Pepper Hop Pickle Recipe

Ever since I saw this Washington Post article on Dogfish Head and Brooklyn Brine’s collaboration on hop pickles that retail for $8.99 (or McClure’s Pickles for $13!) and subsequently being disappointed by the lack of taste, I wanted to make them myself. Additionally, I wanted a pickle that is alive and changing; they simply taste fresher when quick pickled and refrigerated. Well I did so for the first time about 7 months ago and can tell you that they are now in their prime.  If you want to get right into the recipe, scroll down.

As another online pickler stated; “Translation: Stalk your fridge like the dickens for the next 24 hours”

As time has gone by and jars have emptied of their pickles, I’ve taken the peppers and moved them into one of the remaining cans. This has yielded what I believe to now be the recipe I’m happiest with. These things are chock full of flavor from the amount of peppers and hops soaking in the brine. With that being said, I’ve removed spices as they’ve emptied as they started too salty.

First Batch final jar
First Batch final jar
First Batch final jar
First Batch final jar

I made the brine according to an online recipe that called for half apple cider vinegar and less than half water. I then went my own way with adding spices and also hops to the boil. I didn’t do that much hopping at this point  and wish I used more in the boil (more included in recipe below). This time I came to a happy medium for the hop boil based on combining the pickling recipe and typical beer approaches, focusing on flavor and aroma over bittering. The thing I love about this process is that it’s great to experiment and they are still very much edible. I think age also helped the process and since they are refrigerated, they stay really crispy without any crisping additives. The first batch was using local cucumbers and Cascade and Chinook hops I grew in my yard. I’ll be planting a vegetable garden this year (more on that soon) and hope to use my own cucumbers and peppers for a batch or two this year.

RECIPE: Pepper Hop Pickles

Total Time: ~90 minutes

Yield: 6- 1 Qt mason jars (by far the cheapest I found are MainStays at Wal Mart; in store only)

Ingredients: 

1 gallon – apple cider vinegar

<~1 gallon – water

1/4 cup – sugar

1/2 – red onion

1  – clove garlic

9 oz. –  Cascade Hops (plus any you want to “dry hop” into the jar)

9 oz. – Chinook Hops (plus any you want to “dry hop” into the jar)

6 – jalapenos

10 – dried whole chili peppers

25 – mini (english or other) cucumbers

2/3 oz. – dill

salt

McCormick Sriracha seasoning

Instructions:

Brine Mixture

Keep in mind, there’s no strict formula for pickle juice. Use enough water and vinegar (around equal parts, but feel free to go more or less) to cover the cucumbers.

  1. Combine vinegar and water into 5 gallon pot and bring to boil.
  2. When the boil begins, add 8 oz. of each hop type and stir to wet the hops thoroughly into the boil.
  3. After 15 minutes of a standing boil, add the final oz. of each of the hop types.
  4. After 5 minutes, turn the heat off. Filter the whole hops out by placing a colander on another pot and pouring the bring mixture through it (be careful – still HOT!). Dispose of used hops.

    The hop brine boil right after adding
    The hop brine boil right after adding the hops.
My filter and jar filling setup. I highly recommend getting one of the plastic filler funnels (as seen on the left). It makes the process much easier, cleaner and quicker.
My filter and jar filling setup. I highly recommend getting one of the plastic filler funnels (as seen on the left). It makes the process much easier, cleaner and quicker.

The goods

  1. Cut the cucumbers down the center into spears. Feel free to make them dials instead but I find the spears more to my liking.
  2. Process the garlic into individual cloves. Cut up the onion into pieces.
  3. Put the cucumbers into the jars (7-8 typically fit in one of these quart jars).
  4. Put the rest of the fresh ingredients into the jars. I used 1-2 sprigs of dill, one sweet pepper, two dried chili peppers, a few slices of onion and any dry hops you want to add.
  5. Add two dashes of salt and a few shakes of Sriracha seasoning for some kick.
The glorious pickle ingredients
The glorious pickle ingredients
Chopping up the garlic
Chopping up the garlic
Finished jars before adding the brine
Finished jars before adding the brine

Finish It Up

  1. Add brine (be careful – still HOT!) to each jar stopping at the neck before the threads to leave some room in the top for movement in the jar.
  2. Put jar lids on and turn them upside down to get ingredients added to the top moving around.
  3. Let them cool, then stash them in the fridge.
  4. Wait 24 or more hours and get at them. Like I said earlier, I waited 7 months to eat some of my last batch and they are still crisp and delicious.

As another online pickler stated; “Translation: Stalk your fridge like the dickens for the next 24 hours”

Filling the jars with brine. This is where the funnel shines.
Filling the jars with brine. This is where the funnel shines.

Cut some corners:

  • Save 20 minutes: A significant amount of time was spent processing the garlic. I wanted to do it since I also made a jar of pickled garlic, however, unless you are doing this, I’d recommend just buying the garlic in the jar (don’t use garlic powder or dried garlic).
  • Save 5 minutes: Use hop pellets instead of whole hops for the boil to remove the straining step.

Enjoy your hop pickles! Let me know if you have any questions.

All of the jars are filled and finished. Let them cool and then put them in refrigeration.  As you can see, the front jar is not pickles but garlic and peppers. More on that later.

UPDATED TASTE NOTES

Day 1- These are really good. Way less salty than my first time and they are really spicy already.

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