Creamy, zesty, delicious Southern potato salad made with potatoes, hard-boiled eggs and dressed in mayo-mustard-pickle dressing. Perfect for barbecue and other meats.
The farther south you go, the less potato salads are dominated by mayo, sugar, vinegar and celery and more by mustard and pickles. South is big on barbecue, which is rich and comforting. You need the acidity and zest from pickles and mustard to cut through the richness of barbecue meat.
There is no right or wrong when it comes to making a great tasting southern potato salad. I’ve been to quite a few BBQ joints in Texas, Oklahoma, and Georgi. Each place I visited had its own unique version of potato salad. Some potato salads were dressed in mustard only, while others, more often, had a combination of mayo and mustard, my favorite. I like the richness and the smoothness that mayo brings in and I love the brightness, spiciness and zest of mustard. Without a doubt, both are essential for a good southern potato salad, but the proportions can vary based on personal taste.
To make a great potato salad, you need to keep things simple. Salt and pepper are all you need to season it. The dressing is a simple combination of mayo, mustard and chopped dill pickles. Homemade dill pickles are best and are easy to make. Oh, and my secret ingredient, chopped homemade pickled red onions. I always add them when I have them on hand. When I don’t, I add sliced green onions. I think they work in this salad very well.
Adding plenty of chopped hard-boiled eggs is essential for creating a creamy, devilled egg-like texture. I go for two eggs per pound of potatoes. Mashing some of the potatoes helps to add to creaminess too. Just like when making guacamole, you want some chunks and some mash. This greatly improves the texture and enjoyment of the salad.
This potato salad is my favorite side dish to serve with smoked beef short ribs, smoked brisket, smoked pork ribs, smoked turkey breast, roasted chicken breast, rotisserie chicken, smoked cured pork chops, and many other meats, grilled, barbecued, roasted or even cooked sous vide. You can’t go wrong with this salad.
- 2 lbs russet potatoes about 4-5 medium potatoes; peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 4 eggs
- 3/4 cup mayonnaise and up to 1 cup for more creaminess
- 1/4 cup prepared mustard dijon is recommended
- 1/2 cup chopped dill pickles
- 1/3 cup chopped pickled red onions optional but highly recommended; or thinly sliced green onions
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt plus more to taste
- 1/4 tsp black pepper plus more to taste
- Drop peeled and cubed potatoes in a pot filled with cold water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender, about 12-15 minutes.
- In a separate pot, bring water to a boil. Add the eggs, bring to a boil again, lower the temperature and simmer for 12-13 minutes. Transfer to a bowl filled with cold water and let the eggs cool down for a few minutes. Then peel and chop.
- Drain the potatoes and transfer to a medium bowl. Mash about a third of the potatoes with a fork. Add the chopped egg. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the potatoes and eggs and stir.
- Add the mayonnaise, mustard, chopped pickles and pickled red onion or green onions (if using). Mix thoroughly, taste and adjust for salt and pepper if needed, and serve. Store leftovers in a fridge.
Simple to make and an absolute winner with all.
Glad to hear it, Troy. Enjoy!
Katherine A Dietz
Can I use dill pickle juice instead of chopped dill pickles? How much juice should I add? Also, can I use yellow mustard instead of Dijon mustard? Which mustard do you think would taste best?
Hi Katherine, there is no right or wrong way in cooking as long as you like it so, yes, you can do that. The liquid will change the texture slightly, making it creamier, it’s like adding milk to mashed potatoes – totally fine to do but don’t want to over do it of course. So, start with a tablespoon mix, taste and go from there. Hard to say how much but if you go slowly you will know when to stop.
As to the mustard, yellow is fine, you can also try spicy brown mustard, I like it a lot. It really depends on your personal taste. If it tastes good to you that’s all that matters.