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Best Pickles

What do you think is the best widely available dill pickles available?

I currently have a jar of Vlassic dill spears in my refrigerator. They're not bad, but nothing to write home about.

What do you prefer?

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  1. Don Hermann garlic dills from NE Ohio. They're in some of the local grocery stores around here but I think you can find a website to order them directly from the pickle farm. Lots of people I know buy them by the BARREL. I don't know anyone who doesn't like them -- in fact, I think it's pretty much acknowledged that they are the best pickles in the universe. The kosher dills are good, too, but the garlic dills actually sizzle on your tongue.

    2 Replies
    1. re: sweetlikesugar

      Sweetlikesugar, I live in NE-Ohio (Wooster area) and I have never heard of Don Hermann pickles, but Id love to try them. Are they available at a local chain grocery or a specialty retailer?

      I love Tony Packo's pickle and pepper mix.

      1. re: sweetlikesugar

        I AGREE 100%!!!!! So funny! I am originally from NE Ohio and I've been living in Chicago for the past 3 years. I have been craving what I have been calling "The good refrigerator pickles" for about 2 months and I couldn't remember the name of those damn Don Hermann pickles. After buying about 5 different jars of pickles that were so/so, I finally googled "Best Pickle" and lo and behold the first comment I read is about the pickles I was looking for! Don Hermann pickles are the best pickles I have ever tasted out of a jar, I don't know here to get them around Chicago though :(

      2. I like the Vlasic Zesty dill spears. They have a nice tang. My favorites, that are easy to find, are Claussen's Hearty Garlic Dill pickles. I like the sliced ones for sandwiches. The best are homemade, but you can't get that in a store!

        1 Reply
        1. re: danhole

          My local Randall's has apparently stopped carrying Claussen's Hearty Garlic sandwich slices. Where are you finding them?

        2. We just bought a good jar of Nathan's Kosher Spears which are pretty widely available in the Boston area and perhaps the East coast.

          3 Replies
          1. re: EllenMM

            Agreed, and their half sours are great too. I even prefer them to the much lauded BaTampte.

            1. re: BobB

              But were they actually green? I find that BaTampte (my beloved childhood favorite) half-sours are never quite right when purchased outside of the NYC area... they can't sit too long or else they're not so hot. If they're dark green then they're no good. Bright green = jackpot pickle heaven.

              1. re: missfunkysoul

                I get BaTampte here in west Texas and they're great. My favorite pickles.

          2. I can't say that I've ever really had a jarred pickle that I thought was as good as one I'd have in my favoite Jewish Deli. I like fairly 'old' dills, which just don't seem to translate well to jars. Maybe the closest thing I've found is the Bubbie's brand. Not sure how nationally they're distributed. They also make sour tomatoes..... another one of my deli vices...... that seem closer to the 'real thing' than their pickles. There's also Batampte brand...... also pretty good for jarred.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Midlife

              Not to put too fine a point on this...but I understand what you mean about deli-provided pickles at the table...USUALLY warmer than out of the refrigerator/jar...and I know that contributes to the overall "pickle experience." Being ice cold can change the flavor. BTW...also enjoy the pickled tomato you usually get in the bowl, too.

              1. re: njmarshall55

                FYI - the 'sour' tomatoes I mentioned are the same thing as 'pickled' tomatoes. ;o]

            2. I don't know if they're nationally distributed, but Clausen's are really good.

              2 Replies
              1. re: MikeG

                I second Clausen's - Clausen's kosher dills - crisp, sour and garlicy!

                1. re: jackiecat

                  Yes, without running all over town Clausen's are pretty hard to beat!

              2. BaTampte half sours are the best (in my opinion) pickle I've had.

                3 Replies
                1. re: hotdoglover

                  Trader Joe's half sours are the best pickles for me, if I cant get a real Jewish deli one. They also please my Russian husband who does not like vinegary pickles.
                  My other favorite pickle is a more pedestrian one, the Fred Meyer brand HOT bread and butter pickle! i cant eat tuna salad without them.

