Vinegar Slaw

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There is no telling how many different kinds of slaw there are in the world but most of what I’ve seen during  my time is coleslaw and vinegar slaw. Today, in order for you to be able to make the BBQ sandwiches like I posted about yesterday, I’m bringing you the recipe for vinegar slaw, which is commonly served on top of pulled pork sandwiches in my neck of the woods.

This recipe is easy as pie but I’m gonna make it a little bit easier for ya. The original recipe is done in proportions but I’m giving you exact measurements in case you’ve never made it before, then you can work with proportions later once you get more comfortable with it.

One head of cabbage, vinegar, sugar. It’s that easy.

The best things in life are easy.

Now lets talk a minute about “rules”. Some folks will tell you that you should never serve pulled pork without slaw. Some folks will tell you that you should never serve pulled pork with slaw. Some folks will tell you that you should never serve bbq without red sauce and so on and so forth.

Here is my take on that. There are no rules in your kitchen except for those which you choose to make.

If you wanna make jello and call it creme brulee more power to ya. If you wanna call all your beef dishes chicken dishes, knock yourself out. When I come to your house and eat a big old plate full of beef roast I’ll just declare it the finest chicken I ever did taste!

Your kitchen = no rules.

Have fun with it.

Chop up your  cabbage.

Note: I’m only using half of my head of cabbage. That yields about four to five cups and that is plenty for me.

I chopped mine up in a food processor but you can use a sharp knife and chop it, shred it, whatever cranks your tractor. Remember, no rules.

Now add your vinegar

and your sugar

The ratio here is equal parts vinegar and sugar.

Give it a stir.

Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. This will make more liquid after a while and is better if you let it refrigerate for a few hours before serving it but if you need to eat it now go ahead. I’m not big on waiting myself. ~grins~

Serve on top of pulled pork (the recipe is here) or as a side dish if you like. No rules! :)

Vinegar Slaw

Vinegar Slaw


  • 4-1/2 to 5 Cups finely chopped or shredded cabbage (about half a head)
  • 1 Cup white vinegar
  • 1 Cup sugar


  1. Place cabbage in a bowl. Add in vinegar and sugar. Stir. Cover and place in refrigerator a few hours or overnight before serving. Will make more juice over time.
  2. *The proportions for larger quantities are equal parts vinegar and sugar.

To see the recipe for the pulled pork bbq pictured with the slaw, click here.

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.”

~Sam Keen

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      • elaineraye says

        Yes Candis-there is a freezer slaw and it is a great way to preserve cabbage when it gets ahead of what you can use from the garden. It stays pretty crisp and if you prefer mayonnaise based you can add a glob after the frozen slaw is thawed. DO NOT try to freeze mayo dressed slaw. Anyhow go to site for 59 recipes -all nearly the same or type in freezer slaw on any major search engine.

  1. Angela says

    I love this kind of slaw on my bbq sandwich. I guess it’s just an Alabama thing or at least a north Alabama thing. If you haven’t ever tried it, you should. It really goes with the bbq. Christy, do you love Whitt’s BBQ? Lawlers? Both of them?

  2. says

    I have never had vinegar slaw. I think I will use half the cabbage for vinegar slaw and the other half for Jimmy’s colesaw. We are having a block party Sunday for the 4th. I’m making pulled pork and the normal burgers and dogs.

    Have a happy and safe 4th of July. We miss you, one day was not enough. There was so much we wanted to show you. (like Italian Bakeries and Pizzerias and Restaurants lol, you know it’s almost always about food.)

    Have a good green day,
    Love ya,

  3. Willette says

    I loved pulled pork BBQ sandwiches. The recipe seems easy. I like eating mine with slaw on top. I usually make a mustard slaw for polish sausages and hot dogs. You take a bag of slaw mix and add mustard, sugar, white vinegar, and celery seed. Place in the fridge over night. It is better the next day.

  4. Diana says

    The recipes for the BBQ pulled pork sandwiches & vinegar slaw sound wonderful! I am trying them this weekend (if not before since my mouth is already watering).

    Thanks so much for these-

  5. Michelle says

    Thank you for this slaw recipe. I have never made vinegar slaw either, but I will make this. It’s so easy! Next time I go grocery shopping, I’m buying pulled pork and slaw ingredients. Have a blessed day!

  6. nmsusieq says

    I have to tell you. I’ve never heard of slaw with only vinegar and sugar. I’ve always made mine with Miracle Whip, vinegar and sugar. The vinegar and sugar not nearly to the proportions that you used. But hey, no rules.

