Whether as a condiment on a burger or as the star of its own side dish, grilled pickles are a delicious addition to any summer cookout. Cooking a pickle on a grill intensifies its flavor, and the process is also super-simple. So, although most pickle-lovers are happy to eat them right out of the jar, you may never want to go back to doing that, once you discover how quick and easy it is to grill them.
“The sugars in the brining liquid caramelize and char, and the results taste pretty fantastic,” Claire Lower at Lifehacker explains about how grilling changes the flavor of a pickle. “The tartness of the pickle is slightly tamed, while the savoriness is heightened.”
The first step to grilling pickles is to select your pickles. You can’t go wrong grilling whatever variety you already have in your fridge, but if you plan to shop for more for grilling purposes, take note that you may want to select plump, spear-shaped pickles rather than halves. According to a food expert at Bon Appétit, spears allow for better caramelization since more of the pickle’s surface will be exposed to the grill.
Once you’ve decided on your pickle of choice, take them out of the jar to prep. Using a paper towel or a cloth, lightly blot the pickles to remove any excessive wetness but make sure to leave some of the liquid brine on the pickles to caramelize. Lastly, spray the pickles with a light coating of oil.
Next, fire up your grill and put your pickles directly on the grilling grates: I recommend placing them perpendicular to the bars so they don’t fall through. On a pre-heated grill, it should take only a few minutes to achieve dark charring on a pickle spear, depending on the type of grill you have. On my outdoor gas grill, I found it took closer to 10 minutes to achieve the crispiness I was after. So, if you are already planning to grill other foods, you may want to consider simply adding the pickles at the end.
Once you notice charring, the grilling process is done. Wait for them to cool. You can then add the grilled pickles to a pasta salad, put them on top of a burger, or just eat them on their own with a side of dill dressing.