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What peppercorn do you use?

Being from Baltimore, the McCormick peppercorns are my go-to for everyday use in my kitchen. I recall reading (perhaps on this board?) that folks thought that brand is bottom of the barrell and use other brands they believe to be far tastier. Please tell me what you use and why- and where you purchase it. Thanks for your input!

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  1. Natco.

    Good price. Good quality. Always available in the local South Asian shops.

    1. Since I use so much of it, I buy Telicherry Black Peppercorns in the large bulk size from Costco. It's their own "Kirkland" brand, & they're very strong & spicy.

      I think my white peppercorns are McCormicks, but I don't use those as often. And I also have a jar of Szechuan peppercorns that I bought from a gourmet shop. Obviously I use those in Szechuan dishes.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Breezychow

        I like szechuan pepper also, but of course that is an entirely different plant which does not replace black pepper.

        The difference between one black pepper and another is just a matter of freshness, in my opinion. The common commercial brands are likely to be the least fresh, I think. I prefer to buy online direct from a smaller spice company.

        1. re: Breezychow

          I concur with the Costco Tellicherry -- very fragrant and a good value. Used 'em last night to make steak au poivre, in fact.

          1. re: rjbh20

            I also love the Tellicherry black pepper. I started buying it at Williams Sonoma, then on line, then I found it at Costco.

            I like the fact that at Costco you can get a jar of whole peppercorns, and they also have an inexpensive, disposable grinder that I bring to work and leave in the communal kitchen.

        2. Tellicherry peppercorns have been my go-to of choice for many years. I started buying them from White Flower Farm, of all places, when I saw the blurb in their Christms flower catalogue. Then Penzey's appeared on scene so I switched over. The flavor is pronounced and vibrant compared to other types of black pepper.

          I also use Penzey's Szechuan peppercorns for Asian dishes. I use a dedicated spice grinder to pulverize. White peppercorns never have figured prominently in recipes I've made so I just keep a jar of Penzey's ground white in the spice cabinet.

          1. Penzey's Tellicherry peppercorns. I've used them for years. I love crunching down on one after it has been pressure cooked with soup. We grind them at table. I use them in braises and soups. Also recommend Penzey's Turkish bay leaves.

            3 Replies
            1. re: sueatmo

              Penzey's has another peppercorn I like better than Tellicherry. It's "India Special Extra Bold peppercorn"

              1. re: becks1

                I'll be on the lookout for it next time I visit. But the Tellicherry is very good, IMO. Is that the extra large peppercorns? I don't buy them because I don't think they will fit my peppermills.

                1. re: sueatmo

                  They are normal size with a little extra bite

            2. I don't! I opt for capsicums and grow my own. The hotter the better. My current favorite is the ghost pepper (bhut jolokia) most recently introduced into the US from India.

              1. Tried a few and my fave is Tellicherry, available from a variety of sources. I currently buy from World Spice Merchant, a good little independent shop in Seattle, but Penzey's is perfectly good.