Lexington, N.C. is renowned for its heritage of slow-cooking pork shoulders over hickory wood, a method that is known worldwide as Lexington-style barbecue. It is a city that considers itself to be the “Barbecue Capital of the World”, and April 24-25 marks Lexington’s 5th annual BBQ Capital Cook Off. At this event, dozens of teams come together and compete, serving up their best chicken, ribs, brisket and pork.
Lexington-style, slow cooked pork typically incorporates a unique vinegar-based red sauce, which is oftentimes also used as a seasoning-base in red slaw. It adds spice and dimension as an alternative to the mayonnaise base found in most coleslaw recipes, and, because the consistency is a bit thinner, the flavors are easily absorbed by the veggies.
So, in the spirit of the Lexington BBQ Capital Cook Off, we’re offering you a recipe for Lexington Barbecue Sauce as well as Lexington Red Slaw!
Lexington Barbecue Sauce
- 3 cups distilled vinegar
- 3/4 cup tomato ketchup
- 1/4 cup apple juice
- 6 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons salt
- 3 teaspoons finely ground pepper
- 2 1/4 teaspoons red chili flakes
- Mason jar or glass bottle with lid for storage
- In a medium bowl, whisk all the ingredients together
- Allow ingredients to sit for at least 1 hour before using, and store remaining sauce in a mason jar or vinegar-style bottle
- This sauce will keep almost indefinitely in the refrigerator, but it is important to note that the longer the sauce sits, the spicier it gets – the vinegar brings out the heat of the chili flakes
Red Slaw Lexington Coleslaw
- 1 1/2 cups of Lexington Barbecue Sauce
- 1 large head green cabbage
- 1 large carrot
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup kosher salt
- Shred cabbage
- Peel carrot and grate using the large holes of a box grater
- Combine cabbage and carrot in a large bowl and sprinkle with sugar and salt
- Toss to combine
- Let stand 5 minutes, then transfer cabbage and carrot to a colander
- Rinse thoroughly with running water
- Transfer vegetables to a salad spinner and spin dry, or blot using paper towels
- Return cabbage and carrot to large bowl
- Pour Lexington-style Barbecue Sauce over vegetables and toss to coat
- Adjust seasoning to taste with salt, pepper and sugar and enjoy!