    • Michele says

      Would you mind sharing your recipe with the Miracle Whip in it? It seems all I’ve ever eaten is slaw that was of a creamy nature. I’ve never made slaw. However I do want to make the vinegar to try it out.

  7. Jane says

    I’d always had slaw with mayo until I went to Canada once – there it was, freshly made in a mom-and-pop grocery store – vinegar slaw! We fell in love with it then and never looked back.

    A half-cup of oil and this would be my recipe for the dressing on three bean salad.

  8. Lisa from Madison says

    Christy, thanks so much for the pork BBQ and slaw recipes!!! I grew up on Whitt’s BBQ and vinegar slaw (on the BBQ sandwich with potato chips on top of the slaw) and I have always wanted to know how to make them at home!! My family is going to be SO excited!! Can’t wait to try these! YUMMY!!!!

  9. Roger THORNTON says

    I’ve eaten slaw made by others that looks like it was run through a blender and it feels like a spoonful of goop when you put it in your mouth. Me wife makes the best slaw ever. The slaw is much better and a pure joy to eat when it is shredded real fine, as on a Mandolin the way I do it, or with great diligence, patience, and attention as my wife does with a large chef’s knife. Her shredded cabbage looks like angel hair. We both cross-cut it a couple times with the knife. Then we tasty it up with Marzetti’s Low Fat Cole Slaw Dressing. Don’t drown it in dressing; a little goes a long way. And it’s sooooooooooo good. I could eat a half head of cabbage this way.

  10. says

    This is a great thing to take to a Cook-Out in this stifling NC weather! No worries about mayo spoiling and poisoning the whole neighborhood! Oh my gosh, could you imagine being the person responsible for sending folks to the emergency room to get their Independance Day stomach pumping! I think I’ll try this to go with the pig that we’ll be pickin’!

  11. Roger THORNTON says

    Just don’t get the notion I was knocking Christy’s recipe. I wasn’t. Just expressing how good the cole slaw is that my wife makes. I don’t remember seeing bagged shredded cabbage but have used the bagged shredded broccoli in stir-fry.

  12. Sandra C in Moulton, AL says

    Christy, Vinegar slaw is my favorite. I have even eaten slaw sandwiches. But I have to share my hint. If you bruise or squeeze the cabbage with the sugar before you add the vinegar, it will help give it more juice and a better taste. My sister’s manfriend couldn’t get over how much better my slaw was than hers. She was following my ingredients. I finally asked if she was bruising her cabbage. Now her slaw is like mine. I also put a little salt/pepper in it. I’m even going to let her make it for the 4th.

  13. Jane H. says

    Wow!! A vinegar slaw recipe and I have half a head of cabbage in my fridge. :D You read my mind! Thank you, Christy! I love the tanginess of vinegar slaw. I make the slaw and pick up a butt roast for pulled pork on Friday. I will be in nirvana (or hog heaven) on Saturday. Just might make your congealed salad for dessert. I’m on a roll.

  14. Annarose says

    Mmm that looks yummy and I’ll bet it’s great on the pulled pork sandwiches! And I agree with your approach to rules :) I’ve been told by more than one person that lemon doesn’t go with tomato and tuna doesn’t go with tomato either, but one of my favorite super easy pasta sauces is tomato sauce with copious amounts of lemon juice and a can of tuna. Learned to make it in Austria even though it’s hardly a recipe. It may sound weird, but I’ve been enjoying it for 10 years.

  15. Terry says

    I use the same recipe,but I bring my vinegar to a boil and then stir in my sugar until sugar has desolved,then pour into my cabbage.
    Have you ever done or heard of it done this way?

    Your Biggest Fan,
    Terry GOD BLESS

  16. Denise in Dallas says

    I wasn’t sure about this when I saw the name, but my husband mentioned that he loved vinegar slaw – I didn’t know that. Anyway, I’m going to make some for him.

    Thanks, Christy, for helping me learn more about my husband!!

    Denise in Dallas :D

  17. Heather Shanks says

    Just wanted to say “thanks” for this recipe as well as the BBQ pork recipe. Made both for family that is visiting this week and even my two young nieces loved it! My family has requested the recipe and even ate it two days in a row. Delicious!

  18. Cathy says

    Just want to add that we often have newcomers who’ve never had vinegar slaw before and, sadly, don’t like it. They’ve never heard of slaw without mayonnaise. Well…too bad. More for us!

