Here in the South, summertime is in full-swing. Hot humid days, cool and relaxing evenings. I so love sitting on the front porch swing sippin Lemonade, or my all-time favorite, Sweet Tea. There are some things I just wouldn’t trade for the world, and one of those is fireflies for city lights, old farmhouses for condos and country barns for skyscrapers.
Of course, I completely understand if you were raised in the city how this would be reversed. And believe me I love to visit cities with bright lights, fancy stores and amazing restaurants, but after a visit I’m ready to come back home to the dirt roads, hay fields and stars in the sky. And it wouldn’t be the South in Arkansas that I love so deeply without good southern comfort food.
Here is Rural Arkansas we have a few staple foods. There isn’t any summertime meal complete with a side of coleslaw or baked beans. Whether its a weekend BBQ friends, a church potluck on Sunday afternoon or supper during the week, these two sides are always among the favorites.
I guess you can say along with our slower pace and a more laid back simple style of life, we still enjoy a little gourmet now and then. A couple weeks ago I was trying to think of an easy and fast mid-week meal but also something filling for my family. I had buns and hot dogs, and well really you can’t get any easier than that. Not only are hot dogs super fast but they are also super cheap. But in order to make it a complete meal I needed sides. Well of course I came back to cole slaw and baked beans.
As I was preparing the sides, I started thinking, why can’t I make a more elaborate meal out of what I have. If Chicago can have their own Chicago-Style Dog and San Francisco can have their own BLT Dog then shouldn’t Arkansas have their own dog? So I got to work.
First I made my cole slaw.
Grace and Gravy’s Southern Slaw
1 Package of Pre-Shredded Cabbage Mix or a Head of Cabbage (to save time)
3/4 cup of Mayo
1/4 cup of Sugar
2 tsp of Lemon Juice
2 tbsp of Vinegar
1 tsp of Salt
1 tsp of Black Pepper
1 tsp of Paprika
How to Make:
1) Rinse your cabbage mix (remember this was supposed to be a fast and easy meal) and place in large serving bowl
2) In a separate bowl add your mayo, sugar, lemon juice, salt and pepper and mix well
3) Add your wet ingredients to your cabbage mix
4) Mix together well
5) sprinkle your paprika on top of slaw
6) Serve right away or place in fridge til serving time
Just enough sweetness and just enough tart!
Now it was time for my Baked Beans.
Grace and Gravy’s Southern Baked Beans
6 Slices of Bacon
2 cans of Pinto Beans or 1/2 pd of dried Pinto Beans (Remember this was a fast, easy meal so I used cans)
1 can tomato paste
2 Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup of Brown Sugar
1/2 Diced Onion (I prefer white)
1/2 Bell Pepper Diced
3 Medium sized fresh Jalapeno Peppers
1/2 tsp Paprika
1/2 Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black Pepper
1 tsp Ground Mustard
1/2 tsp Cummin (optional)
What to Do:
1) Fry your bacon in a skillet (I prefer to use cast iron for this recipe)
2) Remove bacon but leave the bacon grease
3) Add your onion, jalapeno and bell pepper to grease and cook til soft
4) Dice your bacon up and add to pan
5) Drain your beans and add
6) Now add your brown sugar and honey and mix well
7) In a small bowl add your dry seasonings and mix lightly
8) Add your seasonings to pan and stir
9) Simmer on low to medium heat for appx 15 minutes
I really love the sweetness of the brown sugar and honey with the spicy of the peppers!
Okay! Now that I had my sides done, I was ready for my dogs.
How I make my Dogs:
I really like to have deli style hot dog buns. I really like the flavor to them better than the packaged kind. Sometimes your choice of bread will make all the difference to your dog, hamburger or sub.
Here is the thing about being Southern, we think everything should be fried! Oh yes! The greasier the better. So fry up your dogs on a griddle or a skillet.
Oh Boy, its gettin good now!
When grilled you now have two choices! I suggest trying them both to see which is your style.
You can leave your dog whole and place in bun, or you can spilt in half so that your toppings fit better! Thats my choice!
Now your ready for toppings! My husby enjoys mustard, so its whatever you enjoy, then I add a big ole scoop full of baked beans, and a big ole scoop full of slaw! What could be better than this for a Good Ole Southern Meal!
So Easy, So fillings and will serve eight! Or four if you have big ole boys!
I really hope you enjoy my Arkansas Po-Boy Dog! Would love to hear your thoughts!