A Pair of Recipes for Classic Barbecue Sides

Classic Central Texas Pinto Beans

12 to 14 servings (makes 8 cups)

When accompanying barbecue, a side of pintos should be a little brothy and creamy-tasting, attributes of the beans made by columnist Jim Shahin’s central Texas-born-and-raised wife, Jessica. He says her rendition’s the best of any he’s ever tried, which is why he’s sharing her recipe.

During the cooking process, keep the beans slightly covered with liquid, adding bean-soaking water as needed. You will probably have leftover water; discard what you don’t use. For a more complex flavor, you can combine roughly equal amounts of ancho, chipotle and chili powders rather than use the chili powder called for in the recipe.

If you have leftovers, mash up the beans for refried beans to serve with huevos rancheros for breakfast or add to tortillas with grated cheese, chopped tomatoes, lettuce and onions for tacos.

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

Cool water

1 small chunk (2 ounces) fatback or salt pork (about 1 inch deep and 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 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.

North Carolina Piedmont Slaw

6 to 8 servings (makes about 4 cups)

In most of the South, coleslaw serves as a cooling contrast to the heat of barbecue sauce, but Piedmont slaw is, in effect, made with barbecue sauce. This is a typical example, based on the one served at Lexington Barbecue.

Make Ahead: The slaw needs to rest in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 hours and preferably overnight.

Adapted from the forthcoming Barbecue: A Cookbook, by John Shelton Reed (UNC Press, 2014).


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.

Nutrition per serving (based on 8): 40 calories, 0 g protein, 10 g carbohydrates, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 210 mg sodium, 1 g dietary fiber, 8 g sugar