BBQ Potato Salad

5 Aug

I spent some time over the weekend reading about how to improve my food photography.   Apparently flashes are bad, which explains the odd lighting and reflections I’ve been struggling with.  Close ups at odd angles seem to be good, but I haven’t figured that out yet.  Generally, most of my pictures have been crap, like this.

An example of my bad food photography

What do you mean adding a cloth napkin doesn’t help?

On Sunday I decided to practice some of the tips I had learned.  I was planning to grill a couple of chickens for dinner and thought I should whip up some potato salad to go with them.  I wanted to try something a little different, so I decided to make a BBQ version.  I didn’t really have a recipe, but improvised with things I found in the fridge.

It starts with ptatoes

It starts with potatoes

I bought a monster size bag of red potatoes at Costco this week, which inspired the potato salad.  I boiled and cubed about three pounds of potatoes.  I took this picture to see if I could get decent natural light from the windows near the kitchen counter.  I think the lighting is much better than when I was using a flash, but the composition isn’t great.

Lots of onions.

Lots of onions.

We love onions, so I wanted lots in the salad.  I chopped an entire bunch and added them to the potatoes.  This picture was another attempt at using the natural light from the nearby windows.  I think the lighting is good, but the focus is terrible.  I’m struggling to get close and keep my hands steady.  Next time I’ll use the mini tripod.

Peppers - jalapeno and bell

Peppers – jalapeno and bell

I wanted to add some spice, so I diced a jalapeno pepper.  Note the pepper corer in the picture.  If you cook with a lot of jalapenos like we do, you need to invest in one of these.  A corer makes is easier to get the seeds out while minimizing the amount of juice you get on your hands – which in turn minimizes the risk of rubbing your eyes and crying for the next 30 minutes. (Not that this has ever happened to me).  I had half a red bell pepper hanging out in the fridge, so I diced it too.  This picture was my lame attempt at an interesting layout.  I wanted to feature the corer next to the peppers. The camera focused on the red peppers instead –  so my focus point is out of focus.  Maybe its time to learn how to manually focus the camera. 

My favorite store bought sauce.

My favorite store bought sauce.

Now for the dressing.  I mixed up some mayonnaise and sour cream and thinned them just a bit with some milk.  Salt and pepper to taste and a healthy shot of barbecue sauce.  I had a bottle of Rufus Teague in the fridge with not enough sauce for the grill, but too much to throw away – so I dumped it in the dressing.  By the way, Rufus is my favorite store bought sauce.  Sometimes you don’t have time, or just don’t feel like bothering with making your own sauce.  On those occasions, we use Rufus.  Its no too sweet and the “Touch of Heat” has a nice level of spice.  This is the best photo of this post.  That’s because Allen took it for a future blog post reviewing BBQ sauces.  I like the lighting and aspect.  Maybe I should just let him take that the photographs.

Everything is better with bacon or cheese...or both!

Everything is better with bacon or cheese…or both!

After stirring the dressing into the potato, onion and pepper mixture, I added the last two ingredients:  bacon and cheddar cheese.  Everything is better with bacon.  I even put a little of the bacon grease in to the dressing to add a smokey flavor.  I figured at some point I would need to photograph the mixing bowl, but I have no clue how to do that artfully.  Seems like maybe a bit closer would have been better.

BBQ Potato Salad

BBQ Potato Salad

The finished product.  It tastes great.  I even like this photo.  But I played around and took another one from a slightly different angle:

More potato salad.

More potato salad.

I think this one is ok – I’m starting to get a feel for the lighting.  But I like the first one best – its a bit closer, a bit more focused, and I think the fork is more interesting than the dish towel.

So I learned a few things, but need much more practice.  Maybe that will inspire me to create more recipes.  In the meanwhile, here is the recipe for the potato salad:

BBQ Potato Salad

4 slices of bacon

3 pounds of red potatoes

6-8 green onions, chopped

1 jalapeno, diced

1/3 red bell pepper, diced

1/2 c mayonnaise

1/2 c sour cream

1T bacon grease

splash of milk

1/4 c BBQ Sauce



1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded

  1. Fry the bacon, drain, and crumble,  Save some of the bacon grease for the dressing.
  2. Boil the red potatoes whole, and when tender, drain.  Cube into bite-sized pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the potatoes, onions, and peppers.
  4. In a smaller bowl, mix the mayonnaise, sour cream, bacon grease, milk, salt and pepper (to taste).
  5. Add the dressing to the potatoes and stir till well coated.
  6. Mix in the bacon and cheddar cheese.

Serves 8 – 10.


3 Responses to “BBQ Potato Salad”

  1. griffinsgrub August 7, 2013 at 4:31 AM #

    Sounds like a great potato salad. Would love to try it. I’ve seen that bbq sauce before, but have been hesitant to buy it. I’ll pick some up next time I see it.

    Mrs. G is a better photographer than me, but she’s often not around or no longer cares to take pictures for me. I need to work on mine as well. Natural lighting is the best, but not all of us are blessed with kitchens that have it, especially year round. I actually changed the long tube light bulbs in my kitchen to more approximate it. Helped somewhat, my pictures aren’t as yellow anymore.

    Anyway, loving your blog. Thanks for commenting on mine as it pointed me towards yours. Can’t wait to read more.

  2. cahillbilly August 7, 2013 at 9:30 AM #

    Thanks Mr. G. I’m enjoying your blog too. I’m having a hard time finding other active BBQ bloggers that aren’t competition teams. Not that there is anything wrong with competition teams, but sometimes its nice to read about average joes like us.

    Hope you enjoy Rufus. We just learned about a new extra hot version. We haven’t tried it yet, but are looking forward to it.


  1. Cattlemens Kansas City Classic Sauce | BBQ Hunters - August 14, 2013

    […] and pretty darned good.  I think this would be a good sauce if you used it in a recipe (like my BBQ Potato Salad).  It would also be a great choice for someone that is interested in customizing their bbq sauce, […]

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