Mate With a Plate: Joe McClure's garlic and dill pickles

Long Lunch 14/03/2018
Photo: Joe McClure

Joe McClure from Detroit based McClures pickles is Wendyl Nissen's Mate With a Plate and shares his recipe for garlic and dill pickles.


Makes about 6 500 ml jars


3 KG small cucumbers (use Kirby or similar variety but not slicing/salad cucumbers)
12 cloves of garlic (peeled, halved or minced) 
1-2 bunches of dill 
700 ml of water 
700 ml of distilled white vinegar (5%)
32 grams of kosher salt


1. Wash cucumbers, and place in a large deep bowl. If not pickling that day, place them in the refrigerator

2. Wash dill and other vegetables thoroughly.

3. Garlic blanching (blanch before you cut or mince garlic): Take peeled garlic and place in a small pot with enough vinegar to cover the garlic. Heat to boil. Cook for 90 seconds and remove from heat. Place peeled garlic in a strainer and run cold water over blanched garlic. Set aside.

4. Place a single jar in a large pot. Fill the pot with water so that the jar is submerged by about 1/2" above the top of the jar. Remove the test jar and bring water to boil. (This is testing your water line to make sure you have enough water in there to boil the jars later)

5. In another large pot, combine the vinegar, water, and pickling salt. Bring the brine to a rapid boil. Stir the salt to make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot.

6. While pots are getting up to a boil take your produce and begin to prepare it: take cucumbers out and cut them to fit your jar. They can be cut into any shape you like or if they are small enough you can leave them whole. If cucumbers are speared, grab your mason jar and place 1 spear inside the jar. Make sure cucumber stands 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 inch below the top of the jar. Trim your cucumbers to this size. Place cucumbers back in the bowl.

7. After water pot is boiling, submerge mason jars in the pot and sterilize for about 90 seconds. Remove jars carefully with jar tongs. If you have a dishwasher you can run a rinse cycle and clean the jars as well. No soap is necessary.

8. In each jar, place 2 halves of garlic or mince garlic, one small handful of dill, then enough cucumbers to fill the jar making sure cucumbers are below the “neckline”.

9. Place 2 piece lids in boiling water 90 seconds, then carefully remove and place in a bowl.

10. Fill jars with hot brine.

11. Cap and seal jars.

12. Place jars back in boiling water pot. Process sealed jars in boiling water for 10 minutes.

13. Wait 5-10 days before eating. Refrigerate after opening. Pickles will keep for up to 1 year if stored in a cool dry place.

Listen to the full interview with Joe McClure above. 

The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.