If you saw my last post, you might’ve gotten the idea that we eat a lot of barbecue at my house. If so, you would be right. My husband has a whole room at the butcher shop for smoking meat, and I’m sure not going to pass up the chance to let someone help with dinner. My mama raised me to be smarter than that.

There are a lot of things that go well with barbecue—grilled corn, baked beans, sweet potatoes, fried okra. I’m told collard greens are good, too, but I just can’t. I mean, really. The smell alone is a turn off. And when you get past that part, they look positively menacing.

And then there’s potato salad. There are dozens of ways to make it, so you can’t beat it for versatility. My grandma used to make it with hard boiled eggs, sweet pickles and lots of raw onions. Grandma was an old school country cook, and I loved most of her cooking. The potato salad was a rare exception. It was mainly because of the pickles.

Grandma made her own bread and butter pickles. Most country women in these parts do. When it comes to canning, there’s not much that’s easier to can than pickles, so you can make a lot of product for very little work. And Grandpa loved them. He used to eat them on peanut butter sandwiches. No, I’m not making that up. I adored my grandpa, but the idea of a peanut butter and sweet pickle sandwich is a little too far off the beaten path for me. Still, I can remember him eating those sandwiches with a glass of milk at that old Formica table they kept in the dining room like it was yesterday, and Grandma’s been gone twenty years.

I prefer dill pickles. They don’t taste any better with peanut butter (just a hunch, mind you, but I’m pretty sure I’m right), but they’re just as easy to can. They’re even easier to buy. And when you put them in potato salad, something amazing happens. They turn a fairly bland vegetable into a side dish that sings. I usually add cheese and bacon bits (the real kind–not those weird prefab ones) to give it a baked potato flavor. Try this with some baked beans (I have a great recipe I’ll share soon), and you’re ready for your summer barbecue. Enjoy!

Dill Potato Salad

Dill Potato Salad

2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed

1/4 c. dill relish

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons parsley

1 cup light mayo

1/4 c. white vinegar

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

8 oz. real bacon bits

Boil potatoes until tender. Immediately drain and rinse in ice water bath to stop cooking, then drain again. Add relish, mustard, vinegar, mayo, cheese and bacon bits, then stir until blended. Garnish with parsley. Refrigerate until cool and serve.