  19. Joycie says

    Yes you can use Bag Cabbage. I always soak it in Ice Water then drain before making the slaw. I put in carrots, onions and green peppers along with herbs from my garden. Vinegar, sugar, salt and Olive Oil. I mix my dressing in the blender. I am going to try just vinegar and sugar next time. Somedays I only eat left over slaw for lunch – add an apple or nuts-something crunchy

  20. Jay says

    This is the exact recipe my mother used to make. And I don’t believe she was ever south of Indiana in her life! Who knew? I’m so happy to have the proportions for this, as it remains my favorite slaw recipe ever. Thanks, Christy.

  21. Kelley Maddox says

    I tried the vinegar slaw and pulled pork last night, and it was wonderful. I used more spices on the roast (ground mustard, black pepper, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, kosher salt) and I used molasses instead of the brown sugar and hot sauce instead of red pepper flakes because I was out of the other, and it was not vinegary at all. The slaw was so easy, I did add a little salt and pepper. The combination reminded me of the north Alabama BBQ I grew up on, and made me a little homesick. Great recipe! it is going in my file.

  22. says

    My Mom made her coleslaw different that any recipe I have ever seen. Chopped cabbage, 2 or 3 Tablespoons of sugar, 2 or 3 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and mix it up with Sandwich Spread. Very good. It was always eaten with a full meal of whatever she cooked that day. Good with chicken and dumplings and green beans and cornbread. Also good on hotdogs. Someone please try it and let me know what you think. I grew up on this stuff.

  23. says

    My Mom made her coleslaw different that any recipe I have ever seen. Chopped cabbage, chopped onion 2 or 3 Tablespoons of sugar, 2 or 3 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and mix it up with Sandwich Spread. Very good. It was always eaten with a full meal of whatever she cooked that day. Good with chicken and dumplings and green beans and cornbread. Also good on hotdogs. Someone please try it and let me know what you think. I grew up on this stuff. Also my sister makes a cabbage dip–chopped cabbage, onion, tomatoes, fresh cilantro, canned jalapeno peppers. Use as much ingredients as you like the pour the juice from the peppers over and stir well. Store in the refrigerator and stir well before serving with tortilla chips. Oh so good. The bowl will not set on the table long, it will be passed around so much.

  24. David says

    I grew up in Fayetteville, TN but now live in Chattanooga and we can’t get good vinegar slaw over here, so I travel back home to eat at the OLD Greenbrier BBQ about 2 times per year (close to Madison, AL). The slaw, hushpuppies and white sauce are worth the trip.

    Thanks for the recipes!

  25. Carole says

    I fix this same slaw except that I have bacon in mine. I just fry 2 strips of bacon and remove. I leave about a tablespoon of bacon grease in the pan and add the vinegar and sugar. Then I crumble the bacon into pieces and mix with the slaw. My sister-in-law fixed this and I love it on BBQ burgers. I am a huge fan of Bob Gibson’s BBQ in Decatur, AL. and I loved his slaw which I think is basically the cabbage, sugar and vinegar.

  26. Beulah says

    My mother always made her slaw this way and I think she learned from her mother who was PA. Dutch. I do make mine with mayo sometimes as I also like it made that way. Have a great Holiday!

  27. Stephen Zandy says

    This slaw is like what my sister makes in PA called “Pepper Cabbage” . Has the addition of bell pepper if you want, I add finely chopped celery to it.

    The longer it stay in the refrig. the better it is. Good with fried fish, pork.

  28. says

    The best BBQ slaw I’ve ever had was on the BBQ sandwiches at Tommy’s Drive-In BBQ Restaraunt on Hwy. 321N in Dallas, NC (just past the Gastonia city limits). I am hoping this recipe will be the same as they use because I live in Georgia now and never get back to NC. If you know how Tommy’s makes theirs, please leave a reply here and I will be grateful.

  29. Donn Colee says

    Dear Lady, I like the way you think. And cook. You bring back many wonderful memories of my great-grandmother Emma and my grandmother Flossie. I am a Southern boy by birth and heritage, Arkansas. The food that came out of those two kitchens was mind blowing. Those two sweet belles taught me how cook, how to home can and how to clean up. Today I have all of their “recipe boxes” and about half a ton of vintage cast iron cookware. I am 60 and have fattened up more friends than you can shake a switch at.

    You have been bookmarked. Keep up the good work!


  30. Wendy Dement Smith says

    I made this last week. My first time ever making vinegar slaw. I always go buy a container from the local BBQ place when my husband cooks a pork roast on the grill or in the smoker. Let me just say I will never buy it again, so easy and tastes wonderful. I really enjoyed my homemade pork sandwiches with this slaw. I have been sharing lots of your recipes with my friend who recently had a baby and does not have internet. I think if we ate more at home using real ingredients and stayed away from the drive thru we would be a lot healthier. Thank you for your wonderful recipes and stories.


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