                  1. re: elainelena

                    I second the TJ's half sours for pickles in jars and fairly easy to find. The best pickle I have ever had was at a Jewish Deli in Florida. I still remember the taste and smell of that pickle .... pure bliss. I've not been able to replicate that experience yet but am still trying.

                  2. re: hotdoglover

                    I'll second BaTampte half sours. I grew up in South Florida with many jewish delis in the area. While those were better, the BaTampte are a close second.

                    1. Similar (though not identical) pickle question that might be interesting to you: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/468968

                      ~TDQ

                      1 Reply
                      1. after moving from MN to California (where there are no good pickles, IMO) I found I really missed Gedney, the Minnesota Pickle.

                        You can't go wrong with any of their regular pickles but if you want a real treat go for the Zingers - spicy dills.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: babaoriley7

                          Being from Minnesota, With Zingers you can't go wrong if you're looking for a spicy pickle!

                          http://www.gedneypickle.com/index.cfm...

                          1. re: mikemcg62

                            That website reminded me of a local place here in Northern NJ called Pickle Licious (at first I thought it was linked on the site, but that is for a different Picklelicious). Anyway, a google search finds that they also do mail order, and their Spicy pickles are just insanely good (as are their other products)- the spiciness seems to be embedded in their DNA, and they are also nicely crisp and sour. Very recommended.

                            http://shop.picklelicious.com/xship/h...

                          2. re: babaoriley7

                            the zingers are good. dh (the pickle fiend's) current fave is the gedney state fair hot bread and butter (nita schemmel's recipe), available locally. they are sweet and hot and addictive, and so good that he'll get up in the middle of the night for pickles, and i wake up and bust him with pickle breath, and the whole thing is just silly. sometimes we go through two 24oz jars in a week.

                          3. I like the Vlasic Kosher....grew up on them. But lately I've been devouring bottle after bottle of Roland Cornichons. It's actually kind of disturbing.

                            1. I also love Bubbies - lovely, sour, zingy pickles. But my all-time faves are full sours from Strub's, a family pickle producing company from Eastern Canada.
                              Alas, here in Canada, we have slim pickings for pickles - no good loval deli made pickles, at least that I've found. When I first heard about whole STORES of nothing but pickles in New York (and other enlightened places) I was incredulous and immediately wanted to move.

                              1. Wickles!!! Learned about these from a Chowhound post a year ago. Thick, sweet, and spicy. MMMM good!!!

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: Phoebe

                                  I second Wickles for sweet pickles!

                                2. I was pleasantly surprised by the Dill Pickles at Trader Joe's, which is all
                                  over the place these days.
                                  Just like Granny used to can!
                                  And no preservatives!
                                  Also the Garlic Marinated Mushrooms there are AWESOME!

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: mikemcg62

                                    totally agree w/ the dill pickles at TJ's...they're not that gross yellow color that most commercial pickles are. but i didn't mind the yellow color when i bought some nalley chili pepper petites...crispy and spicy.

                                    1. re: soypower

                                      Great, I read this the day after my trip to Trader Joe's. Now I need to wait a week. Poo!

                                  2. Another vote for half-sours and Batampte are the only ones available around here that I can find. I've had some that were a little off however and I read somewhere, perhaps here on CH, that can happen. Then I found it is really easy to make your own half-sours and I haven't bought any Batampte in months (haven't made any in some time either since the pickling cukes in the stores haven't looked very good. I kind of OD'd on them for a while, anyway). It takes a little time and care - they will really get nasty very quickly if you don't screw the lid on the jars in which you ferment them tight - and a little experience to find the right length of time to let them ferment before putting them in the fridge, but it's worth it. I got to where my pickles regularly were better than Batampte in my ever so humble opinion and a heck of a lot cheaper. There are lots of recipes on line. In addition to the pickling spices, dill, garlic and Kosher salt, I liked to add a wedge of a sweet onion like Texas 1015 to the brine.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: brucesw

                                      Dear Brucesw, PLEASE share your pickle recipe! Please!

