Google Michael Hilburger, and one of the first things that pops into the feed is a link to his teething rusk story. The next,a definition ‘picklehead-a person (usually male) who has a fully shaven head that resembles the shape of a pickled onion’. Thirdly, you’ll find reference to his up and coming reality television personality status–yes, the bearded, Shank Brothers Barbecue team member will soon be gracing the
screen as part of a certain free to air television series Aussie BBQ Heroes. Two out of three ain’t bad. The teething rusk story, he swears, is true. As is the up and coming reality TV show. But in real like, Mike –
Mikey to his mates –is as far from a picklehead in appearance as possible.
The burly, bearded BBQ lover gave himself to pickledom long ago. Armed with a tweaked version of his Czech mothers original family recipe, Mike found himself unable to keep up with the requests for his dill-icious little cuckes. By 2012, Picklehead pickles were out and proud in the Brisbane marketplace. “We now whack out 30 kilograms a fortnight ”, offers Mikey. “We can’t keep up with the demand”. Every batch boasts hand sourced local cucumbers – always cut lengthways to give maximum crunch – and locally grown dill, chilies and garlic whenever possible. “Our pickles are preservative free and made to order” says Mikey. “No produce means no pickles, so supply can be a bit sporadic at times”. Each batch is infused in a brine of apple cider or malt vinegar.
The pickles have as much personality as Mike himself. There’s the New York Style dill, the chilli-infused Hot Patootie, a garlic-heady Bronx Vanilla, smoky Billy Bobs, and malty Swamp in the range – and Mikey is far from finished coming up with varietals. “I only use the traditional, time honoured method of home pickling”, he explains, “which means every season is open to new flavours. Who knows what will be up next?”
Mikey says working with Rallings has been easy. “I love that Rallings keep local, are easy to work with, and keep things real. The response time is fantastic, too” .
Oh – and the teething rusk story? As we said, Mikey swears it’s true. You’ll have to google it for yourself.