Our home is always the center of activity, and we have found that when it comes to entertaining large groups, food always takes center stage. We have managed to accomplish a lot of projects around the homestead using food as bribery, and it’s important that it be good food, otherwise, only the truest of friends will fall for such a shtick more than once: a work day disguised as a barbecue…debris gathering and burn pile tending promoted as a friendly fireside social.
Brew days can take up the better part of a Saturday. It’s always more fun when you have friends around to pass the boil time playing Zombie Cribbage, and then there is all that cleaning and sanitizing…
Admittedly, brewing good beer does a pretty good job of recruiting help without the promise of food, but we wouldn’t think of actually ignoring our stomachs because of this fact. Besides, brew and barbecue seem almost made for each other.
It can be a challenging to coordinate food for 10 while making sure the wort doesn’t burn, and the hops are added at the right time, so simple is always a key ingredient. That’s why when I heard a recent NPR story titled “Pickling Up Your Next Summer Picnic”, I knew I had a winning brew day menu.
Chef Mike Odette’s vinaigrette slaw sounded like a perfect addition to the spiral cut dogs I was planning cook up the following day while we brewed up our first experimental batch of peach hefeweizen we’re calling “The Georgiagonian”: brewed with Oregon hops, and fermented with Georgia peaches.
We had recently learned about how spiral cutting a hot dog could really take an otherwise unimpressive piece of mystery meat, and turn it into a delicious yet simple entrée thanks to our friends over at Brood Brewery.
When you spiral cut a dog, you create more surface area that can be smoked and candied on the grill, and the resulting coil of goodness is full of pockets for what ever condiments you want to add.
In this case, we were using an inspired version of Chef Mike’s vinaigrette slaw, and it turned out to be a real champ.
We were so busy cooking and, brewing, and then eating, that nobody managed to take a comprehensive set of pictures, so the pictures you are seeing are a special second serving just for you…not that we needed the excuse.
Oh, and these are obviously not hot dogs, they are Georgia Boy Sausages, which we have grown to love since moving to Georgia, and they too benefit from spiral cutting as you can see here. But let me ‘slaw’ down a second and give you the ingredients list:
Equal parts white wine vinegar, hard cider, and brown sugar (we used our home brew Tree House Cider which we will be showing you how to make in an upcoming post).
Bok Choy cabbage, Apples, Onions; and Pecans (we have several pecan trees that keep us well supplied).
Start by making the vinaigrette. Chef Mike said it benefits from sitting overnight so the sugars can diffuse, and the flavor complexity can build. I let it sit for 24 hours the first time, and the result was amazing. I didn’t have time on the second batch to let it sit, and although the slaw was still delicious, there was no comparison to the aged vinaigrette.
Simply combine the vinegar, cider, and sugar in a plastic container, stir, and stick it in the fridge. Make enough to have a little pool in the bottom of the bowl once it is tossed with the veggies. You can stir it all up to get more of that beautiful flavor in your mouth. The first time I did one cup vinegar, cider, and sugar. The second time I used two thirds cup of the three ingredients because I ran out of brown sugar. In both cases the ratio of veggies was about the same. The two thirds cup batch still provided plenty of vinaigrette, but I will go with a cup again in the future.
I waited until the a few hours before the meal to chop up the Bok Choy, Apples, Onions, and Pecans. This was the most time consuming step. I did it all by hand though, and if you have a food processor, you could speed the process up significantly I’m sure.
In the first batch, I used Granny Smith apples and large shallots. In the second batch I used Fuji apples and Texas red onions. I liked the green apples best, and the red onions gave a much more mild onion flavor. There are no rules though, so have fun experimenting. Once you are done chopping, throw everything into a large bowl, and add the vinaigrette and toss everything together just before serving.
This slaw is so good, it just might become a regular around here. I saw people eat it as a stand alone dish just as much as I saw them piling it on their dogs. I liked it best as a condiment. We plan to use the leftovers to make a chicken salad, and there are plans to do a Taco Tuesday soon showcasing a stronger onion flavored version of this slaw in a fish taco. The possibilities are endless. Bon Appetit!
- 1 cup white wine vinegar
- 1 cup hard cider
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 4 Bok Choy cabbage
- 7 Apples
- 1 Onion or several large shallots
- Handful of Pecans or other neutral nut
- Simply combine the vinegar, cider, and sugar in a plastic container, stir, and stick it in the fridge. Make enough to have a little pool in the bottom of the bowl once it is tossed with the veggies. Allow to rest 24 hours if at all possible.
- Chop up the Bok Choy, Apples, Onions, and Pecans.
- Just before serving toss the veggies and the vinaigrette.