                                    2. I can't seem to get enough of Krakus dill pickles. Also, I love BaTampte, especially the tomatoes, though. I miss my pickled tomatoes.

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Lizard

                                        YUMMM! Pickled green tomatoes and pickled watermelon rind too!

                                        1. re: jackiecat

                                          I've often wondered what watermelon rind tastes like. I'm not much of a fan of pickled tomatoes though if the tastes are at all similar. What isa pickled watermelon rind like?

                                          1. re: enbell

                                            It tastes like a sweet pickle with a mushy texture. I just tried it for the first time at Thanksgiving. That was enough for me.

                                            1. re: amanda3571

                                              Thanks - based on that I think I'll pass. I appreciate you doing the dirty work for me :)

                                              1. re: amanda3571

                                                You didn't have a good watermelon rind pickle. The ones my mom made were never mushy, but rather nice and crisp, especially right out of the fridge so they're ice cold.

                                                1. re: Liana Krissoff

                                                  on the beach in virginia, we keep homemade watermelon rind pickles in our coolers in summertime. it is one of my favourite summertime snacks.

                                                  as liana krissoff says, they are crisp. v.v. good cold and absolutely delish. and depending on who makes them, they usually have a little bit of bite or spiciness. yum.

                                        2. Strub's. I crave them if I'm away from them for long:

                                          http://www.strubpickles.com/

                                          1. Mrs Elswoods are the best, the sweet and sours, and the haimische. Sadly never seen in the usa but if you have anyone visiting from England ....

                                            1. Bubbie's in the refrigerator aisle. And they are kosher :)

                                              1. Yes to TJ's and Claussen. Add to that the Back to Nature brand.

                                                1. I don't think anyone has mentioned my favorite. Claussen! Numero uno!

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: crt

                                                    Anyone know if Bubbie's or Wickles (love that name, Wickles Pickles!) are sold in Ohio? I've never heard of either.

                                                    1. re: jackrugby

                                                      Wickles are local to Alabama, so I'm not sure if they are distributed in Ohio. Like most consumer goods, they can be purchased on-line. http://www.wicklespickles.com

                                                  2. For a classic kosher dill, I'm a Nathan's fan all the way, but I also lived in SE Ohio for a few years and developed a fierce love for Frog Ranch, a tiny local company out of teeny-tiny Glouster OH. Their spicy peppered pickle chunks are killer. Check it out.

                                                    http://frogranch.com/products/product...

                                                    1. Even though the OP asked for dill pickles, many have responded with the BaTempte half-sours. They are a different animal. BaTempte makes a Garlic Dill which is as good as it gets - the only warning being that BaTempte seems to have a problem sealing their jars properly so it's possible to be disappointed with them.

                                                      1. BaTemtpe Garlic pickles are indeed excellent but the best pickles in the world are Montreal sour pickles from Schwartz' Deli in Montreal. http://www.schwartzsdeli.com/index_en... is the link to its website where you can buy them by the half gallon or gallon and have them shipped to you. This website: http://feastinginphoenix.com/?p=271 has photos of them along with Schwartz' smoked meat and french fries. Montreal steak seasoning, by the way, was invented here. If anyone has a Harris Teeter near them Dietz and Watson sour barrel pickles are the best I've found in stores. For what it's worth Bubbie's (sold by Whole Foods), prominently mentioned throughout this thread as well as Strub's (sold by Wegman's) and Trader Joe's are ALL Canadian pickles. Mrs. Whyte's is a Montreal area company that, I think, sells a superior pickle to both Bubbie's and Straub's. http://www.whytes.ca/mrsWhytes/pickle... Their best pickle is the "full brine" dill. I am not certain but I believe that Mrs. Whyte is the company that supplies Schwartz. Guss' in Manhattan are the legendary New York deli pickles but I personally prefer Schwartz's. You can also order directly from Guss and have them shipped to you: http://www.gusspickle.com/ This is a particular noteworthy Chowhound thread on the best pickles: http://www.chowhound.com/topics/257448
                                                        Wickles are sold regionally by Harris Teeter as are Tony Packo's.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Joe H

                                                          Mrs. Whyte's kosher dills can be hard to find, but are the very best. I occasionally can find the gallon jar at a local market and a series of them has been resident in my refrigerator for the last couple of years. Sometimes the extra-large ones can be found sold individually in deli cases as well.

