A peek at our pickling

We pickle our own veggies here at Big Sur Smokehouse, such as cucumbers, onions, peppers, and more. Why? Because we try to do everything possible ourselves, from hand-crafted cocktails to our hand-rubbed barbecue. Pickles are a traditional accompaniment in our business, so we figured, why not make those, too? 

Like cooking meat over a flame (or, in our instance, off to the side of a flame), pickling has been around for a long, long time—as far back as 2030 B.C., or nearly 4,000 years ago. In years past, it was done out of necessity; before reliable refrigeration existed, it was an excellent way to preserve food. 

Today, though, we pickle things because it makes them taste interesting (and great). It can add a sweetness to onions, a vinegar-y bite to cucumbers, and enhance the flavors of peppers, asparagus, and plenty of other veggies. 

It’s a wonderful contrast to the savory flavors of our barbecue—perhaps even a bit of a palate-cleanser between the various parts of your three-meat platter, for example. 

But there also are benefits to eating picked foods that go beyond your taste buds. They can add more antioxidants to your diet, because unlike cooking vegetables, pickling them doesn’t break down the heat-sensitive nutrients they contain. 

You didn’t come here for diet advice, we know. But we believe barbecue is best enjoyed responsibly—so you can be around longer to enjoy more of it! That means regularly getting all of your food groups in: Beef, pork, chicken, greens, and pickles. (Or something like that, anyway. We’re pitmasters, not dietitians.)

Greg Bellino