There are a couple of things that you need to prepare before you start this recipe - a dry rub and barbecue sauce. The dry rub is pretty basic, but there are a couple of ingredients that make it stand out - celery salt and smoked paprika. Using a combo of smoked paprika and paprika adds such a depth to the sweet and rich rub that makes the smoked worth seeking out as it can be a little hard to find. If, however, you cannot find this version of paprika, you may want to replace some of it with cumin so you don't miss out on the smoky edge. The barbeque sauce is thick, tomato-y and pretty sweet for a sauce by itself, but the vinegar and savory spices help to keep it balanced. Both recipes will make more than you will end up using - you could halve the two recipes, but I wanted the extra to keep around and see what else we could use them with.
Now that those two are done, the potato salad can begin. You might be wondering where the rub comes in with the potatoes - rather than using plain water, the cooking water is seasoned with the rub so it can slowly penetrate the potatoes as they cook just like how you would season a crab boil. You want to simmer the potatoes just until they are tender enough to be easily pierced with a knife, but still retain some integrity - if they cook too much, they will just turn to mush when you toss them with the snazzy dressing. Adding some crunchy texture against the soft potatoes are crisp celery and finely chopped onion. I don't know if this type of salad is a standard in Kansas City, but I don't think I would have ever thought to mingle barbeque sauce and potato salad together.
We just had to make this dish as it sounded way too interesting to pass up. With its twangy flavor, this potato salad quickly shot up to the top of our favorite summer recipes so far - just different enough to bring excitement to our taste buds while still having a familiar comfort feeling to it. Another plus for this salad is that it needs resting time once it is completed - it tasted best at room temperature, so being able to make this ahead of time is a pleasant bonus. I'm sure this will be making more than a few appearances at picnics and parties in the future!
KC-Style Potato Salad