These barbecue pickles are essentially just jazzed up store-bought dill slices from a jar of everyday classic pickles doused with hot sauce. The everyday staple is quickly and easily transformed into a sweet and hot and tangy pile of crunchy goodness that we simply can’t stop thinking about. One taste and neither will you. And we bet you already have everything you need in your pantry.Angie Zoobkoff

A pile of barbecue pickles next to some barbecued meat and a fork.

Barbeque Pickle FAQs

Can I make these with pickle spears instead of chips?

Sure can. Chips, spears, planks, baby dills, ovals – as long as you start with a quart of pickles, you can pretty much add this seasoning to any type of DILL (not sweet) pickle you like.

How should I serve barbeque pickles?

Straight from the jar, or do what we do – serve them on a plate with a selection of other tasty pickles. Need ideas? How about serving them next to bread and butter pickles, pickled watermelon rind, and sweet pickles, allowing your guests to sample all of your pickling projects?

Thin slices of barbecue pickles on an orange background.

Barbecue Pickles

5 / 5 votes
Barbecue pickles. Yep. And you’re going to be astounded at just how easy they are to toss together. Wait’ll you try them.
David Leite
Servings32 servings
Calories22 kcal
Prep Time10 minutes
Total Time10 minutes


  • 1 quart dill pickle chips
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup store-bought or homemade hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Grab a liquid measuring cup and pour off 1 cup pickle juice from the jar of pickles. Place a colander in your sink and dump the rest of the pickles and juice in the colander. Rinse with cold running water for about a minute.
  • In the measuring cup or a bowl, stir together the reserved pickle juice, sugar, hot sauce, garlic, and cayenne pepper. The sugar won’t completely dissolve and that’s okay.
  • Return the pickles to the pickle jar in batches, shaking lightly between batches to evenly distribute the pickle slices. Pour the sugar mixture over pickles. Screw the lid back on and refrigerate for at least 3 days before serving, giving the pickle jar a quick flip a couple times a day to be certain all that sweet and spicy goodness doesn’t settle to the bottom of the jar.
  • Serve the barbecue pickles cold, whether you spear them straight from the jar with a fork or plop them alongside a pulled pork sandwich.
The South's Best Butts Cookbook

Adapted From

The South’s Best Butts

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Serving: 1 portionCalories: 22 kcalCarbohydrates: 6 gProtein: 1 gFat: 1 gSaturated Fat: 1 gMonounsaturated Fat: 1 gSodium: 308 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 5 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2017 Matt Moore. Photo © 2017 Time Inc. Books. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

These little firecrackers are a nice touch of sweet and sour heat that work well to break through other heavy flavors such as the barbeque I enjoyed them with. This barbecue pickles recipe is a great way to dress up and bring a new dimension to a jar of pickles you probably already have sitting in your fridge.

While I found the flavor to be a bit strong to enjoy strictly as a side dish, I did find that they worked well accompanied by other dishes with strong personalities. They play well together!

Who woulda thunk a jar of regular old supermarket dill pickle chips could become something that can make your eyeballs sweat? I used a jar of my favorite shelf-stable pickles (not the refrigerated fresh-pack kind) that are already quite briny and garlicky so adding some heat just makes sense.

Be sure to return the barbecue pickles to the jar in small batches shaking the jar gently so they lay nicely in the jar. There won’t be enough juice to cover all the pickles if you don’t. I shook the jar nearly every time I opened the fridge over those 3 days just to make sure all the pickle chips got their due. If you eat these pickles by themselves, you’ll notice a building and lingering heat. But if you put these little dudes on a brisket sandwich, the heat is slightly tempered and the sweetness comes out. They’re the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and salty, so it’s hard to stop!

It would be easy to eat a lot of these barbecue pickles, all by themselves or on the side or incorporated into other dishes. They were tasty when first mixed together, and it was hard to wait 3 days before considering them finished and ready for sharing.

I was disappointed with the ingredients in the dill pickle chips I found at the grocery store so I purchased a quart of whole dill pickles (Bobak’s Polish dills) and then used a chipper to make my own dill pickle chips. When I mixed the ingredients for these barbecue pickles together, I mixed in the one cup of reserved pickle juice, but saved all of it as I was uncertain if the 1 cup liquid plus other ingredients would be sufficient to cover the pickles. There was plenty of liquid; in fact, it was perfect. However, I couldn’t resist turning the pickle jar over a few times per day to ensure that the added ingredients were evenly distributed so it could soak into all the pickle chips.

