Friday, July 22, 2011

Grilled Coleslaw and What's Up with Nitrates?

Grilling time is here and who doesn't love a good hot dog?  Sure, I try to eat a healthy diet but every once in a while just crave a good old fashioned grilled hot dog!  Some of my very favorite hot dogs are homemade from D.A. Barsch German Butcher Shop in Toms River, NJ.  If you are ever in the area  it is a great place to check out - fabulous German sausages and cold cuts.  They make a mean potato bratwurst! 

I couldn't make it to the butcher so I picked up a pack of Trader Joe's all-natural no nitrate added hot dogs since they were giving out samples which were quite tasty.  I got a nice cabbage in my CSA box and wanted to make grilled coleslaw from a recipe I found on  The grilled coleslaw was fabulous and made for a fantastic hot dog topping along with some spicy Kosciusko mustard - my favorite! 

Did you know that all-natural and organic hot dogs still contain nitrates?  Manufacturers use celery juice and sea salt which are naturally high in nitrates to cure the hot dogs as opposed to chemically produced sodium nitrates.  There was an interesting article on the subject in The New York Times.  My takeaway is that all hot dogs are cured and contain nitrates.  Are natural nitrates found in celery healthier?  Is it worth extra to purchase no nitrate added products? Are nitrates really harmful?  Nitrates come from nitrogen found int the air and soil...  I'm not sure of the answer.  The quality and source of the meat used may be the most important aspect of a good hot dog.  I will continue to splurge on an occassional hot dog, emphasis on occasional, and will definitely make the grilled coleslaw again - anything in moderation! 

Kristin Donnelly - Food and Wine
One 3-pound head of green cabbage, cut through the core into 8 wedges Vegetable oil, for brushing
Salt and freshly ground pepper
4 1/2 tablespoons mayonnaise
4 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
3 pickled jalapeños, seeded and minced, plus 2 teaspoons pickling liquid from the jar

1.Light a grill. Brush the cabbage wedges with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the cabbage over high heat until charred, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a work surface. When the cabbage is cool enough to handle, finely slice it crosswise with a sharp knife.

2.In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the cider vinegar, jalapeños and pickling liquid. Add the shredded cabbage and toss well. Season the grilled coleslaw with salt and pepper and toss again.


  1. I haven't eaten a hot dog in FOREVER but if I did, it would be the good quality kind like these!

  2. You're right, hot dogs are great for an occasional splurge...I love the sound of that grilled coleslaw!

  3. I don't know the answer either, but every now and then, I have to have a hot dog!
    Love the idea of grilled coleslaw, already copied the recipe!

  4. What a neat idea, grilling the cabbage to make coleslaw. I got cabbage in my CSA Box too and made pickled cabbage - it's still fermenting.

  5. Hi,

    Vince, another fellow NJ food writer ( with a quick comment on nitrates. Nothing wrong with nitrates, as long as they are consumed in moderation (like all foods).