                                                          1. re: Joe H

                                                            I recently learned that Schwartz's uses Putter's Pickles. They're like Strub's, but with a sharper bite. You cannot buy them outside of Quebec though, except as re-labels.

                                                            I have no idea what they're re-labeled as though. I had always assumed that Bubbie's Pickles were just re-labeled Strub's though (due to the "Cloudy Brine" tagline). Is that correct?

                                                            I agree that Mrs. Whyte's are good.

                                                            Happy to be able to buy Strub's at Wegmans though, since I'm from Toronto, but live in Philadelphia (and missed my pickles!!). I have never tried BaTampte Full-Sours though, even though I see them all the time. I'm sure I'd love them too. Must do so.

                                                            When I find out where and under which name I can buy Putter's Pickles though, that will be my mainstay. The pickles Schwartz's serves are indeed amazingly good!!

                                                          2. i am a fan of rick's picks. and though it is not pickles, i especially love the "phat beets" tee hee.

                                                            1. Tony Packo's.
                                                              I can eat jars of their Really Chunky Garlic Dills and Pickles and Peppers in one sitting if I let myself.

                                                              1. Last week bought a jar of TJ's Organic Kosher Sandwich Pickles 'Fresh Pack'. Cut thinner than Claussen's sandwich pickles...and well because of that, they beat out Claussens. Great on a sandwich. Great on their own as a snack. Can't refuse eating one or two while making a sandwich!

                                                                1. Vlassic is actually a pretty good brand. I think the style is more important. I like kosher pickles but really prefer the baby whole pickles, but not the real tiny ones that Vlassic makes these days. I dont like most presliced pickles or quartered pickles, too soft and briny. I did like the Stackers for sandwiches, These are the lengthwise slices.

                                                                  1. i'm fond of mt.olive pickles.i was surprised to see no mention of them.

                                                                    http://www.mtolivepickles.com/Home.html

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: davmar77

                                                                      Vlassic pickles usually but since on a restricted diet I make my own salt free bread and butter that are to die for!!

                                                                      1. re: Smileelisa

                                                                        salt-free b&b? could we coax you to post a recipe? i'd love to try them!

                                                                      2. re: davmar77

                                                                        Sorry, but Mt.Olive are the worst of the worst. All things Vlasic and Claussen are also inedible to me, but still not thoroughly awful. Have you tried Ba-Tempte Garlic Dills? Not easy to find in all areas, but I don't think you'll be pleased with Mt. Olive after you try them.

                                                                        1. re: Steve

                                                                          I prefer the Ba-Tampte half sours. I haven't tried Mt. Olive except for the kosher dill slices made to top hamburgers. Five Guys hamburger restaurants use them and they are delicious.

                                                                      3. I LOVE Moon Brine brand- http://moonbrine.com/

                                                                        The liquid is really good, i add it to bloody marys.

                                                                        1. Ba Tempte and Trader Joe's half sours are great. I think the best processed pickles around are Heinz kosher dills. They have about double the garlic of Vlasic, Mt Olive, etc. and I think they're the only pickles that use black peppercorns for flavoring that gives them a unique taste. They were very hard to find in Michigan until I found them at Menards. (just the place for groceries!)

                                                                          1. My wife is the pickle fan. Up to last week 3 jars weekly of Batempte Garlic Dills were perfect for her, except as has been said the tendency for the jar to leak. NOW they are new jars, no leaks and no garlic. Not sure how they make garlic pickles without any garlic in the jar. They removed the leaking problem and removed the taste from the pickle. Now she must locate another pickle. Any ideas?

