Southern Hot Slaw Recipe

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Southern Hot Slaw is real Soul Food, and The Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, observed on the third Monday in January, is the perfect time to start serving soul food. Since it is so delicious, it will most likely appear on dinner menus frequently throughout the year.

The name, “soul food,” was coined during the 1960s during the civil rights movement, a movement in which Martin Luther King, Jr. played an integral part. According to, Soul Food actually began when people were brought to the South from Africa to be used as slaves. The slaves who worked in the kitchens of the large plantations found ways to prepare the “throw-away” foods (foods not fit to be eaten by the plantation owners and their families or foods that were in abundance and were cheap) for use as food for themselves and the other slaves on the plantation. It should be noted that many of the innovative dishes prepared by these early cooks turned out to be better than what was served to the wealthy plantation owners! Many of those early dishes are still popular today.

A favorite cookbook published in the 1960s just after the Martin Luther King era, is Princess Pamela’s Soul Food Cookbook, by Pamela Stroebel; who owned a small restaurant in Manhattan called The Little Kitchen. The cookbook has been out of print for years, but can sometimes be found on Amazon, eBay, and other used or antique book sites; it is definitely worth searching for and will become the “Bible” for incredibly delicious soul food dishes.

To save time when preparing this delicious Southern Hot Slaw, purchase coleslaw mix in the produce department of the grocery store. Since the coleslaw mix contains carrot and purple cabbage shreds in addition to the cabbage, the finished dish will be colorful as well as delicious. Those who like a little “bite” may sprinkle a little crushed red pepper in with the dressing.

The following recipe for Southern Hot Slaw is the perfect accompaniment to delicious Soul Food entrees such as Smothered Pork Chops, Shortcut Southern Fried Chicken, or Smoked Ribs. Complete the meal with cornbread or biscuits, and of course, a good Southern dessert.

Southern Hot Slaw


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons flour
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 pounds shredded cabbage


Cut the bacon in small pieces and fry until crisp in a large skillet; remove the bacon to paper towels.
Add the onion to the bacon fat and sauté until golden brown.
In a separate small bowl, whisk together the sugar, dry mustard, salt, pepper, and flour until smooth.
Whisk the mixture into the onions and bacon fat; stir in the vinegar. Cook and stir over low heat until thickened.
Crumble the bacon into the onion mixture, add the cabbage, and gently heat until the cabbage is limp. Serve immediately.

Makes 6 servings.

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