Author and educator Michael W. Twitty remembers a particular Juneteenth celebration—and this classic potato salad recipe—well. Ben Bynum, co-owner of South Jazz Kitchen in Philadelphia, made it for a backyard barbecue. Bynum’s easy recipe gives the old-fashioned side dish a sweet-meets-zingy profile courtesy of red onion, bell peppers, and a salad dressing reminiscent of the filling for deviled eggs.
The type of potatoes you use—and how you cook them—is key. Yukon Golds are…well, the gold standard, but other waxy potatoes like fingerlings or red potatoes would work in a pinch. Steer clear of starchy russet potatoes, which would turn to mush. And don’t peel or dice them right away. Cut potatoes are great for roasting or frying, but when you boil potatoes, it’s better to leave them whole so they don’t soak in too much moisture. They’re ready when they’re fork-tender—much longer and you’re approaching mashed potato territory.
If you have trouble finding sweet pickle relish, you can make your own by finely chopping a few bread-and-butter pickles and stirring in some of their juice—or you could make totally DIY pickle relish from scratch.
This homemade potato salad is excellent served at room temperature with just a sprinkle of smoky barbecue seasoning or paprika to garnish. If you feel strongly about adding a touch of green, go with thinly sliced green onions or chives.