Barbeque season is finally here.
Or should I say cookout? Barbeque, cookout, grill fest—whatever you call it, the season is here to eat outside. Out in the sun, our backyards become dining rooms; where between laughter and conversation, hamburgers sizzle on the grill, mustard squirts onto hot dogs, beer bottles pop, and bare chicken bones clank down onto plates. Welcome to summer.
When Memorial Day rolls around, there is always one special dish that you can bet will be on our family barbeque table. It is red, it is saucy, and it is simply referred to as “Hot Stuff.”
Hot Stuff is a spicy cabbage slaw made of thinly sliced cabbage mixed with a little ketchup, a little vinegar, and enough hot sauce to help it live up to its name. It is for spicy lovers only; it packs the kind of punch that makes your mouth begin water with only a quick whiff; and the longer it sits, the hotter it gets.
It is a great topping for hamburgers, sandwiches, or anything you feel can use a good crunchy kick, but it is without a doubt the best on a hot dog.
As the story of Hot Stuff goes, it all began with a local bar that would make the slaw and serve it on their hot dogs. Everyone loved it so much that they began experimenting at home to try and recreate it. My Uncle Nunzi eventually began making and selling Hot Stuff at his deli and it became a huge hit.
Since I made the Hot Stuff for the first time this year, my dad kept joking that we couldn't serve it until Uncle Nunzi approved. We gave him the first taste and after a few anxious moments of watching him chew, I got the thumbs up. Whew!
Everyone makes Hot Stuff in the same basic way with a few of their own secret ingredients thrown in. This is my recipe:
Hot Stuff (Spicy Cabbage Slaw):
Yield: About 2 cups
- ½ head cabbage, thinly sliced
- 1 cup hot sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot)
- 1/3 cup ketchup
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
• In a bowl, mix together hot sauce, ketchup, sugar, vinegar, salt and pepper. Taste; if you would prefer to make it a little more mild, add more ketchup. Toss sauce with thinly sliced cabbage.
• Keep in an airtight container, where it can continue to marinate and become even hotter!
• Serve on hot dogs, hamburgers, sandwiches, or anything you feel can use a nice crunchy kick.