This Pineapple and Jalapeño Slaw Is the Perfect Barbecue Side

Sub in mango or drizzle on hot sauce for an extra kick.

Smoked Jalapeño and Pineapple Slaw
Smoked Jalapeño and Pineapple Slaw | Photo courtesy of HarperCollins
Smoked Jalapeño and Pineapple Slaw | Photo courtesy of HarperCollins

If you have ever found yourself wandering down Union Street in Gowanus, Brooklyn, you’re bound to smell wafts of smoked meats and hear the clinking of cocktail glasses emanating from the beloved barbecue restaurant Pig Beach.

The critically acclaimed spot, which began as a modest pop-up in the parking lot and now has three locations, is helmed by Rob Shawger and classically trained chefs Shane McBride (formerly of Balthazar) and Matt Abdoo (formerly of Del Posto). With Mcbride and Abdoo’s first ever cookbook, Pig Beach BBQ Cookbook: Smoked, Grilled, Roasted, and Sauced, they are letting readers in on all of their tips and tricks and welcoming them into their “united family of barbecue.”

“We’ve always wanted a cookbook that was our own,” Abdoo says. “A lot of the barbecue cookbooks that have existed have been somewhat secretive. They’d give you some of the doors, but not all the keys to the right information on how to do it.”

While the food is undeniably the main attraction, Abdoo and McBride seek to encourage people to take the joy experienced in their restaurant and recreate it amongst friends and family through the form of delicious food.

Family is at the heart of McBride and Abdoo’s barbecue ventures. In fact, Abdoo’s brother-in-law and Pig Beach’s former executive chef, Jeff Michner, who passed away in 2018, was instrumental in developing the recipes for the cookbook; McBride says the book is “without a doubt” an homage to Michner and his impact on the restaurant.

Founders of Pig Beach, Shane McBride and Matt Abdoo
Founders of Pig Beach, Shane McBride and Matt Abdoo | Photo by Ken Goodman

The chefs hope the recipes will bring people together, from main dishes like the Memphis-Style Greek-Seasoned Lamb Ribs to the sides such as their Smoked Jalapeño and Pineapple Slaw.

“For me, sides are kind of like the secret part of barbecue. When you go to barbecue competitions, everybody is always proud of their sides,” McBride says. “We took some classics like coleslaw and collard greens and added our chef-y touch to them”

With fresh cabbage, sweet pineapple, and a spicy kick from the jalapeños, the innovative coleslaw proves to be the perfect antidote to the incessant summer heat. The duo encourages at home chefs to customize the side any way they want, whether that’s throwing in some refreshing mango in place of pineapple or adding hot sauce to enhance the flavor. And if you’re crunched for time, the chefs suggest buying a premade coleslaw mix from the store. More than anything, McBride and Abdoo just want people to enjoy themselves.

“Barbecue season isn’t just summer. It’s great every day of the year,” Abdoo says. “Go out there, bring some family, friends, and loved ones together, and just eat and have fun.”

Smoked Jalapeño and Pineapple Slaw Recipe

Yield: Serves 4 to 6

• ½ pound green cabbage, shredded
• ½ pound red cabbage, shredded
• ½ pound carrots, shredded
• 1 cup finely diced fresh pineapple
• 2 scallions, sliced
• 2 cups Coleslaw Dressing (see below)

1. Combine the cabbages, carrots, pineapple, and scallions in a large bowl. Add the dressing and toss to coat completely. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the cabbages to soften a bit and the flavors to blend.
2. Serve chilled as a side salad or a garnish on a sandwich, particularly a pulled pork one!

Coleslaw Dressing

• 1 jalapeño
• 1 cup mayonnaise
• ¾ cup Alabama White Sauce (see below)
• ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro
• 3 tablespoons sugar
• 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
• ¾ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Using cherry wood, preheat your smoker to 250°F.
2. Remove the stem from the jalapeño and, using a sharp knife, carefully cut the pepper in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the seeds.
3. When the smoker has reached the desired heat, place the jalapeño into it. Smoke for about 1 hour or until the chili begins to look soft and wrinkled.
4. Remove the smoked jalapeño from the smoker and set it aside to cool.
5. Combine the mayonnaise, white sauce, cilantro, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a food processor. Add the smoked jalapeño and process to a smooth puree.
6. Use as a dressing for any coleslaw mix or on other vegetable salads. If not using immediately, transfer to a food-safe container, cover, and store in the refrigerator until ready to use, up to 1 week.

Alabama White Sauce
Yield: 2 cups

• 1½ cups mayonnaise
• 2 tablespoons sugar
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 1 tablespoon apple juice
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
• 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
• ½ teaspoon kosher salt

1. Combine the mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar, apple juice, lemon juice, and horseradish in a large bowl. Using an immersion blender, blend to combine. Add the barbecue seasoning, pepper, and salt and blend until the mixture is very creamy.
2. Place in a food-safe container, cover, and store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week. Bring to room temperature before serving.

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Kelsey Allen is an editorial assistant at Thrillist.