetables.

Here are a few more side dish ideas for your barbecue meal:

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This easy vinegar-based coleslaw makes a perfect side dish for your game day, Kansas City barbecue.  It cuts through the sweetness and fattiness of the meat while adding texture and crunch.



For the slaw:

  • 1 medium head green cabbage (finely shredded)
  • 1 medium sweet onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 carrots, grated
  • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped

For the dressing:

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ⅔ cup canola or peanut oil
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon celery seeds
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar


In a large bowl, combine the shredded cabbage, onion, carrots, and cilantro.  Stir together. Set aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, salt, oil, mustard, celery seed, pepper, and vinegar.  Bring to a boil.

Simmer the dressing, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves -about 5 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.

When cool to the touch, pour the dressing over the vegetables.

Toss to coat all vegetables with the dressing.

Cover the bowl tightly and refrigerate until the slaw is very cold.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Boil and Marinate
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: vinegar-based coleslaw, vegetables, coleslaw recipes, cabbage, carrots, cilantro, onions, boiled dressing, barbecue sides, game day eats, game day food

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