And what did we do with them? We started with a fork in the pickle jar. The opposite side of the coin with this line of thinking would be to gift them. As for eating, they would be terrific on a spiced chicken burger or alongside the burger. They would be equally tasty inside a challah grilled cheese sandwich or, again, alongside it. They would also be great on a hoagie, sub, or po’boy sandwich. They could be placed on a cheese tray. They could be served alongside crudités. They could go into any salad that uses pickles or that could use pickles, such as macaroni salad, potato salad, or egg salad. I see them also as an addition to a chopped salad.

This barbecue pickles recipe is a great technique to transform everyday jarred dill pickles into a condiment worthy of company. It required minimal effort and was very tasty. The heat comes at the end but isn’t numbing. There is some bite from the garlic.

They definitely added interest to and elevated my tuna melt. They would be a great addition to a summer barbecue with roadside burgers or ribs. I used Mt. Olive Hamburger Dill Chips and Frank’s Hot Sauce Original. I would consider increasing the sugar.

This barbecue pickles recipe couldn’t be easier and with a little time in the fridge you can transform boring dill pickle chips into a sweet and zippy snack! Not too spicy and not too garlicky, these pickle chips are great! Overall really yummy.

I used Wegmans’ store-brand dill pickle chips or hamburger dill slices. I actually couldn’t find quart jars of dill chips; all the big jars are the sandwich-length slices (same thickness as chips) or regular spears. I bought 2 pint containers instead. I used Frank’s hot sauce.

I assume you’d only put a few chips on a sandwich or burger so it makes quite a few servings but I would serve them as a side like you would a spicy slaw. I would say maybe 1/4 cup per person? I tried them on a tuna sandwich and that was good but frankly I’ve been eating them straight out of the container. I’m sure they would rock on a cheeseburger or a grilled chicken sandwich, too. I’m dreaming of using the leftover brine to marinate some chicken pieces for deep frying.

These were spiciest on day one. By day three, the pickles chips still had a decent amount of heat but were more of a slow burn.

I was expecting them to be sweeter from the amount of sugar in the recipe. The sugar actually didn’t fully dissolve until day three. I stirred it a few times a day to kick the sugar up off the bottom. Perhaps it should be made with superfine sugar or it should be made into a simple syrup (reserving the garlic until cool enough to add the chips).

By day 4 in the brine, they were a little glossier and a little crisper. I was expecting the garlic to pack more of a punch but I was pleased to find it hung more in the background. I think next time I’ll use a simple syrup and try a different hot sauce. Maybe I’ll sub Korean chile flakes for the cayenne. I loved how simple these were and was impressed with how far this recipe elevated a very unimpressive jar of bland pickle chips.

“Pulled pork! Pulled pork!” That’s what these barbecue pickles seemed to call out as I was tasting them. I was surprised at how good these pickles are. They sure are tangy with a nice level of heat and the flavor had indeed developed by the third day. They went well with that pulled pork that I made to satisfy the calling. I’m looking forward to seeing how they will work with a burger, and I think that they would be marvelous with a fried chicken sandwich with coleslaw. I use Vlasic dill pickle chips and Tapatio Hot Sauce.

Each and every holiday season my mom makes her “Sweet and Spicy Pickles” to give to neighbors, friends, and family members alike. And each year I gleefully await my jar. They don’t last too long in our fridge because I love to enjoy them in fried chicken sandwiches and even as an accompaniment on a cheese and meat board for an appetizer.

Having run out of my jar of my Mom’s pickles a couple months ago, I was excited to make this variation to restock my fridge…and to calm my spicy pickle craving. I love my mom’s version of pickles, but what drew me to this specific recipe is the quick nature of their chilling time. My mom’s recipe has her flipping jars and stirring pickles for about a week total, but in this recipe, all you need is 3 days. Hands-on time is minimal here (yes, 10 minutes is correct).

I used Publix Dill Pickle Chips, which were thicker cut than the photo above. My favorite hot sauce is Tabasco sauce so that was my sauce of choice. I enjoyed the ratio of sugar, pickle juice, and spiciness here.

I think they’re best described as “candied” and I’d be curious to try this brine mixture over blanched carrots, radishes, maybe even hot peppers. Overall, I really liked the quick-pickling idea behind these pickles and will be enjoying them very much over the next month or so!

About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.

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    1. I’m not completely certain about what you’re asking, Paula. You want to add barbecue sauce to the pickle mixture? It wouldn’t hurt the mixture at all but it would change the flavor significantly. You’d have much sweeter pickles rather than hot tangy ones.