Barbecued chicken in this part of the country is grilled/smoked until browned, succulent, and juicy tender. The Muncy Valley Volunteer Fire Company has “Chicken Barbecue Dinner” fundraisers 3 times during the summer, an all-you-can-eat dinner. Well, you only get half a chicken, but to go with it, it’s a sit down at a long table with strangers, served family style, all you can eat meal: homemade potato salad, pickled cabbage (more commonly known as a cole slaw variation), baked beans, homemade bread, butter, pickles, and then for dessert, chocolate or vanilla ice cream, and a platter of cake – a variety of pieces of cake and cupcakes. Yes, all homemade, so the breads are a little different, the potato salad varies a little, and the pickles – usually crinkle cut dills – are amazing.
They also have take-out, and you can get a dinner plate to go (includes one serving of everything mentioned above but the pickles), or just a chicken half, or a quart of ice cream, or pickled cabbage or baked beans or potato salad. So this time, I got a couple of chicken halves, thinking of wonderful chicken leftovers for the next few days: chicken salad, chicken sandwiches, reheated chicken with rice and vegetables.
My southern friends may not know you can make cole slaw without mayonnaise as the dressing. I think this is a particularly PA- style dish, although I have never researched it, but I associate it with PA Dutch cooking. I’ve heard the mayo style called creamed cabbage, too, although when I think of a creamed vegetable, I think of a cooked vegetable with a white sauce. I do have some good creamed cabbage recipes, but somehow they are more wintery dishes. Here’s a version of pickled cabbage:
- 2-1/2 cups shredded cabbage (finely shredded is better)
- 1/2 medium green pepper, diced to 1/4″ or less
- 1 celery rib, diced
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or overnight, before serving.