                                                                            1. Not sure how available they are outside of Texas, but Del Dixie sour dills are my fave. Then again, I've not had very many pickles I didn't like as long as they don't taste too watered down.

                                                                              1. Claussen makes the best nationally distributed jar-pickle, IMHO. (I should mention I greatly dislike sweet pickles, so I am totally biased toward dill pickles here.) They were my Dad's favorite pickles so we grew up eating them and no other pickles ever taste as good to me- especially Vlasic, which are all yellowy and canned-tasting and old-looking and gross- pretty much the antithesis of the Claussen pickle- which is always crisp, clean tasting, looks close to a fresh cucumber- great on sandwiches or alone- man, I could eat a whole jar by myself in one sitting, if it wasn't sodium suicide! *lol*

                                                                                However, if you live in local Las Vegas, there's a restaurant here called Bagel Cafe I think, in the Summerlin area, that apparently makes fresh in-house pickles-- OMG, they are the best pickles I've ever eaten in. my. life. They were crispy and fresh and and garlicky and savory but not too salty-- just, wow. But I have no idea if this cafe is a chain or if the wonderful Pickles of the Gods are actually available anywhere but here.

                                                                                I also love okra pickles, but sadly few people share my love. *sniffle*

                                                                                1. Rather than shop in the pickle aisle, I now tend to head to the int'l aisle at the supermarket and pick up a jar of Polish cucumbers in brine. Some are just brine but others have spices and garlic in them and to me, these are always much better than Vlassics, etc.

                                                                                  1. Ozark Sweet Tangy Dills from www.ozarkpicklepantry.com

                                                                                    My favorite, period. They're *not cheap*, but they're worth the money. I buy them by the case to keep the shipping costs down, but they're still $6.50 a jar before shipping.

                                                                                    I'm also a big fan of Sechler's Candied Sweet Dill Strip/Chunk Pickles. These are less expensive than Ozark's, but they're wonderful in their own right. They're the *only* choice for Maurice salad, or tuna salad, egg salad, etc. I prefer the Chunk style since they're about $1 a jar cheaper than the Strips, but the *only* difference is the cut. The extra dollar is because the strips have to be hand-packed, rather than being done by machine, which the chunks are. Since the pickles get chopped up by me anyway, I don't care about their shape.

                                                                                    Still, those Ozark Pickle Pantry offerings are what I *dream* about when pickles come into play. I can eat a jar without even thinking about it!

                                                                                    Oh, I should mention that neither of these pickles would be a good partner for a corned beef on rye with cole slaw and Russian dressing...only a new dill would be appropriate for that!

                                                                                    Wow...I guess I really *am* kind of a pickle junkie!

                                                                                    1. We've been enjoying Rick's Picks products lately.
                                                                                      http://rickspicksnyc.com/
                                                                                      Pickled cucs, green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, beets, etc. The Mean Beans are to die for good. The products aren't cheap but they're all local (NY), natural, and delicious. These are available in some WF markets and they do have a booth at the green market in Union Sq as well.

                                                                                      1. Regular Vlasic Dills are just plain dull. Especially any of the spear variety. But, the Vlasic Zesty Whole Dills are something entirely different. These pickles have substance, crunch, and kick. They aren't hot, they're zesty. The flavors stay around for a while after eating them. There's red pepper, garlic and other little things floating on the bottom of the jar. If your local market doesn't stock them, don't go for the spears. you'll only be disappointed and refrain from buying the Zesty Whole when you do finally find them. If you don't like these pickles, you have a long search ahead to find some that will satisfy your cuke and vinegar palette. Enjoy.

