And being the die-hard-Clemson-loving, God-fearing, Southern woman that she is, she didn’t use a recipe – just stirred everything together right before lunch while everyone watched.
Now, I wasn’t fortunate enough to get to taste this first-hand, but as soon as Heather got in the car, she called to tell me I just had to share it with y’all. After a few phone calls and with the contributions of a keen-eyed bystander, I think we’ve got the recipe pretty darn close.
Now Aunt Mary says she always just shreds up a small head of cabbage, but she did use the bagged cole slaw mix this time because it makes it so much quicker and easier. You’re welcome to use either, though I find the pre-bagged shredded stuff also makes for a more reliable and consistent finished dish.
And just in case the words “pepper sauce” have anyone confused… I’m talking about the “peppers in vinegar” stuff that many folks drizzle over their greens and peas. Brands like Trappey’s (pictured above) or Texas Pete (pictured below) are the kinds of stuff you’re looking for. We’re not talking hot sauce, like Tabasco, here. The vinegar flavor is super important and the peppers just add a new dimension of flavor. The recipe calls for mild as the heat can get a little out of control if you don’t watch it. Just keep in mind you can make it as hot or mild as you want. And yes, you can absolutely use homemade – if you have it. Just, again, be mindful of the heat level.
Aunt Mary's Pepper Sauce Coleslaw
- 2 (16-ounce) packages tri-color shredded coleslaw mix
- 1/2 sweet onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 tomato, seeded and finely diced
- 1 cup mayonnaise (I prefer Duke's)
- 1 to 3 tablespoons mild vinegar-based pepper sauce* (like Trappey's - also called peppers in vinegar)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- In a large bowl, toss the coleslaw mix, onion, and tomato together.
- In a small bowl, whisk the mayonnaise and the pepper sauce together until smooth. Start with 1 tablespoon of the pepper sauce and increase it based on you taste or the heat level of the sauce. Add the salt and black pepper and mix well.
- Add the dressing to the vegetables and mix well. The coleslaw may seem a bit dry at this point. Allow to rest in the fridge for about 20 minutes. The flavors will develop and the dressing with marry with the juices from the cabbage and make even more dressing. Stir again before serving adjusting seasoning and adding additional pepper sauce or mayo if desired.