Once again Time Out New York released their Top 100 Dishes of the year and once again, I’m going to eat my way through every one. And no price point or subway delay will stop me. In no particular order, here’s my take on their Top 100.

Remember the old days when pickles were aged dill or sour cucumbers that were served with a deli sandwich? In the last few years, pickles have become so much more than that. Thanks to some innovative food companies (many of them originating in New York), you can find just about anything pickled.

So it wasn’t too surprising that the Smokra made its way onto Time Out’s list this year. Rick Pick’s is one of those companies (based out of the Lower East Side) that pickles all types of things with all types of flavors. The smokra is one of their most unusual (and most expensive at about $12 a jar) concoctions. It’s pickled okra. Now, I’ve only had okra in stews and deep fried, so popping a whole okra spear into my mouth was an adventure on its own.

I bought this jar a while ago from Whole Foods and it has been sitting in my refrigerator. We decided to take a little hike upstate one summer holiday weekend and I thought these might be a nice accompaniment for a picnic. We got some awesome BBQ take out from Dinosaur BBQ and found some grass in Westchester to dine al fresco.

The fuzzy whole okras were longer than I expected and had a nice firm crunch. The menagerie of seeds inside provided an extra pop. Immediately, the intense flavors hit me.  Lots of garlic and lots of heat from curry powder and cayenne pepper. But then a tanginess lingered that was unusual and pleasant. And then the smoked paprika rounded it all out. It made the perfect accompaniment to the sweet smoked barbecued meat.

But it also worked much later as a unique snack on its own. They tasted unlike any pickles I’ve had before and if you can get past the strange shape and intense texture, these could easily replace your usual kosher dill. Welcome to the modern pickling world!

Would Rick’s Picks’ Smokra make my Top 100 of the year? The intense flavor and unusual pickles earn an 8 out of 10 giving me a new outlook on the idea of brined vegetables.

RICK’S PICKS
rickspicksnyc.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

2 Responses to #77 – SMOKRA from RICK’S PICKS

  1. Seriiss Lee says:

    You’ve never had pickled okra before?

  2. Brian Hoffman says:

    Well I have now.

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