North Carolina Piedmont Slaw
Make ahead: The slaw needs to rest in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours and preferably overnight.
1 medium head cabbage, cored and chopped (5 to 6 cups)
1/4 cup ketchup
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Generous dash hot sauce, such as Texas Pete Hot Sauce or Tabasco brand
Place the cabbage in a large bowl. Combine the ketchup, sugar, vinegar, salt, pepper and hot sauce in a liquid measuring cup. Pour over the cabbage and toss to coat thoroughly.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours, and preferably overnight, before serving. Makes 6 to 8 servings (makes about 4 cups).
Classic Central Texas Pinto Beans
Make ahead: The beans need to soak for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight. The cooked beans can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
1 pound (2 cups) dried pinto beans
1 small chunk (2 ounces) fatback or salt pork (about 1 inch deep, 4 inches long and 1 inch wide; may substitute 4 slices of uncooked bacon or one medium ham hock)
4 tablespoons ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (or less, depending on your proclivity for heat)
1/2 teaspoon chili powder (or a roughly equal combination of ancho, chipotle and chili powders)
1/2 cup sliced sweet onion (about 1/4 medium sweet onion)
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
Rinse the beans by placing them in a bowl of cold water. Drain into a colander, then repeat until there is no trace of grit in the bowl. Pick through the rinsed beans, discarding any debris.
Soak the beans in cool water (to cover by an inch or two) in a large pot or bowl for at least 8 hours and preferably overnight.
Drain the beans into a colander placed over a bowl (to reserve the water). Transfer the drained, soaked beans to a large, heavy-bottomed pot. Cover with about 3 cups of the reserved soaking water, or as much as is needed so the beans are just submerged.
Add the fatback or salt pork and 2 tablespoons of the butter; bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then cook for 10 minutes, stirring once or twice. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter; reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the cayenne (to taste), chili powder and black pepper; cook (still over medium-low heat) for 10 minutes, stirring as needed. Discard the fatback or salt pork.
Stir in the sweet onion and salt, if using. Serve warm. Makes 12 to 14 servings (makes 8 cups).
Memphis Barbecue Spaghetti
Make ahead: The sauce can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
1 pound chopped or pulled pork, preferably smoked (pulled pork is available at barbecue joints, at some deli counters and butcher shops)
1 pound dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
1 medium green bell pepper, seeded and diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 1/2 teaspoons powdered mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the pasta water
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) can no-salt-added tomato purée
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 cups water
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the onion and bell pepper, stirring to coat. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until it releases its aroma, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the tomato paste; cook for 1 to 2 minutes, then stir in the powdered mustard, salt, pepper, allspice, cinnamon and crushed red pepper flakes. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato puree and brown sugar.
Pour in the water, stirring to form a sauce. After the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to low.
Cook, uncovered, for about 2 hours, stirring regularly to keep the sauce from scorching. The consistency should be a bit thin – more like barbecue sauce than a thick spaghetti sauce.
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, stir the pulled pork into the sauce to warm through.
Drain the cooked pasta; divide among individual bowls or plates. Spoon a generous amount of sauce over each portion. Serve warm. Makes 6 to 8 servings.