Pitmaster Megan Day making her dad's cola coleslaw on Food Network's BBQ Brawl

I made coleslaw on the first episode of Food Network's BBQ Brawl Season 2. I did it because it was a solid choice for the challenge theme. It’s a recipe my Dad gave me over a decade ago. Over the years I’ve had fun making it and serving it on special occasions-never really disclosing the secrets. There were always rumblings around our small town that my Dad, Craig, put jalapeños AND cola in the slaw! Gasp! Only a few of us knew the truth. (Spoiler) Yes, yes he did.

I debated showing the cola bottle on camera, but a sense of calm came over me. Not only was I going to show the bottle, and confirm the rumors (see photo), I was going to call the dish “colaslaw”. It just felt right.

I didn’t think much about it until my Dad's funeral, a few months later. Friends talked about this slaw during his funeral eulogy and people even approached me graveside to ask if he really did use cola in the slaw. It meant the world to me that the judges enjoyed the slaw... and if you’ve ever had Dad’s slaw you know the juice in the bottom of the bowl is something grown men fight over.

Craig’s Colaslaw was a hit and it sure makes my heart happy. In the episode, you will see a few crispy strips placed on top of the slaw. My fellow Pitmaster teammate, Maxcel, fried up some tortilla strips and seasoned them with our Smokey KC rub to help add a little garnish to the dish. It was a fun addition and added a great texture and crunch to the presentation.  

I hope your family will enjoy this fun twist on a creamy slaw... Oh, and feel free to keep the secret. 


  • 1 large head of cabbage, cored & shredded 
  • 5 medium carrots, shredded
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 small white onion, rough chopped
  • 1 jalapeno rough chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, rough chopped
  • 1/2 can Coke
  • 2 cups Miracle Whip
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Shred cabbage and carrots (see tip 8 for an optional step)
  2. Line a small bowl with paper towels and place diced tomatoes and green peppers on towels to absorb the excess juices. Set aside


  1. Toss together shredded cabbage, carrots, and sugar in a large metal bowl 
  2. Blend together onion, jalapeno, and garlic and pour over cabbage
  3. Add diced tomatoes and green peppers to cabbage mixture and gently combine everything
  4. Whisk together Miracle Whip and Coke 
  5. Add whipped cola dressing to cabbage mixture and then salt and pepper to taste
  6. Toss together, cover, and let rest in fridge for at least a few hours. Overnight is even better!


  1. I add a splash of the coke when I'm blending the onion, jalapeno and garlic 
  2. I sometimes change out the towel under the diced tomatoes/green peppers to make sure they are as dry as possible. 
  3. If you don't have a blender, it's okay to finely mince the onion, jalapeno and garlic. 
  4. I do taste my onion. If it is too strong, I will back down the amount of onion I use. Same goes for the jalapeno. 
  5. My Dad says don't use a plastic bowl and try pouring some coke into the Miracle Whip jar and shake it to get all the dressing out.
  6. If all you have is Mayonnaise, you can add a teaspoon of vinegar powder or a splash of white vinegar to give the dressing a tangy finish. 
  7. Cabbage size is hard to judge. I try to get the biggest head of cabbage or 2 smaller ones. 
  8. If you want to reduce the amount of juice in the bottom of the bowl you can sweat the cabbage. This process calls for tossing the shredded cabbage in a Tablespoon of salt and letting it rest in a colander for an hour or two. Rinse, pat dry and then move forward with dressing the slaw.