Char Your Pickles For A Whole New World Of Smoky Flavor

Jars of pickled cucumbers
Jars of pickled cucumbers - Roman Budnyi/Getty Images

Firing up the grill and popping open a jar of homemade or store-bought pickles are two coveted rites of summer. Why not combine them for maximum seasonal bliss? It's true — you can add a smoky, complex flavor to crunchy-tangy pickled cucumbers by tossing them on the grill (or on a sizzle platter under the broiler.) It only takes about three to five minutes for an open flame to char the edges of the spears, leaving you with a crunchy-tender snack, a killer burger or hot dog accoutrement, or — when chopped up — an unexpected salad ingredient.

For the best and least sputtery results, dry your spears thoroughly with a paper towel and brush them with a tiny bit of neutral oil before grilling. This will make for even grill marks, and prevent the pickles from sticking to the grates. The nearly nonexistent prep work makes grilled pickles the perfect spur (spear?) of the moment decision in those final minutes of a grill session.

Read more: 11 Tips For Keeping Your Grill Shiny And Clean

The Best Pickled Cucumbers For Grilling

Persian cucumbers on cloth
Persian cucumbers on cloth - Brent Hofacker/Shutterstock

All pickled cucumbers are created equal in our hearts, but not on our grills. Just like non-pickled grilled cucumbers — which are excellent, by the way — variety matters. Persian and English pickled cucumbers are both good choices, as they contain fewer seeds than your common garden cucumber, and are generally smaller and firmer. While garden cucumbers make for decent pickles, their super-watery insides will likely make for a soggy grilled pickle.

If you're pickling at home, keep an eye out for Persian and English cucumbers on the thicker side. Thinner cucumbers are bound to shrivel over the high heat of a grill. Using store-bought pickles? Leave those long skinny spears for a midnight snack, and use the firmer ones for grilling. The crunchier the pickle, the better it will retain its bite on the grill.

As for which flavor of pickle to choose, that's entirely up to you. A classic dill pickle and a spicy Southern pickle will both fare beautifully, depending on how you intend to serve them once they're grilled.

How To Serve Grilled Pickles

Summer grilling in backyard
Summer grilling in backyard - New Africa/Shutterstock

Consider the salty, savory transcendence of the ranch-fried pickle, which involves adding ranch seasoning to the fried pickle batter to amplify the gluttony of the snack. When translated to a grilled pickle, this delightful combination is even easier to master. Instead of making a dredge, as you would for a fried pickle, try dipping your (cooled) grilled pickles in ranch dressing. For the ultimate indulgence, roll those ranch-covered grilled spears in crushed-up potato chips.

If the thought of such a dish has you reaching for your Tums, you have plenty of other options. Chop them up and add them to braised beans, cold summer salads (including the macaroni and chicken variety), or tuna fish. They also add a wonderful bright smokiness to hot dogs and burgers, whether nestled inside the bun or served on the side. Better yet, use them in place of regular pickles in your next batch of sweet relish.

Read the original article on The Daily Meal