Top Moments of Chopped After Hours: Chefs in a Pickle

Chopped judges Marc Murphy, Alex Guarnaschelli and Geoffrey Zakarian cook with appetizer baskets from a recent pickle-themed episode.

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Photo By: Anders Krusberg

Pickleback Pairings

Utilizing a pickle-themed appetizer basket, judges Alex, Marc and Geoffrey cook with pickled pork, Brussels sprouts, clotted cream and a pickleback. But what is that? "A pickleback is something that you might have after hours," Marc explains. "It's a shot of whiskey followed by a shot of pickle juice. It feels like, to me, a warm BLT," he adds. "There's nothing better."

Ruling in the Land of Acidity

Ted, calling Alex the "empress of acidity," asks her what she thinks of the basket. "This is right up my alley," she says, gleaming. "All of these ingredients fall under the empress' domain," she adds with a sly look.

Mexican-Irish Fusion

"Because Aarón's not here, I'm going to use the flour tortillas, which should really upset him," jokes Marc. He's decided to make a pickled pork and bacon taco. But when Ted brings Marc a bottle of whiskey, the chef can't help but let out his Irish side, taking a swig for himself and adding some to his taco filling.

On-the-Fly Creativity

"I'm making a cross between a Reuben and a Monte Cristo," explains Geoffrey, coining it a "Streuben." He also cooks the pickled pork with bacon like Marc, but Geoffrey turns his sprouts and pickleback into a slaw. "I know it's just amazing how much stuff I can come up with on the fly," he says snarkily.

Taking It in a Really Different Direction

Alex goes an entirely different direction, cooking a pork pickleback miso soup. "I'm going to look for this pork for the potential it has for great texture in this soup," she says, explaining her reason for grinding the pork along with pancetta, which she then sautes. The clotted cream and some soy sauce fortifies her broth.

Special Pickle Delivery

"I see green in the room," Ted says when an assistant director makes an unexpected entrance dressed as a pickle mascot. "I'm putting this right in my dish," Alex says as he goes around to each workstation, offering the judges a pickle.

Secret Sandwich Trick

"Mama never made a sandwich like that," says Geoffrey, placing his Streubens on the panini press. He uses the clotted cream, mixed with some mayonnaise, to spread on the outside of the bread to get a showstopping crisp exterior.

Raising a Glass, Requesting a Glass

"Let's raise our glasses and lower our expectations," Geoffrey jokes before his fellow judges and Ted go in for the tasting. "I grew up across the street from a deli," Alex says as she tastes Geoffrey's sandwich. "This tastes like that." Marc's one request is that Geoffrey should have served a shot of whiskey on the side for the perfect pairing. "Haven't you had enough whiskey already?" Ted asks. "That was actually tea in that bottle," Marc claims.

The Best at What They Do

"Unusual flavors, very comforting at the same time," says Geoffrey upon tasting Alex's soup, joking "miso happy." He figures half of his sandwich would make a great pairing with the soup. "That'd be a good dunk," she says, agreeing. "You get the pickle, you get the pork, you get the smoke," Geoffrey says, complimenting Marc's taco. "Ted, it just goes to prove how good we really are here," Geoffrey adds.

Watch More Chopped After Hours

Catch up on previous After Hours web-exclusive videos, and visit Food Network's Chopped page for more insider coverage of the show.

Chopped After Hours