                                                                                        1. I'm not wild about the Vlasics EXCEPT for the dill sandwich slices, but that's mainly because I'm lazy and generally don't feel like slicing a pickle myself. :) I love Mrs. Fanning's Bread and Butter pickles (oops, sorry: you said dill) but my real favorite these days is these enormous pickles that a local deli sells in an unmarked glass jar. Those things are GREAT; crunchy and crispy and dilly and garlicky. I generally buy one and it lasts a week or so (told you, they're huge) and after I tire of eating it plain, it finds it's way into tuna salads, potato salads, Russian salat.....
                                                                                          Love me a good pickle. Hey, you said dill specifically but didn't specify that the veg. had to be cukes. Do pickled green tomatoes count? I make really good ones, and dilled horseradish asparagus and green beans........and at the end of the day, I think those are my most favorite. :)
                                                                                          Who knew there was so much to say about pickles?

                                                                                          1. Claussens mini dill pickles are my favorite. Small,and crunchy with that garlic flavor. Yum.

                                                                                            1. The habanero dill chunks available in a couple of spots in Ruidoso, New Mexico are extraordinary.

                                                                                              1. Up til now I would have said BaTampte, or one of the other Brooklyn tub pickles; but my local small grocer just started carrying small dills in jars made by Mr Garden. I have never had better, and best of all they are only 99 cents each! I just stocked up in case it doesn't sell quickly enough and gets discontinued.

                                                                                                Now when it comes to gherkins, Heinz is the only one that doesn't have weird spices added. Why are they so hard to find lately?

                                                                                                1. Mrs. Whyte's dill pickles and in Montreal, Moishe's also has a dill pickle on the market which is so good.

                                                                                                  1. we like Claussen's... DH is very fond of their new hot and spicy, I like the original. :)

                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                    1. re: jujuthomas

                                                                                                      I have seen those and am intrigued...how spicy are they? I am pretty whimpy spice-wise FYI

                                                                                                    2. Batempte half sours, but I haven't seen them here. :(

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Jackie007

                                                                                                        About the best you're gonna do in Cruces is Bates' Half Dries. ;)

                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                          I don't remember seeing those either, but I'll keep an eye out.

                                                                                                      2. I recently had a jar of McClure's [claiming to be from Detroit and Brooklyn on the label] and they were both well spiced [with actual dill and garlic cloves in the jar] and quite crispy/crunchy. I also have a jar of Claussen's Hot and Spicy Spears that is quite nice as well.

                                                                                                        1. My father was originally from Toledo, Ohio and swore that the best pickles were from Tony Packo's. Does anyone remember them?

                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                          1. re: Tripeler

                                                                                                            I love Packos pickles and hot pepper mix but since my daughter doesn't go to college in western Michigan I have to buy them in the grocery instead of 2-3 jars at a time from the Front Street location.

                                                                                                          2. K├╝hne pickled gherkins. Best. pickles. period.

                                                                                                            http://www.bakersandlarners.co.uk/kuh...

                                                                                                            1. I know it sounds ridiculous, but I have always disliked pickles in general until I had them on a Checkers hamburger. Now I keep looking for them in a store knowing I will never be able to find them.

                                                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: bbqbrisket

                                                                                                                My vote is for Bubbies & Wickles. AND, if you like pickled okra, Wickles has a "Wickled Okra" that's awesome. Especially with a Bloody Mary. ;)

                                                                                                                1. re: bbqbrisket

                                                                                                                  Maybe if you ask them, they will sell you a lb or two?

                                                                                                                2. Full-sours; anything sweet and pickled spells highly deflated enthusiasm.
                                                                                                                  So, pickles on a deli table, basically any in the Mid-East and Turkish hot peppers sound good. Maybe even some Chicago giardiniera...and I can't forget curtido. If there wasn't already a good enough reason to eat a pupusa, that's a bonus.

                                                                                                                  1. Frog Ranch zesty bread and butter pickles from Glouster OH.

                                                                                                                    1. Recently we because aware that the pickles we were buying had HFCS so we went to our local publix and what do you know every single dill pickle jar listed HFCS as an ingredient except for one.

                                                                                                                      Farmers Market by Vlassic. Kosher Dill Pickles. We enjoy this and they are also packed with carrots and peppers