I’m Gross, But People Who Are Not Gross Can Also Enjoy This Peanut Butter & Pickle Sandwich

I approached this how I always approach things -- drunkenly with science.
Publish date:
December 31, 2012
food, science, peanut butter, pickles

Hey, guys, let’s just get this out in the open: I will eat pretty much anything. Those white chocolate and peppermint Pringles? Ate ‘em. Internal organs? Yum. One of my co-workers had a liver pudding sandwich the other day. I had some of it. It wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad and now I know what liver pudding tastes like, sooo check and mate.

Now, the sandwich at hand: Peanut Butter & Pickles. You guys probably are wondering, “Why?” -- which is fair. My sister wondered the same thing on Facebook. This sparked a debate about the state of my uterus, which I should have seen coming. Later on, my sister commented that she would probably like me more if I had a baby, but I digress.

Anyballz, when I read this article a few months ago about the PB&P sandwich, I was intrigued. Peanut butter and pickles were described as a “cultish” favorite when placed between two pieces of bread, and if I’m going to join a cult, it might as well be centered around a sandwich. I mean, listen to the language used to describe this thing:

“The vinegary snap of chilled pickle cuts, like a dash of irony, against the stoic unctuousness of peanut butter. The sandwich is a thrifty and unacknowledged American classic.”

How can I not? Irony is probably delicious. Not as sweet as revenge -- tangier, most likely. I will admit that I had no idea what “unctuousness” meant. It means “greasy.”

I could have just bought the basic hamburger slices, as suggested by Mr. Garner, but I wanted to make the best peanut butter and pickle sandwich possible. So I approached this how I always approach things -- drunkenly with science.

I went to Publix and bought All of The Pickles. Well, five of the pickles. Luckily, there was a BOGO.

I used JIF peanut butter and plain white bread. Why not mix it up with different types of PB and bread? Because, in science we only change ONE VARIABLE AT A TIME. Also, JIF is fantastic and white bread is fantastic so, why? I toasted the bread, too. Obviously, guys.

Fun Fact: Toast is delicious because of a non-enzymatic browning reaction called Maillard browning. It is also responsible for delicious roasted meats, chocolate and maple syrup. SCIENCE.

Let’s take this one pickle at a time:

1. BA-TAMPTE Half Sour

These are your basic Jewish Deli Pickles. They are really not that pickled and have more of a pure cucumber flavor. The Half Sours provided crunch and saltiness, but not much else. This sandwich was not un-enjoyable. I would eat it again. I did have to slice the pickles with my mandolin. You can cut your fingers off with this bitch, so use the guard.

Before we move on to the next pickle, let’s cover assembly:

Start with a medium layer of peanut butter (your bread is toasted at this point, obvs).

Next, add a monolayer of sliced pickles.

Finally, close her up!


2. Clausen Kosher Dill

Guys, I really enjoyed this sandwich. I though the garlic would make it awful, but I will probably eat this when I get home from work today. The peanut butter really tones down the acidity of the pickle, so a strong, vinegary pickle is the way to go. On a scale from 1-10, I give this a “what a magical world.”

3. BA-TAMPTE Bread & Butter

Strictly as a pickle, on its own merits, I did not love this pickle. They were too sweet. Just a little more acidity would have really helped this little guy out. BUT, paired with peanut butter, it was like a cucumber jam with some sweet onions. I’m sure you’re wondering if I actually put onions on this already confused sandwich.

You bet your sweet ass I did. It was good, too.

Even my husband, the man with the palate of a 12-year-old who doesn’t like “weird” food, liked this sandwich. Look at his surprised face!

4. Mt. Olive Hamburger Dill Chips

The classic. It is similar to the Clausen, but cheaper tasting. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Like Kraft Singles and bologna on white bread (with mayo), the cheap is part of the charm. I think this sandwich could really be elevated with some bacon. But again, we must only change one variable at a time -- because of science.

5. Mt. Olive Spicy Bread & Butter

Now, it could be because this was my fifth PB&B sandwich, but this was my least favorite. I was disappointed, because spicy flavor +peanut butter flavor = Thai food flavor, right? Wrong. It did not. Maybe it was the wrong kind of spice. Maybe there are other, better spicy pickles out there. I’m not going to give up on this, guys. I’m going to find a spicy pickle that will work. I’m sure being on my fifth creation didn’t help, though.

It’s safe to say that my favorite was the Clausen Kosher Dill. As I mentioned earlier, the creamy goodness of the peanut butter really holds its own against strong, acidic flavors. Another awesome thing is that the acid (acetic acid, by the by) keeps the peanut butter from sticking to the roof of your mouth. This is great because you don’t have to drink milk to unstick it!

This is in turn great because milk and pickles would be awful together -- though really, maybe it wouldn’t because I just ate FIVE PEANUT BUTTER AND PICKLE SANDWICHES and loved (with the exception of that last one) them all.

When I started talking to you guys way back when at the top of this article, I mentioned that I am gross. I stand by that. But, I would like to posit that some who is not gross could enjoy this sandwich. My husband did. This is huge. He has a low tolerance for putting gross things in his mouth (heh heh) and won’t even try a crab wonton because of the tiny bits of crab. This is insane because:

  • It’s fried.
  • Cream cheese.

My point is this: He’s a picky motherfucker and if he liked it there is a good chance you won’t hate it. I would also use the fact that my dog likes it as an argument in favor of these things, but she follows the cat around like he’s a vending machine.

SO. Would you guys try this? Is there another kind of pickle I should experiment with (dirty)? Should I put bacon on it?

You don’t need to answer that last one, the answer is always “yes."