Steven Raichlen's Barbecue! Bible

4th of July Menu, Part 3


Welcome to Part Three of our Independence Day menu. This week, we’re rounding up a couple of patriotic sides–an easy vinegar-based slaw and a smoky potato salad.
Blue potatoes come to us by way of Peru (although they’re now grown in the United States), and their blue hue nevers fails to delight. Many supermarkets carry red, white, and blue fingerling potatoes these days, but if you can’t find them, everyday full-size red- or white-skinned potatoes will taste just as good.
SERVES: 4 to 6
2 slices of bacon or pancetta (optional)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise, or more if needed
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, or more to taste
1 tablespoon tarragon vinegar or distilled white vinegar, or more to taste
1 tablespoon capers with their juices
2 scallions, both white and green parts, trimmed, finely chopped (set aside 2 tablespoons scallion greens for garnish)
1 1/2 pounds red, white, and Peruvian blue fingerling potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
Plenty of coarse salt (kosher or sea) and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup wood chips or chunks (preferably hickory or oak), soaked for 1 hour in water to cover, then drained
1. Cut the bacon, if using, into 1/4-inch slivers, put it in a small nonstick frying pan, and cook over medium heat until lightly browned and the fat is rendered, 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the cooked bacon to paper towels to drain.
2. Make the salad dressing: Place the mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, capers, scallions, and bacon, if using, in a large nonreactive serving bowl and whisk to mix. Set the salad dressing aside.
3. Scrub the potatoes with a brush, but leave the skins on. Place the potatoes in an aluminum foil drip pan. Drizzle with the olive oil and season very generously with salt and pepper. Toss the potatoes to mix.
4. Set up the grill for indirect grilling and preheat to medium-high. If using a gas grill, place all the wood chips or chunks in the smoker box or in a smoker pouch and preheat on high until you see smoke, then reduce the heat to medium-high.
5. When ready to cook, if using a charcoal grill, toss all the wood chips or chunks on the coals. Place the pan with the potatoes in the center of the hot grate, away from the heat. Cover the grill and cook the potatoes until tender, about 40 minutes. To test for doneness, insert a metal skewer into a potato; it should pierce it easily. Remove the pan with the potatoes from the grill and let cool. Note: the potatoes can be smoke roasted at a previous grill session.
6. Cut any large potatoes in quarters; cut medium-size potatoes in half. Leave small potatoes whole. Add the potatoes to the salad dressing and toss to mix. Taste for seasoning, adding salt, mustard, or vinegar as necessary; the salad should be highly seasoned. If the salad is too dry, add a little more mayonnaise. Sprinkle with the reserved scallion greens and serve at once.
My all-time favorite coleslaw comes not from a barbecue joint but from Miami’s legendary crab house, Joe’s Stone Crab. It’s a tooth-squeakingly crisp slaw that Joe’s family (now in its fifth generation at the restaurant) has served to adoring multitudes since 1913.
The secret to the slaw is to cut the cabbage into paperthin shreds. Joe’s uses a meat slicer. At home, you could use a mandolin or the thinnest shredding disc of your food processor.
1/3 cup cider vinegar
3 tablespoons sugar, or more to taste
1 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 medium-size head green cabbage (about 16 ounces)
2 large ripe tomatoes, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
4 tablespoons mayonnaise (preferably Hellmann’s)
2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
1. MAKE THE DRESSING: Combine the vinegar, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large nonreactive mixing bowl and whisk until the sugar and salt dissolve. Taste for seasoning, adding sugar or salt as necessary; the dressing should be highly seasoned.
2. MAKE THE SLAW: Remove the core from the cabbage and discard it. Cut the cabbage into 4 chunks. Finely shred the cabbage in a food processor using the shredding disc or using a mandoline. Work in batches so as not to overcrowd the processor bowl. You’ll have about 5 cups of cabbage. Add the shredded cabbage to the bowl with the dressing, stir to mix, then let stand for 10 minutes. Mound the slaw on a platter or plates. Lean the tomato slices against the coleslaw. Garnish with dollops of mayonnaise, placing a spoonful of relish in the center of each.
Want more? Click the links for my recipes for Jalapeno Shrimp and Lone Star Ribs, and check back next Thursday for a special grill-top dessert.

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