History of Coleslaw

In the world of BBQ, coleslaw is a big deal. While there are many wonderful side items that can be paired with BBQ. coleslaw just might be the most prominent.

And much like BBQ itself, there are many ways you can make coleslaw, all of which are passionately defended as the “right way”.

But how exactly did we end up with coleslaw in the first place? What are the specific rules on what qualifies as coleslaw?

Before you can really argue about coleslaw, you need to know where it comes from.

The History of Coleslaw

Coleslaw is defined as a salad made out of thinly-shredded raw cabbage mixed with either mayonnaise or a vinaigrette dressing. From there, the ingredients, texture, and consistence can vary wildly, just like it does with any salad.

Coleslaw is far from a modern concept. Shredded cabbage has been mixed with vinaigrettes as far back as ancient Rome. But it wasn’t until around the 1600’s that we have records of proper “coleslaw” showing up in the Netherlands. There it was called koolsla, which simply means “cabbage salad”, and it was a very common dish.

Around the early eighteenth century, Dutch immigrants began pouring into America, bringing their customs and their food along with them. While many of their traditions faded into the great American melting pot, koolsla transcended cultural barriers and became a part of American cuisine.

As the name became anglicized, it was briefly called both coleslaw and “cold slaw”. Within a few years, though, coleslaw would become the winning name.

So What Makes Coleslaw “Coleslaw”?

Basically, if it features thinly shredded cabbage and some sort of dressing, it’s technically coleslaw. There’s Lexington Red Slaw which uses ketchup. Some will make mustard slaw, a sort of hybrid between coleslaw and potato salad.

Just remember, slaw is best enjoyed by the same of some delicious BBQ. If you’re in need of some great BBQ and a side of fresh slaw, stop by Rudy’s. Of course, we can come to you too. We offer catering services for weddings, parties, corporate events, and much more.

Contact us today!

True barbeque as practiced in the American South has 4
main ingredients- quality meats, low temperatures, wood
burning for flavor enhancement, and lots and lots of
patience, which is exactly what we do here at Rudy’s
Smokehouse.
All Glory be to God!