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Pickles, pickles, pickles (photography by Carol Shih)

Taste Test Thursday: Bread-and-Butter Pickles

In middle school, I used to drink pickle juice straight from the jar as an after-school snack. I’m pretty sure it stunted my growth. My eighth grade nickname? Pickle. (And “Magic Shih”… but let’s not get into that.)

This is all just to say: I have a penchant for crunchy green foods. Kale included.

A pickle taste test is a no-brainer. But what kind of pickle, to be exact? There’s Kosher, there’s brined, dill, lime, and now that godforsaken Kool-Aid kind. We decided to go with bread-and-butter pickles. These chips are sweeter than other variations, and they’re best eaten with burgers and sandwiches. Hence, the name. We did our best to find out which lovely pickle brand would make your turkey-and-swiss lunches taste like the best vinegar party you’ve ever had outside of a jar.

1_taste_test_name
A. Sprouts’ bread and butter chips – national brand (from Sprouts)

B. In a Pickles’ bread and butter chunks – Fort Worth, TX (from Green Grocer)

C. Woodstock’s organic bread and butter pickles – made in USA (from Green Grocer)

D. Twisted Roots’ bread and butter pickles – Dallas, TX

E. Bubbie’s bread and butter chips – Stockton, CA (from Sprouts)

Sprouts' bread and butter pickles
Sprouts’ bread and butter pickles

3_tasting_notes

Ingredients: Cucumbers, sugar, water, vinegar, salt, spices, etc.

  • “Sweet and limp. There’s a joke to be made here… at the expense of this pickle.”
  • “Floppy. Not too sweet, not too sour. Neutral, inoffensive pickle.”
  • “Sweet. Really sweet. Plain looking.”
  • “Tastes like a BandB pickle should taste.”
  • “Bland, kinda tastes like cereal.”

 

In a Pickles' bread and butter chunks
In a Pickles’ bread and butter chunks

3_tasting_notes

Ingredients: Cucumbers, sugar, pickling salt, onion, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, pickling spices, cinnamon stick.

  • “Are pickles supposed to be chewy?”
  • “Is there such a thing as a too-fat pickle? This might be it. Good taste, though. A little heat.”
  • “Seeds and onions here. Tastes like a Big Mac.”
  • “Too soft, don’t like the onion, although it might go well with BBQ.”
  • “Spicy and bitter.”

 

Woodstock's organic bread and butter pickles
Woodstock’s organic bread and butter pickles

3_tasting_notes

Ingredients: Organic cucumbers, organic dried cane syrup, water, organic distilled vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, etc.

  • “Nice crispy texture. But the flavor left something to be desired- like flavor.”
  • “More crunch and cucumber flavor. Fresh-tasting.”
  • “Red peppers in here. Still really sweet. Subtle pepper flavor. No heat.”
  • “Good crunch, but tasted a little dry.”
  • “Garlic-y, milder, runny.”

 

Twisted Roots' bread and butter pickles
Twisted Roots’ bread and butter pickles

3_tasting_notes

Ingredients: Unknown. Twisted Root likes to keep their recipe a secret.

  • “Odd yellowish-green hue, presumably imparted by the urine of the rare dwarf alpaca. Either that or mustard. Probably mustard.”
  • “So bad. Not on board with the mustardy flavor. Bright yellow-green color.”
  • “Seedy. Mustard seed? Can’t tell if I love it or hate it. Tastes like the whole fridge.”
  • “Surprising flavor that I ended up liking. Garlic definitely comes through. Complex.”
  • “Sweet, with dill on the back-end. Fairly limp.”

 

Bubbie's bread and butter pickles
Bubbie’s bread and butter pickles

3_tasting_notes
Ingredients: Cucumbers, artesian well water, sugar, white vinegar, salt, calcium chloride, etc.

  • “The most average, uninteresting pickle in the world.”
  • “A bread and butter pickle. Nothing too distinguishable, but that’s actually a good thing.”
  • “Slight chemical taste.”
  • “Good crunch, but flavor is pretty generic.”
  • “Kind of plain, but not in a bad way. Good crunch.”

 

4_tally_up

3 votes for (C) Woodstock
3 votes for (D) Twisted Root
2 votes for (A) Sprouts
1 vote for (E) Bubbie’s

5_conclusion

I’m still reeling from the shock of these results. Your mind, too, is probably swirling with questions. Let’s try to answer them.

Why didn’t anybody pick In a Pickle? I’ve learned that people don’t like their pickles to be cut in different sizes. They like uniformity, and they want their sandwiches to be made perfectly symmetrical. IAP’s chunks were sometimes too chunky. (I like it, but others don’t.) It had onion strings, and it tasted the most mustard-y of the bunch. (Again, I love that it comes with large onion rings. It’s like a two-in-one deal.) But, apparently, not everybody loves onions. They’re lame.

What is in Twisted Root’s pickle recipe, and how did it win? What’s cool about Twisted Root is that you can go in there and take home any of their pickles or condiments in a packed jar. This bread-and-butter one only put me back $4. I tried really hard to get this TR employee to tell me the recipe, but she wouldn’t budge. One tester said it tasted like “the entire fridge leaked into this pickle.” Honestly, it kind of does. It reminds me of curry, too. It’s super yellow and almost neon-looking, but some people really loved this one. You either really like it or really hate it. It’s got a strong enough bite to make a nasty Jimmy John’s sandwich actually taste decent.

What’s so great about Woodstock’s pickles? I don’t know. They looked like dead pickles to me. They were pretty sweet. The dehydrated peppers inside the jar look pretty, though.

Should I buy Bubbie’s? Only if you like soggy pickles. And nobody does. So, no. You shouldn’t.

MOST CRUNCHY: Woodstock
MOST MUSTARDY: In a Pickle
MOST WEIRD: Twisted Root
MOST SOGGY: Bubbie’s
MOST SWEET: Sprouts

17 comments on “Taste Test Thursday: Bread-and-Butter Pickles

  1. The yellow color is probably turmeric. A pretty standard ingredient in BandB’s. (And curries too…)

  2. Homemade pickles at Rathbuns Blue Plate Kitchen in Preston Center are amazing, especially on their wood grilled burgers.

  3. Jack Perkins also makes some really great, not overly sweet B&B pickles to accompany his great BBQ at The Slow Bone. They’re located on the condiment stand.

  4. I notice that Hunn’s is local. I’ll give ‘em ago.
    But in the meantime, Nathan’s Sweet Horseradish pickles are #1.
    Chef’s around town use them (without attribution).
    Sprouts carries them.

  5. I am not a BandB fan, but I do love spicy pickles.
    Harolds’s is the best out there, but be ready for a bit of a habanero kick.

  6. Bread and Butter pickles? Really? I don’t even get out of bed for BandB pickles. Half-sours are the pinnacle of Planet Pickle. Other than Cindy’s Deli, though, they’re pretty hard to find (any input here would be welcome).

  7. we make a Half Sour for Bob’s Steak and Chop House
    Collin
    Hunn’s Private Stock Pickles and Relish
    First Place Foods, Garland TX