Judging by the spate of new BBQ books that dropped this summer, including Southern Living’s own All Fired Up: Smokin BBQ Secrets from the South’s Best Pitmasters, we can say on authority that the state of barbeculture is strong.
One of our new favorite titles in the mix of regional travelogues, pitmaster profiles, and home cook how-tos comes in the smallest, most engaging package and offers several sideboards worth of cool, summery complements to smoked meat. The Sides Project: Barbecue, a new $4.99 e-book by contributing editor Francine Maroukian and Tony Aiazzi, tackles 24 regional side dishes from eastern North Carolina to Kansas City. Francine and Tony travel down familiar and tasty terrain with chowchow, baked beans, and coconut cream pie, while also diving into regional specialties, including curried coconut grits from South Carolina and spicy watermelon salad from Central Texas. Check out their ode to the Hush Puppy, one of several “Hall of Fame” sides:
We were so taken by Francine and Tony’s project that we asked them to develop six State Championship Slaw recipes for the annual ‘Cue Awards in our June issue. And because I’m a central NC guy who married an eastern NC girl, their recipe for finely chopped eastern North Carolina Slaw had me at white vinegar.
Eastern North Carolina Slaw
Whisk together 1/2 cup white vinegar, 1/4 cup sugar, 1 tsp. kosher salt, and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Add 1/2 head green cabbage (about 1 lb.), grated, and 1/2 cup chopped celery; toss to coat. Let stand 1 hour before serving, tossing occasionally. Serve with hot sauce.