Sam Jones’ Sweet Coleslaw Recipe

Sam Jones' Sweet Coleslaw in a paper basket with a fork
Image Credit: @samjonesbbq (Instagram)

A sweet coleslaw recipe is a staple in every Southern kitchen. Eaten as a side dish or as a topping on barbecue sandwiches and hot dogs, coleslaw is versatile and in demand at every potluck. Sam Jones’ simple mayonnaise-based dressing in this sweet coleslaw recipe cuts through the bitter cabbage flavor, no matter the time of year. This crunchy-meets-creamy side dish is well-suited at barbecues, cookouts, tailgates, and any outdoor gathering when you’re looking to feed the masses.

The sweet coleslaw recipe provided should take you through most backyard barbecues and friendly tailgates. However, if you’re planning for an epic gathering, the “whole hog party” scales the recipe to feed 70 or 80 people.

Note: The recipe recommends using a food processor to turn achieve a fine texture for the cabbage, but Jones says that chopping by hand perfectly fine, though the texture will be bulkier.

To chop by hand, quarter the cabbages and cut the portions into thin slices against the grain of the cabbage. Stack the slices three or four high and slice thinly again, against the grain of the leaves. This method should produce fine bits of cabbage.

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Serves 8 to 10

    For the sweet coleslaw:
  • *Serves 8 to 10
  • 1 head cabbage, about 2½ pounds
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • ½ cup mayonnaise
  • ¼ cup salad dressing, such as Miracle Whip
  • 2 teaspoons yellow mustard
  • For a whole hoc party:
  • 20 pounds cabbage
  • 4 pounds sugar
  • 3 cups (24 ounces) mayonnaise
  • 1¾ cups (14 ounces) salad dressing, such as Miracle Whip
  • 2 ounces yellow mustard
  1. Quarter the cabbage by cutting down into the core. Turn each quarter on its side and cut down the edge of the solid core to remove and discard it. Peel off the outer leaves and discard as well. Cut into 1-inch chunks and, working in batches, fill a food processor with cabbage to the halfway point. Pulse six times, then run the food processor continuously for 30 to 60 seconds until the cabbage is finely chopped. Stop short of a minced paste. 
  2. Place the chopped cabbage in a bowl large enough to allow some serious mixing.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sugar, mayonnaise, salad dressing, and mustard until fully combined. Pour over the chopped cabbage, mix well, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate.
  4. This slaw is best once it sits for several hours (that’s when the precious juice rises to the top), but it’s also ready to eat immediately if need be. The slaw is best the day-of because it loses its crispness over- night, but it will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.
  • Recipe From
    Reprinted with permission from Whole Hog BBQ by Sam Jones & Daniel Vaughn, copyright © 2019. Photographs by Denny Culbert. Published by Ten Speed Press, a division of Penguin Random House, Inc.
  • Contributing City
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