Appetizers, Recipes

Potato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce

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You know how everyone has a few dishes in their repertoire that they have made the same way for as long as they can remember? Those dishes that you learned once, thought they tasted pretty good, and so you never wavered from the familiar way you were taught?

For me one of those dishes in potato salad. That old summertime picnic and barbecue standby. Since high school or college, I’ve made it in the exact same manner, tossing boiled potatoes with a mayo and dill dressing, maybe accented with a bit of lemon juice. Classic, comfortable, but not terribly mind-blowing, like that black sheath dress you wear to the office.

Well, I think I’ve found the smoking hot, slinky red dress equivalent of the potato salad. And it involves thickly cut bacon and tangy barbecue sauce.

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Last weekend I brought this potato salad to a potluck barbecue in Williamsburg organized by my friend Karol for the Paisley Farm CSA. I was going to go with a more conventional potato salad until I found the recipe for this very tempting one in Food & Wine’s archives. I made a few changes, the biggest being drastically reducing the amount of mayo and increasing the amount of barbecue sauce, which highlighted the smokiness of the bacon. Fresh parsley and tarragon also went into the mix.

The potato salad ended up receiving a lot of compliments from all the meat-eaters at the barbecue, so this could very well be on the menu for the next outdoor cooking or picnic. ::Hint hint:: for anyone who wants to plan one before summer ends…

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Potato Salad with Bacon and Barbecue Sauce

Serves 10 to 12 as an appetizer

  • 4 pounds small red or yukon potatoes
  • 1/2 cup lean bacon, preferably applewood-smoked
  • 1/2 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1/3 cup mayonaise
  • 2 tablespoons mustard
  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped tarragon
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  1. In a large pot, cover the potatoes with salted water. Bring to a boil over medium high heat and cook until fork tender, about 30 to 35 minutes. Drain the potatoes, rinse under cold running water, and cut into quarters. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium-high heat until crispy, about 5 or 6 minutes. (You don’t need any additional oil, as the bacon will provide enough oil for itself for cooking.) Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Finely dice the bacon once it is cool enough to handle.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, mayonaise, mustard, and vinegar. Pour the mixture over the potatoes and carefully fold until well-mixed. Let stand for 10 to 20 minutes so the potatoes absorb the dressing.
  4. Carefully mix in the shallots, bacon, parsley, and tarragon. Add the salt and pepper to taste. Mix everything once more and serve.

Adapted from Food & Wine