While the need to pickle eggs died out sometime long before I could pick up a dozen for under $2 at any hour any day of the year, the desire to make the perfect inexpensive pairing for a pint of beer will always live on.
In recent years, pickling has moved beyond the shelf-stable sweet gherkins once found at your local supermarket to something actually trendy and, dare I say it, hipsterish. But I’m not sure pickled eggs have caught up to the rest of the pickled pack.
Knowing that if trendy pickled eggs existed, they’d exist in Brooklyn, I Googled exactly that. But what showed up were not local producers, but rather posts to online forums asking where craft egg-deprived Brooklynites could find the deliciously vinegary orbs.
There’s a bar up in Oswego called Front Door Tavern that I would visit during my college days that served pickled eggs for 50 cents a pop.
Located on the opposite side of town from the college, the beer can-lined bar, best known to college students as the start of Bridge Street Run, is a neighborhood drinking hole in every sense of the word. It’s severely underrated the other 364 days of the year, but that’s a story for another day.
I like my pickled eggs to pack a punch, so I use malt vinegar. I’ve seen some recipes that use only malt vinegar, but I’ve found that a 2-to-1 ratio of white vinegar to malt vinegar seems to work just right. Malt vinegar is expensive if you buy it in the 12-ounce shaker top bottles at the supermarket, but if purchased in bulk, it’s pretty cheap. A half-gallon can be had for about $3.50, enough for eight batches.
Perfectly Pickled Malt Vinegar Eggs
- 1 dozen large eggs.
- 2 cups white vinegar.
- 1 cup malt vinegar.
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns.
- 1 teaspoon red chili flakes.
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt.
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled.
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 3 quarts water.
- Bring water to boil in a large pot. I use J. Kenji López-Alt’s method for boiled eggs. Because I cooked all 12 eggs at once, I increased the boil time to a full minute and upped the simmer time to 12 minutes.
- When eggs are cooked, gently take out of pot and immediately place into a bowl of ice water. Let sit for 15 to 20 minutes before peeling. I’ve found eggs that start cooking in boiling water, rather than cold water and then heated, are easier to peel.
- While the eggs are cooling, combine the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil.
- When eggs are cooled and peeled, gently place into clean mason jars.
- Top jars with the brine, making sure to cover the eggs. Store refrigerated. The eggs will be ready to eat in about a week and last up to six months.