More Than Pickles: Picklesburgh Promises to be Fun and Tasty

Ingredients: vinegar, comfort and a dash of adventure.


Ah, the majestic pickled cucumber. I have a special history with pickles. When I was growing up in Connecticut, my family and I would make road trips out to Michigan to visit our extended clan. Ever the model house guest, my mom would bring tidings of lime pickles to our relatives. She got the pickle recipe from her aunt, who grew up in Table Rock, Neb., which has a population of 200. According to my grandfather, green pickles and sauerkraut with sesame seeds were among “her legacy in canning.”

So I got pretty excited when I heard about the inaugural Picklesburgh celebration on the Rachel Carson (or Ninth Street) Bridge this weekend (Jlu 17-18). To me, pickles are a pretty big dill. They’re a world of comfort food shrouded in sour-and-salty goodness. With each satisfying crunch, your taste buds pleasantly are assaulted with flavor. And the taste sticks around, sort of like my family.

Don’t like pickles? Don't let that hold you back — there are plenty of other things to do and taste.

You can travel the world with the technique of pickling. At Picklesburgh, the mobile cupcakery Happy Camper Cupcakes will be selling its “Pickled Pirate” cupcake, a sweet vessel for balsamic vinegar and rum-pineapple compote, served in souvenir jelly jars. If that’s too adventurous for you, Pittsburgh Pickle Company will dish out salty-and-sweet “Pittsburgh-style” pickles.

photo by laura petrilla

For a more substantial meal that you can relish (in), Richard DeShantz Meat & Potatoes (plus tako and Butcher and the Rye) will be cooking house-smoked pork sandwiches with a variety of homemade pickled toppings. He’s also mixing up cocktails with pickled elements.


Chef Brian Pekarcik of Grit & Grace (plus Spoon and BRGR) is showing off his salty and sour skills, too. He’s featuring his mortadella steam bun with house-cured bread-and-butter pickles, as well as grilled chicken thighs served with kimchi. While your eyes are preoccupied looking at the giant Heinz pickle balloon floating about the Rachel Carson Street bridge, your mouth will be munching a mile a minute.

Want to harness this magical pickling technique for yourself? Picklesburgh is embracing the farm-to-table movement with more than 40 demonstrations at the Whole Foods Market demo area, scheduled throughout the two-day event. Local chefs will be teaching pickling techniques, from pickled green dilly tomatoes to pickled mango spears.

photo by cory morton

If you prefer sipping to crunching, you’re in luck: Wes Shonk of Wigle Whiskey will demonstrate how to make some cocktails featuring pickled ingredients in the same demo area.

Click here for the complete list of demonstrations and events. 

Who knows? With all this pickling, maybe you’ll get a little inspiration to start a family tradition yourself. Pickle juice-drinking contest, anyone?


Categories: The 412