Smokra // Rick’s Picks // New York, NY
You might begrudge your grill’s olfactory power when it beckons uninvited neighbors, but not when that fragrant smoke kisses these pickles. Spanish paprika and snappy southern okra turn run-of-the-mill vinegar sours into rich flavor missles, and with none of the stringy glue. They’re hard to stack on your burger, but that’s fine — we like ’em better straight out of the jar, mixed into a marinade, or dropped into bloodies (just make sure to add some brine to the tomato juice).
Pickled Red Onions // Pernicious Pickling Co. // Costa Mesa, California
SoCal-made by a couple of transplants (one Mississippi, the other, England), Pernicious is anything but evil; the name’s ironic, the pickles are classics — veggies and vinegar, simple as that. These neon-pink slivers not only give your taco a burst of color, but a sharp spicy edge to slice through the meat. Should a platter of steaming stewed pork seem a tad indulgent, even for a midnight munchie, they’re also a repentantly tart kiss of health. Onions are a veggie, right?
Bloody Mary Elixir // Pacific Pickle Works // Santa Barbara, CA
Let us add to the list of non-salads in Errol Morris’s epic game-day beer ad, the Bloody Mary. Morris liked his mayo, we prefer our veggies spiced and boozy. And so do Pacific Pickle Works. They’re smart: They know you can easily — and cheaply — get your own tomato juice at the corner store, so their mixer gets right to the good stuff. Spicy, salty, briny, and all made from scratch, right down to the homemade Worcestershire mixed in. They’re smart so you don’t have to be. Just add booze, juice, and toppings of your choice. We prefer, well, all of them, including a healthy slab of sausage. Otherwise, no salad.
Big John’s Habanero Chips // Preservation & Co. // Sacramento, CA
If you beeline to the fixins station after picking up your seventh-inning snack, if your nachos never quite singe to satisfaction, if an extra hot sauce packet is never enough, these are the pickles for you. Made from Cali-grown cukes and served at Sacto’s Raley’s Field, the hot habaneros and extra spice make for a daring nibble on its own, or a punchy topper to sandwiches, dogs, or nachos.
Thai Basil Jalapenos // Gordy’s Pickle Jar // Washington, D.C.
Your Jalapeno experience is most likely minimal, maybe a half eaten can once occupied the back of your fridge or they were an after thought atop a taco. We were in the same boat until Gordy’s rock it. Packed fresh, these jalapenos are infused with the herbal, citrus notes of Thai basil. Listen, Thai-Mexican fusion is dicey territory but throw these on a plate of Nachos doused in some Apinya chili sauce and we promise you won’t regret it.
Marinated Tuscan Chèvre // Bell Chevre // Elkmont, AL
You know those pictures of Southern Italy — the ones where rolling hills are painted with winding roads, and free running animals dot the countryside like some photoshopped fairy tail? Well it was rural Alabama. If you turn up the right dusty road in Limestone county, you’ll arrive at the hand crafted haven of Tasia Malakasis, a native Alabamian (gracing the cover) who’s trophy case trumps even the state’s college football programs with over 50 awards from famed institutions. Recruit these marinated medallions of farmstead fromage for a simple arugula salad or smear on bread with tartufo salami and hatch chile pesto.
Brooklyn Brine Hop-Pickle // Brooklyn, NY
Dogfish Head Craft Brewery and Brooklyn Brine have collaborated on a “first-of-its-kind culinary leap of taste”, well… it’s a damn good Pickle. The all-natural, earthy Hop-Pickle is made with Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA, caramelized onions and Cascade hops and is packaged by hand in Brooklyn Brine’s small artisanal kitchen. Consider going full hipster and knock back a “pickleback” by chasing 1 ounce whiskey with an ounce of pickle juice, full sleeve tattoo and inner urge to be a barista is sure to follow.
You might like Mantry because it gets you pickled.
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