Carolina Hot Dog with Homemade Chili and Pickled Coleslaw

A man smiles holding a soda while sitting at a table and a Carolina Hot Dog plated in front of him.

A Taste of Wild - Blue Ridge Mountains

Jon and Aubrey return back east to visit Jon's family in North Carolina, cooking up all of his favorite Southern-inspired meals from his time growing up in the South.

Carolina Hot Dog with Homemade Chili and Pickled Coleslaw

Ball games, tailgatin’, pontoonin’, block parties, picnics, family reunions, shindigs, hootenannies, hoodangs, hoedowns, or social functions: name a gathering, and these Carolina Hot Dogs made an appearance when I was growing up.

For me, these dogs remind me most of my adolescent summer days at the lake with my parents. My mom would make the chili and my dad would commandeer the grill. And after long hours of swimming and fishing, we would lose ourselves in hot dog heaven.

Every region has its own hot dog variation, which is part of what makes travel so much fun. Wherever you go, there’s a new take on a familiar food, just waiting to be tried. In the North, you have New York-style hot dogs, with spicy brown mustard and sauerkraut. In Chicago, they add pickles, hot peppers, sweet onions and relish. Coney-style dogs out of Detroit feature thick chili and cheese. But my favorite is the Carolina-style dog, hailing from the part of the country where I grew up.

With a Carolina-style dog, you add a savory beef chili and top it with a cool but spicy fresh coleslaw. The result is a mix of textures, temperatures and flavors that makes it difficult to eat just one. The crunchy carrots, onions and cabbage are a sneaky way of adding some vegetables into an otherwise indulgent dish––but mostly they just add the perfect amount of snap to every bite.

In North Carolina, adding chili and slaw to things isn’t just limited to hot dogs, either. They go just as great over burgers (if you don’t mind a bit of a mess), and the same coleslaw makes an appearance on Carolina-style pulled pork sandwiches . Once you try it, you’ll understand why.

You can make everything ahead and just reheat the chili if you’re cooking for a crowd. The coleslaw loses some crunch over time but deepens in flavor the longer you let the ingredients come together. And while the slaw calls for hot sauce, you could easily split the batch and add it in at the end if anyone in your party has sensitive taste buds.

Carolina Hot Dog with Homemade Chili and Pickled Coleslaw

Carolina Hot Dog with Homemade Chili and Pickled Coleslaw

Yield: 4 Servings

Prep: XXX Cooking: YYY

Chili Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil or bacon fat
  • ½ onion, finely diced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 14 oz. canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Salt

Carrot-onion Pickled Coleslaw Ingredients:

  • 1 carrot, cut into short matchsticks
  • ½ onion, cut into short matchsticks
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • ¼ green cabbage, finely chopped
  • ¼ red cabbage, finely chopped
  • ½ to 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon hot yellow mustard
  • ⅛ teaspoon Frank’s RedHot sauce
  • Salt and pepper


  • 4 hot dogs, cooked or grilled
  • 4 hot dog buns, toasted
  • Yellow mustard

Cooking Tools

  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Medium pot
  • Small pot
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small bowl
  • Medium bowl


  1. Start the chili by heating a medium pot with vegetable oil or bacon fat. Saute the onions for about 2 minutes, then add the ground beef. Cook until brown, breaking down the meat with a cooking spoon into small chunks.
  2. Add the crushed tomatoes, 2 cups chicken stock, the chili powder, paprika, cider vinegar, black pepper, garlic powder and brown sugar. Reduce, stirring occasionally until the chili reaches a thick consistency. Adjust seasoning by adding salt to taste.
  3. For the coleslaw, combine the carrot and onion. Bring the cider vinegar, salt, and 2 tablespoons of the sugar to a boil in a small pot. Once the sugar dissolves, pour the hot liquid over the carrots and onions. Add the hot sauce and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool in the fridge.
  4. Meanwhile, add the cabbage, mayonnaise and hot mustard in a medium-sized bowl and season with salt and pepper. Once the coleslaw has cooled, take 2 tablespoons of the pickling liquid from the coleslaw and add it to the cabbage mixture. Then drain the rest of the liquid from the pickles, adding the carrots and onion to the cabbage mixture. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, mix, and add more salt and pepper to your liking. Set aside in the refrigerator.
  5. To assemble, place the hot dog in a bun and top with chili, then coleslaw, and yellow mustard if desired.

Jon and Aubrey made their latest trip in a Thor Motor Coach Class B.

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