Can’t Beat the Heat? Try Firecracker Slaw and Corn with Chipotle Butter

Now THIS is a southern plate of food that makes me grin like a Cheshire Cat!

It’s said that you can beat the heat by eating spicy foods on a hot day. And as we all know, folks in many parts of the world employ this method in their cooking to induce sweat, which cools the body. So seein’ as how we’ve averaged at least 100 dry degrees around here for days on end, I’ll try anything, and fighting heat with heat works for me!

Of course I just happen to really enjoy spicy foods, which is a plus. As a child and for a long time after that, I couldn’t tolerate spicy, but once I developed a tolerance there was no stopping me! Since we celebrated Independence Day here this week with fireworks and cookouts, it seemed the perfect time to invent something new to enjoy the festivities in style, and that something was my Firecracker Slaw.

Now I should start right off by saying that I’m not a big fan of traditional slaws…they are always too mayonnaise-y or vinegary for me, for the most part, and the ones I’ve liked the best featured some twist on those takes like adding apple or fennelβ€”or they were hot slaws made to go on top of barbecue. I’ve wanted to try my hand at making slaw with chipotles in it for a while now, and conveniently last week, our CSA box had a beautiful head of cabbage in it. I already had some carrots, green pepper and onions…and the chipotles, of course, so I started slicing and experimenting.

To be honest, this is probably only the 3rd time I’ve ever made a slaw, so I wasn’t really sure if I’d end up wasting a lot of nice ingredients. But in actuality, the opposite was true. This is killer slaw.

We loved it. It was even better the next day, and we took it to a cookout on the Fourth, and everyone loved it! However, I’m not sure kids would love it, but depends on the kid and how spicy they like their food. We had our slaw the first night with some corn on the cob slathered in my chipotle butter, and some mighty fine ribs from our local favorite ‘cue place Community BBQβ€”and if you haven’t tried their pulled pork, you haven’t lived! The best.

On the Fourth, we used it to top grilled bratwurst…OMG. This slaw makes a bratwurst transcend the bounds of mere sausage and enter the stratosphere. I mean, even if you don’t like slaw or brats, you’ll love these two together…and I speak from firsthand experience of not being so fond of either for a very long time. You gotta try this slaw…you’ll like it, I promise! Must. Make. More.

Here’s my recipe so you can try out making some fireworks for yourself this weekend. And do have a happy one, will ya?

You’ll find my Firecracker Slaw at the intersection of corn and ribs!

Firecracker Slaw
8-10 servings

1 medium sized head of green cabbage, washed, cored and thinly sliced crosswise to achieve long shreds
1/2 green bell pepper, very thinly sliced
3 large carrots, peeled, trimmed and grated
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, white and green parts
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1/4 cup mayonnaise (I use light canola mayo)
3/4 cup sour cream (I use light sour cream, but not non-fat)
juice of 1 lime
2 Tablespoons of orange juice (bottled from concentrate is fine)
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
2 teaspoons of the adobo sauce
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

In a very large mixing bowl, combine the cabbage, green pepper, carrots, scallions and cilantro until well mixed. In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, orange juice, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce until smooth and well blended. Pour the dressing over the vegetables, and stir to coat evenly. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Store in the fridge, and allow the flavors to blend for at least an hour before serving.

Chipotle Butter for Boiled or Grilled Corn on the Cob
Makes 1/2 cup of butter

1 stick (8 tablespoons) of unsalted butter, softened
juice of 1/2 lime
1 chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Cotija cheese, or feta, to sprinkle over the top (optional, but fantastic)

In a small bowl combine all the ingredients, stirring with a spoon and mashing the chipotle into the butter until well combined. Slather the butter over the hot corn, top with a good sprinkle of the Cotija cheese, and add some black pepper to the corn if you like….I usually like! Leftover butter will keep for some time in the fridge.



53 thoughts on “Can’t Beat the Heat? Try Firecracker Slaw and Corn with Chipotle Butter

  1. If you can’t beat em join em no? πŸ˜€
    Firecracker slaw looks so delicious and corn – ultimate savoury weakness whether it be popped, caramelised or grilled like yours πŸ™‚



  2. I’m down with the chipotle butter, Betsy, and I might make a version of the slaw, but I will not eat mayonnaise in anything so I’d probably get out the yogurt. I think I would like the presence of orange juice in the dressing. We just had killer pork spareribs this week, thanks to a good sale. I made barbecued pinto beans to go with them, using my leftover dry spice rub. Should have made corn bread to go with all that though.


    • I know what you mean about the mayo, Sharyn. I’ve only just begun to tolerate it, but I think this needed some of it to bind the citrus somehow…the oil that’s in it perhaps. There’s very little…and believe you me, you cannot taste it! The ribs we had were beef, but better than I could possible make…however I do ove a good pork rib, so I hope you maybe…please…will post your rub/method? ~B


  3. That is very hot. We didn’t have temps like that during our last summer – it was miserable. Feel free to send some of that heat our way. I’m at home with the flu huddled over my heater. That meal would bring a lot of comfort. It looks fabulous. Just love the look of that slaw. What great recipes Betsy. And I agree, spicy is the way to go during hot weather xx


