Pickled Red Onions

Eat at any authentic barbecue restaurant that serves your food on an aluminum tray with a sheet of peach paper, and one of the items you'll often spy on that tray is a small pile of pickled red onions. It's the perfect choice for adding a bit of tang to your meal. Snobs will tell you how wonderful it is for "cleansing the palate." Snob or not, you have to make some pickled red onions for your own dining at home. It's unbelievably simple.




  1. Thinly slice the onion. Using a mandoline will help to ensure consistent thickness.

  2. Add all the ingredients except the onions into a small saucepan, stir, and bring to a boil. Turn off the heat, then add the sliced onions to the saucepan, making sure they are covered by the brine.

  3. Let sit for 10 minutes before moving the onions to the mason jar. Pour enough brine from the saucepan into the jar to cover the onions.

  4. Let sit at room temperature for an hour or so before placing the jar in the refrigerator. Your onions will be ready in 24 hours.


  1. You may find some guidance on the interwebasphere for making pickled red onions suggesting that you should use the finest wine vinegar available. Nonsense. We are talking barbecue here, not haute cuisine.

  2. Similarly, resist the temptation to add any additional herbs or spices in order to create Mexican or Cajun or Spicy red pickled onions if you are making them as an accompaniment to barbecue. The point here is to keep it simple.

  3. If you wish to make pickled red onions that are not quite as soft as this recipe produces, allow the brine to cool before adding the onion. Needless to say, the cooler the brine, the crispier the onions. Feel free to experiment in order to get the texture you want. However, we found that putting the onions into the hot brine produced just the right amount of crispness.

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