If you find yourself in a pickle, just open up and say yum.
Mhmm. Pickles. Sweet. Salty. Sour. And a little bit spicy. I don’t eat them regularly and rarely crave them except for when I'm eating at a good diner or deli (why is that?). But I love how they look, how they smell and how they snap when you bite into them. I'd always thought it would be easy to pickle cucumbers, because, it sounds simple enough - take a few small Kirby cucumbers, quarter them into spears and plunge them into a crock of salt, sugar, vinegar and some spices. How could you go wrong with that?
Well, I learned the hard way. My first few attempts were terrible. I then studied up on the whole pickling and canning process and its seemed a little more complicated. Sure, if you’re in a rush, you can quickly pour a pickling brine over a few vegetables for a snack, but it's not quite the same thing we're trying to achieve here. I didn’t have the canning equipment and my wife didn't want me to invest in the process either.
Below is my new go-to recipe for pickled cucumbers. It’s from Dinosaur Bar B Que in New York which is an excellent place to eat pickles and drink beer.
- 3 ¾ to 4 pounds pickling cucumbers
- ¼ cup chopped garlic
- 2 jalapenos peppers, finely diced
- ½ cup chopped fresh dill
- 4 cups white vinegar
- 2 cups water
- 6 tablespoons kosher salt
- ½ cup sugar
- 5 heaping tablespoons pickling spices
- 2 tablespoons mustard seeds (unless your pickling spice has tons of mustard seeds)
- 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
- Wash the cucumbers and trim the ends off of each cucumber. Apparently there is an enzyme at the end of the cucumber that can ruin your pickle parade (thanks Alton Brown).
- Slice them into ¼ inch discs and throw them into a bowl.
- Add the garlic, dill and jalapenos to the cucumbers and take a breather.
- Meanwhile, pour the remaining ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil. As soon as it boils, remove it from the heat and let it cool for about 15 minutes. Do not inhale. This vinegar smell may hurt you.
- Add all of the ingredients into the crock and close the lid. Leave it in the fridge for about a week and then begin the consumption.
Suggested pairing: Any kind of sandwich or burger. Thrill seekers should drink the brine for a serious rush.