Upgrade My Pickles
January 15, 2015 2:31 PM   Subscribe

I like a pretty regular brand/type of pickles, Bick's Ultimate Garlic Baby Dills. The pickles are crunchy, vinegary and garlicy. I would like some suggestions for better pickles I could buy that have these three qualities.

I have nothing against these pickles, and in fact like them very much, but in this day and age when you can get imported-this and artisanal-that, there must be better versions of this pickle out there, right?

Every now and again I will buy some different jar and get disappointed. I will usually still finish the jar but it almost feels like a punishment to do so. I just bought some different pickles on Tuesday and am in the middle of my punishment.

I do not like sweet pickles or pickles that are lemony instead of vinegary. They can be spicy (and in fact my second favourite type of pickles are the hot mix ones which are pretty much vinegar and peppers as far as I can tell). They can be large pickles or small ones, but should be crunchy as I tend to eat the majority of the pickles by themselves.

I'm in Toronto, Canada so either stuff that I can buy in the store here or can order online would be preferred.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm to Food & Drink (21 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
I love garlic dills myself! My favorite brand is Ba-Tampte Garlic Dills. These are the ones that are in bowl on tables in the best delis.

Call them and see if you can get them shipped to you. Or go to New York and ship them back wrapped in bubble wrap in a small styrofoam cooler.

It's a really good pickle.

Try Jewish delis where you can try just one pickle. Someone near you is making a good pickle.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:38 PM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

Keep an eye out for Sielski's pickles. They're amazing, extra-tiny dills - reliably very crunchy and with a hint of spice (there's a pepper in the jar, but they don't actually taste "hot").

I've only ever seen them in one store here (Ottawa) so I'm not sure how popular they are, but they're much much better than Bick's or any other brand I've tried. Every jar I've bought is reliably good, unlike the other brands.
posted by randomnity at 2:45 PM on January 15, 2015

Try Tymek’s Jar Cured Dill Pickles. You can email them at info@tymekspickles.com to what stores in Toronto carry them. I think Pusateri's does.
posted by Lescha at 2:46 PM on January 15, 2015

I'm similarly picky about pickles, and I really like Woodstock brand dills and baby dills. They're tangy and garlicky and crisp and I have a very hard time not finishing the entire jar in one sitting. They have pretty wide distribution and I've seen them online in various places, so I think odds are good you might be able to find them where you are.

Rick's Picks garlic dill pickles are also great, but they definitely don't seem to have distribution outside the US.
posted by rhiannonstone at 3:50 PM on January 15, 2015

Maybe Tanners?
posted by josher71 at 3:54 PM on January 15, 2015

Can you get Claussen's? I make my own pickles, but I've never made a crunchier, tastier pickle than a Claussen's kosher dill.
posted by ottereroticist at 4:02 PM on January 15, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you want crunchy, avoid heat treated pickles (they appear more yellow whereas fresh pickles are the color of cucumber).
posted by gray17 at 4:33 PM on January 15, 2015

Bubbie's, those are the only pickles I've eaten for years. They make sauerkraut too. Absolutely delicious. I ate claussens before and they're not as good. sadly they're based out of California, but theres an option on their website to have them request your local store to carry them
posted by lunastellasol at 5:50 PM on January 15, 2015 [2 favorites]

Speaking of artisanal, I recently got some Brooklyn Brine Damn Spicy pickles for my girlfriend, who lives both pickles and hot peppers. She said they were crunchy and delicious. I didn't try them myself because she warned me they'd be too warm for my palate. They have other non-spicy kinds, too. They are in New York, but ship to Canada. Here's the product page.
posted by zorseshoes at 6:15 PM on January 15, 2015

I don't have any brand recommendations, but if you want crunchy, look for cold-pack pickles in the refrigerated case, not on the store shelves; and look in the ingredients for calcium chloride.
posted by WasabiFlux at 6:19 PM on January 15, 2015

McClures pickles are amazing.
posted by k8t at 6:22 PM on January 15, 2015

Can you get Mrs. Whyte's in Ontario?
posted by zadcat at 7:28 PM on January 15, 2015

Our household is obsessed with Strub's Pickles (which I just learned are Canadian). We were at a very old fashioned steak house and they served the most amazing pickles. So good my normally reticent husband asked the server what brand they were. And thus began our Strub's odyssey....haven't looked back since. They make many varieties, but you might like the kosher dills (we tend to get the full sours). They might not be quite as crisp as you like, but for flavour they're worth a shot. They are refrigerated, so look for them where the hot dogs are kept.
posted by Mrs. Rattery at 5:51 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm a big fan of Rick's Picks (artisanal, low-sodium, all natural).

It's hard to tell if they ship to Canada but worth calling to ask. I'm especially fond of the garlic dill, but YMMV.
posted by whoiam at 6:46 AM on January 16, 2015

I'm gonna make three suggestions that you may not like, and sorry in advance:

1. Only try new pickles from the refrigerated section. They'll be fresh and not heat treated as mentioned above.
2. Make them yourself. It's really easy. Like as easy as reusing the same pickle liquid and adding cucumbers. Dress it up, play with it, add your own kicks.
3. Try pickled okra. No really. Also easy to make, look up "smokra" for recipes. Generally spicier because it lends itself to absorbtion better, very crunchy in a different way (lots of smaller crunches from seeds, less from shell), and very intensely good for you. Okra fiber can't be matched or beaten.

The Tabasco brand pickled okra is great but expensive. As I think about I haven't ever had BAD pickled okra, the jar I have now is a 32oz from the store that I added a few scotch bonnets to. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.
posted by TomMelee at 9:19 AM on January 16, 2015

Nthing STRUB'S! They're from the Toronto area, make great pickles, and are also good people.

Huh, well, ok, I just googled and found they were taken over by Quebec company in the last couple of years. But hopefully the pickles are still just as good, and just as available in TO, because they were definitely better than any others we could find.
posted by ldthomps at 10:13 AM on January 16, 2015 [1 favorite]

2nding Bubbie's. Lots of garlic and dill. They're less vinegary than some, but are almost exactly like the kosher dills my granny used to make.
posted by that's candlepin at 10:31 AM on January 16, 2015

The new house-made pickles at Chili's restaurants are my new favorite.
posted by Doubleosix at 7:05 AM on January 17, 2015

I was randomly in a Whole Foods over the weekend and they had Bubbies in stock so I bought a jar. Haven't opened it yet as I am still finishing off the existing jar but it won't be long.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:07 AM on January 19, 2015

Also, the about us page on the Bubbie's website is quite informative. Highlights:
Bubbie's was started by some person as a side-business.
The pickles were great but the business wasn't doing well.
Some ex-bankers (the current owners) bought the business after trying the pickles.
They realized that the Bubbie's brand was more important than the pickle.
They made a great marketing plan and success followed.
The bubbie on the label has no relation to the pickles and is just someone they thought bubbie should look like.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 11:16 AM on January 19, 2015

My wife likes the Bubbie's more than the Bick's pickles. I find them too pickley myself. They are fine as a side to a sandwich but by by themselves they are too much.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 6:56 PM on January 26, 2015

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