Best Coleslaw for BBQ

If you want the best coleslaw for BBQ, try this sweet, tangy, crunchy version that keeps up to 3 weeks in the fridge.

Best Coleslaw for BBQ

Mayo-based slaws have their place, but when looking for a good side for BBQ, vinegar slaws are hands down the best choice. Their sweet, vinegary tang pefectly complements smoky meats.

Growing up in North Alabama, home to some of the South’s best BBQ, I cut my teeth on yummy BBQ sandwiches piled high with chopped pork and topped with vinegar slaw. This easy recipe is as close as I’ve found to what I grew up eating, and I make it often whenever we serve BBQ.

Make ahead:  Since this slaw is vinegar based and has no mayo, it will keep up to 3 weeks in the fridge. I’ve never had it last longer than a few days, but it tastes just as good or better a few days after making.

Note: Don’t succumb to the tempatation to buy pre-bagged coleslaw. Although it works beautifully for some recipes (like this crunchy ramen slaw) it doesn’t work well in this recipe. To achieve the texture and taste of this best coleslaw for BBQ, it is best to chop the cabbage and carrots with a food processor.

My favorite food processor is fabulous, less than $25, and the #1 seller on amazon. This kitchen workhorse has served me well for years and does a fabulous job of chopping large amounts of vegetables. It is also good for lightly processing chicken if you prefer a chicken salad with a uniform, finely chopped consistency.

I hope this recipe comes in handy for you if you don’t already have a favorite BBQ slaw. If you try it, please let me hear what you think! As always, thanks so much for stopping by. Be blessed, and stay savvy!!!

Best Coleslaw for BBQ

The perfect vinegar based slaw for barbecue sandwiches or fried chicken.

10 min

5 min

15 min

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  • 1 head cabbage, finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp celery seed
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup sugar


  • Place chopped vegetables in large bowl.
  • In saucepan, bring vinegar, oil & sugar to rolling boil.
  • Remove from heat; add celery seed, salt, & pepper, stirring well.
  • Pour over slaw; mix until well blended.
  • Keep covered in fridge for up to 3 weeks.