My favorite sandwich in the world is a salami grilled cheese with dill pickles, mustard and mayo.
I remember the first time I had it at a local deli when I was a kid.
I knew I’d found a lifelong favorite.
There’s just something about that crunch of the pickle when combined with the fatty goodness of salami in between two toasty slices of bread. Gooey cheese and the warm, slightly sweet hint of mayo have my mouth watering right now!
Of all the ingredients in this stack of yumminess, it’s the briny, salty goodness of dill pickles that makes this sandwich shine.
They have a singular crispness and mouthfeel compared to other pickles that makes them unique. The perfect dill has a snap to it when you take a bite, and the ideal balance of spice and vinegar.
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What Are Dill Pickles?
As you might guess, what makes dill pickles different from other kinds of pickles is the use of the dill herb. During the pickling process, dill is included with the vinegar or salt brine the recipe uses. Other ingredients might also be used depending on the type of dill. We’ll touch on those ingredient differences a little later.
They are prepared using a salt brine or vinegar brine and a mixture of dill weed stems, and heads. In most dill pickle recipes, garlic is used as are red pepper flakes as well. Once the brine mixture is made, it’s poured over the pickles and then sealed so that the pickles have time to bathe in the mixture and full absorb it.
Dill pickles might be whole, halved, sliced or as a relish. Whole dills are usually consumed as is while halved or sliced dills are used in recipes like sandwiches or as a side with hamburgers or subs. Relishes are used to condiments or toppings but no matter how you choose to use them, there’s no mistaking the flavor they add to any meal.
If you’re a dill pickle lover like me, and really, who isn’t, then you’ll really be craving them after you’re finished with this article, I promise!
List of Popular Dill Pickles
Dill pickles come in several varieties depending on how they are made, the ingredients used and so on.
Fresh Pack Dill Pickles
Fresh packed dill pickles are prepared in the opposite manner to other dill pickle varieties. Other types are added to the brine solution first and then dill is added at various later stages. Here, fresh cucumbers are packed in dill prior to adding the salt or vinegar brine.
Genuine Dill Pickles
The genuine dill pickle gets its name from the method used to make it. Known as slow processing, the pickles are fermented first and it’s not until the final stages of fermentation (or after jarring) that dill (and other spices) are added to them. What also differentiates this dill pickle from others is that it has a higher lactic acid content.
German Dill Pickles
German dill pickles (or Salzgurken in German) differ slightly from the traditional salty dill pickle flavor you might be familiar with. Their taste could be described as a mixture of sweet and sour, since sugar is added during the pickling process.
Kosher Dill Pickles
Kosher dill pickles are probably the most well-known type of dill pickle. Interestingly, the term “Kosher” has a dual meaning in this situation.
The first usage refers to the certification of food in accordance with manufacturing in the Jewish tradition. By adhering to these dietary laws, a food will be certified as “Kosher” and deemed acceptable for consumption by followers of the faith.
The second usage refers to the stronger taste that is often associated with them. Kosher dill pickles have a more robust flavor since they have higher levels of both dill and garlic in the brine solution.
Overnight Dill Pickles
Overnight dill pickles are popular with at home pickle makers and also at delicatessens. Fresh pickles are packed in brine and refrigerated for anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. The resultant pickle is typically brighter green and in terms of taste, the taste of fresh cucumber is more pronounced than pickles that have been packed in brine for longer periods of time.
Polish Dill Pickles
At the spicy end of the dill pickle spectrum, you’ll find Polish dill pickles. They have a very strong peppery spice and garlic flavor, much more than other kinds of dill pickles. Besides this, Polish pickles use salt brine and no vinegar, which makes them more sour.
Differences Between Dill Pickles and Other Types of Pickles
For me, it’s hard not to love almost any kind of pickle but for those that have their favorites and are wondering how dill pickles stack up, we’ve got some handy comparisons for you to check out.
Dill Pickles vs Bread and Butter
While dill pickles and bread and butter share some common ingredients like salt, vinegar and mustard seed, the main difference between them is sweetness. Bread and butter pickles have sugar added to them during pickling which some might prefer as opposed to the spicy, robust flavor of traditional dill pickles.
Dill Pickles vs Half Sour
The difference maker between dill pickles and sour (or half sour) pickles is the type of brine used. Dill pickles are almost always made with a vinegar brine while salt is used in the preparation of the sour or half sour.