When we first moved to our house about six months ago, so much was going on that we temporarily started eating dinner much later than normal. Not that we were burning any midnight oil, but Steve was regularly getting home from work at 8:30p.m. or later, and if by that point we hadn’t figured out what we were having for dinner (which did occasionally happen because lets be honest, I’m not winning any awards for organization) we were completely screwed. That is, unless we’re interested in Denny’s or IHOP (we weren’t). It was even our personal experience in that time that some places that are supposed to close by 9pm will regularly close even earlier without notice if they feel like it.
Real Urban Barbecue is just down the street from us and was one of the only places we could reliably count on to stay open until 9pm that wasn’t a fine dining restaurant (of which there are many) or a bar (of which there are few, many of which are attached to fine dining restaurants). This was the main reason we went there the first time, but now we keep going back because it is actually just a great place that has delicious food. We love their pulled pork and that they always have a variety of sauces (plus whatever their seasonal sauce happens to be at the time). They also serve “Brain Buster Pickles,” which are basically sweet and spicy (emphasis on the spicy) pickle chips that are incredibly addictive. I’m generally more of a dill pickle girl — my Jewish heritage requires me to feel this way. But even I can’t deny how great they are, and Steve loves these. Possibly more than anything else there.
This lead me to try to come up with a reasonable copy at home, with the spice dialed down a bit. I can do some spice, and I prefer these to have some, but really the overpowering heat just prevents me from eating as many as I’d like, which is more than two. I think I managed to get the flavor to be a pretty spot on replication. You can always add more spice to taste, but you can’t take away, so I erred toward a lighter dose of red pepper flakes which gets spicier over time.
Sweet and Spicy Pickle Chips
Inspired by the Brain Buster Pickles at Real Urban Barbecue
If you have a mandolin slicer, you can use this to cut up the cucumbers. Real Urban’s pickles are, I think, obviously cut with a professional slicer. Or someone just a lot more skilled than I am. But it’s not really important — cut them any way you like. You can add some cayenne pepper to make these hotter, but I would add very little, as the brine will get more spicy the longer it sits in the fridge.
1 lb pickling or mini cucumbers
2 cups of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup of sugar
1 heaping tablespoon of honey
2 tablespoons of salt
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
1/2 a teaspoon of turmeric
1/2 a teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Slice your cucumbers, then place in a large bowl or a mason jar. In a saucepan, heat the cider vinegar, sugar, honey, water, salt, mustard seeds, turmeric, and red pepper flakes to a boil. Let boil for one minute, then remove from the heat and pour over the sliced cucumbers. Cool for a few minutes, then cover and place in the refrigerator. The pickles will be ready to eat after about a day or two. The longer you let them sit, the more spice will develop, but I’m betting they won’t last very long.