Friday, April 19, 2013

LBJ Potato Salad

No BBQ is complete with out side dishes and baked beans, coleslaw and potato salad seem to be the most popular sides that compliment those main entrees.  City folks take to the outdoors enjoying the comfortable warm season of spring time, nesting near the barbecue grills like cowboys around the chuckwagon. 

Barbecue is certainly a cuisine that has been influenced through many cultures.  The chuckwagon cooks rarely had the time to spend all day smoking meats over the spits, but as the cattle drive era came to an end, the chuckwagon has long yet retired working during the round ups and ranch gatherings where barbecue ranks high among the many entrees. 

As the cook slowly turns the meat over the open fires, the aroma fills the air building large appetites as the crowd long awaits for the succulent taste. The  finale glaze puts a finishing touch of perfection as the cook mops the blended sauce that soon caramelizes. 

As the Spanish explored the new world of the Americas, they discovered the native food of potatoes. Introducing this food to Europe in the 16th century, potatoes became a main dish.  One such dish, Potato salad-type recipes were then introduced back into America by the European settlers, who again adapted traditional foods to local ingredients. This accounts for regional potato salad variations throughout the United States.  

Potato salad, as we know it today, became popular in the second half of the 19th century. Cold potato salads evolved from British and French recipes. Warm potato salads followed the German preference for hot vinegar and bacon dressings served over vegetables. This dish would grow to become one of the most popular side dishes to traditional barbeque gatherings.

Many of these cultural influences would also migrate westward into the new frontier and no doubt, Texas would become as legendary and grand through it's history as those who influenced the growth and the later foods of the Lone Star State.  Cuisines not only of ethnic culture, but also the variations of cooking which many were often in the great outdoors.  Whether enjoying a meal straight from the chuck wagon or cooking from the grill in the family backyard, no barbecue is complete without those side dishes.

One famous Potato Salad recipe is by Lyndon B. Johnson. Born in a small farmhouse in Texas, he was the oldest of five children.  Devoting himself to education, he became a school teacher in South Texas then served in WWII as a Navy Lieutenant Commander receiving a Silver Star for his heroic action. He also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1980.  Often referred to as LBJ, he is one of only four people who served in all four elected federal offices of the United States: Representative, Senator, Vice President, and President.. Lyndon Baines Johnson (August 27, 1908 – January 22, 1973),  was the 36th President of the United States (1963–1969) but in his personal life, Johnson shared a  love for Texas, ranch style Barbecues and often entertained guest in a grand Texas tradition. 


10 lb. bag of potatoes
1 Tbsp. salt
1 cup celery, chopped
1 cup dill pickles, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large jar pimentos, chopped
3 Tbsp. mustard
¼ cup sugar
Hellmann's mayonnaise

Peel potatoes and cut into chunks. Place in a large pot and cover with water, add salt and bring to a boil. Cook until tender but be careful not to overcook. Immediately drain and cool potatoes. To the cooled potatoes add celery, dill pickles, onions, pimentos, mustard and sugar. Mix with enough Hellmann's mayonnaise to reach desired consistency and taste. Add additional salt, if desired. Garnish with parsley. 

Child Photo of LBJ from 1915

return to cowboy and chuckwagon cooking:

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