Growing up in Durham, NC we lived for summer days! We knew that it was grilling season which meant my mom would prepare the world’s best potato salad. The recipe is her very own. No cookout, bbq, and gathering is complete without your side dishes and the granddaddy of them all is potato salad. Let me caution you… This is not your grocery store potato salad or pickle free potato salad. No…this is the kind where people will yell out in the middle of eating, “Who made this potato salad”! It’s the kind where there will only be a quarter left in the corner of your Tupperware dish. It is that good but better than that…it’s super easy to make!
I wish I could take the credit for this awesome recipe but the honor belongs to our mom. Our mother, Regina Dudley-Ford is the eldest child of Amanda and James Dudley. Born and raised in Sumter, SC she has always been opinionated, wise, and super strong. She had to be strong. She grew up during the Brown vs. Board of Education era and was part of a class that de-segregated her high school.
Once she graduated from high she headed to North Carolina to attend North Carolina Central University. While she was there she met our dad and she graduated with honors with her nursing degree. When she arrived in North Carolina she noticed people cooking outdoors. She didn’t experience this in her hometown of Sumter, SC and so she thought these people didn’t have kitchens.
She soon learned about the grill and how hot dogs, hamburgers, and ribs are better when prepared over an open flame. Over the years she has become a grill master in her own right, however, she knew that all great main dishes need a complimentary side……introducing the potato salad.
Potato salad 101
For our potato salad, we use white Russet potatoes.
When you get home make sure that you thoroughly wash the potatoes. Once they are clean you will place them in a large pot and cover them with water. I like to salt the water to decrease the time to boil and because I put salt in everything.
You want to make sure that the potatoes are fork-tender but not falling apart. It will take about 45-55 minutes for the potatoes to cook. A trick that my mom taught me was to boil the eggs in the same pot with the potatoes during the last 20 minutes of cooking. This will cut down on your overall prep time and instead of two pots to clean you only have one!
Once the potatoes are ready you will drain them along with the eggs and allow them to completely cool in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours. The purpose of the cooling is that once if you add your mayonnaise to the warm potatoes it will be absorbed and change the texture and taste of your potato salad. If the mayo is absorbed you can risk adding too much because it has absorbed into the potatoes. The purpose of the mayo is to be the binding agent and provide flavor.
Now…my mom always allows the potatoes to cool before she peels them but because I’m a rebel I peel them once they are drained. Please be warned! The potatoes and eggs are very hot and you will most likely burn your fingers BUT it is so much easier to peel them while they still have some heat.
Potato salad trimmings
Now that your potatoes and eggs are cool it is time to build your salad. The first step is to chop up your potatoes and eggs. We like our potato salad with some texture so we do a rough chop. When you begin to stir in the remaining ingredients the potatoes will continue to breakdown. Please keep this in mind because you want potato salad, not mashed potatoes.
I like to layer my potato salad ingredients because that is what makes it special. We start with the mayonnaise first. I say mayonnaise but it’s Miracle Whip salad dressing. The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons but it is based upon your taste. The key is to find the sweet spot between not enough and too much mayonnaise.
Now we are ready to layer our potato salad with the sweet relish. All great potato salads have a salty and sweet component so do not skimp out on the sweet relish. My husband LOVES sweet relish so I make sure to put in plenty. Once you stir in the relish the next flavor layer is mustard. The mustard adds a bit of spicy kick to the potato salad.
The last step is to add salt and pepper to taste. My last step before putting the potato salad on the table is to sprinkle with paprika for a bit of color.
We hope that you enjoy it!
The World's Best Potato Salad
- 5 Medium size potatoes
- 3-4 tbsp Miracle Whip salad dressing
- 3-4 tsp Sweet relish or pickled cubes
- 1 tsp Mustard
- 3-4 Boiled eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: Paprika for color
- Boil potatoes until fork tender but not falling apart
- Boil eggs for 15 minutes
- Place potatoes in the refrigerator for 3 hours or until chilled
- Peel potatoes and cut into small cubes
- Slice eggs and mix into potatoes
- Mix the potato and egg mixture with Miracle whip, once combined add sweet relish and mustard
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Sprinkle with paprika