  4. As good as both recipes sound, Betsy, I think I’ll wait for a break in the weather before I try them. I don’t really subscribe to the “add heat to the fire” way of life. It doesn’t have to be frigid outside, mind you. Give me an 85˚ day and I’ll be looking for cabbage. Right now, though, all I’m looking for is more ice for my drink. And I do love my brats with slaw, so, it’s only a matter of degrees before I try yours. πŸ™‚


    • You know, John, I actually felt the same way until the other day. Of course I have to admit the party we went to was a pool party…and there were cold drinks….so maybe it was a combo. But seriously, I’m such a huge fan of chipotles that I can eat them any time, and this slaw, when cold, it one of those amazingly great cold/heat things that just works (for me), especially with the cooling factor of the sour cream and lime to temper it…plus I’m not a huge fan of cooked cabbage so I view it like lettuce in a way. However I respect your icy drink approach, am with you on that, and I raise you…well, some sorbet, perhaps! πŸ™‚


  5. My boys love spicy food so this would be a huge hit in our house. Ohh how I miss really good sweet corn! I can just tell by your photographs that is is sweet tender and juicy and I love the idea of the crumbled mexican cheese of top. Here in HK the corn is downright nasty so I will have to get my fill on my return home this summer.


    • This corn was especially good. It was organically and locally grown, supplied via our CSA which happens to be Alton Brown’s CSA…they represent about 20 local farms including themselves, so we get lots of variety. It was the first of the corn…white and sweet. Wish I could send you some, BAM, but in the meantime, I hope you try the slaw and let me know if you like it as much as we do! Have a great weekend!


  6. I love spicy foods too, Betsy. If I hadn’t just made a batch of slaw, this would be on the menu tomorrow night. I’ll bookmark it for another day. Perfect since it’s been so hot and humid in Toronto too!


    • Thanks, Greg. We are supposed to be below 100 tomorrow as well, and I’m making another batch of slaw tonight. As a master of making ribs, I’m sure your ribs are outstanding, Greg…they sure look it. This place is a block from us, so we cheated!


  7. Oh, yum!! Fresh cilantro, lime, orange juice.. chipotle?! I love anything spicy and can’t stand the old-fashioned creamy cole-slaws.. You’ve hit on an excellent combination here, my friend!! I hope your weather cools down soon.. do you have air conditioning?? Or just chipotle corn for cooling??


    • Hi Barb, I’m glad you like this idea for slaw, and like you, I’m not a fan of the old-fashioned kind. Yes we do have air conditioning…it’s kind of mandatory in the South, because it always gets hot here! However, this year is hotter, earlier, and more sustained than usual. I would expire without air con at this point in my life, and I truly don’t know how Cecilia does what she does, or even sleeps, without it. But for me, at least, a little chipotle helps me get by, too! πŸ˜‰


    • Hi Tanya, thanks and welcome back from your trip! That was our first local corn this season and it was mighty delicious…especially with the chipotle butter. I’m happy to be in corn season once again!


  8. My husband would love this Betsy. I’d have to make a version with and without the fireworks to keep everyone happy though. I could see some baked beans with this meal too (I’ve been meaning to make some with Jack Daniels after spotting a recipe by that title recently….) Here’s to keeping cool this summer (keep the refreshments flowing…..)


    • Hi Barb, I can totally understand the need to tone down the fireworks for some of your family. A little chipotle can go a long way. Those Jack Daniel beans sound really great. Hope you’ll share that when you make it. Yes, cool refreshments are very much in order this summer! The heat has been ridiculous.


  9. Hi Betsy, I have to admit I’m not familiar with the theory of eating spicy stuff to cool down. I have to admit that I had a curry this evening and it wasn’t TOO spicy… a little though, so I was sweating afterwards a little bit… in the evening warmth it ended up making me feel even more hot and worse, but to be fair, the curry wasn’t that hot (not hot enough, right?!) and it’s not very hot here at the moment. Next time it’s hot I’ll eat some raw chillies and report back πŸ˜€


    • Hi Charles, well maybe fighting heat with the heat of spice doesn’t work for everyone, I don’t know, but I do know I couldn’t just eat raw hot chilies without repercussions far worse than sweating…but that’s just me! πŸ˜‰ I highly recommend chipotles if you can find them canned in adobo, or smoke the jalapenos yourself and here’s more info on that if you’re interested They are smoky, spicy and delicious anytime…hot or cold weather!


      • Thanks Betsy – sadly I’ve never seen chipotle peppers in France, or in Europe in general I think alas… Maybe I can get some shipped over via or something πŸ˜€


        • I’m sure you can find them to purchase on the internet, but seems like a lot of trouble…I’m sorry! 😦 We have them in every supermarket’s international section with the Mexican and Spanish foods.


    • I understand, Norma. You can use less chipotle in this recipe, but not sure about no chipotle…and for some folks any heat is too much, I get it! That corn was awesome. I hope the corn that comes in this week’s CSA is that good!


    • Hi Sawsan, thanks for your comment and believe me, I know what it means to not be able to tolerate the heat. I find the chipotles to be more agreeable than raw hot peppers or a non-smoked jalapeno, but that’s just me. I do think you could use just a little chipotle in this for flavor and reduce the heat, and it would still be good. πŸ™‚


  10. Pingback: Longer Days, Lighter Meals and a Little Anniversary! | bits and breadcrumbs

  11. Pingback: Happy 4th of July! Happy Weekend! | bits and breadcrumbs

Tell me what you think... I love comments! :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s