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Cook & Nelson Conversations 02: Joe McClure, co-founder McClure’s Pickles - Cook & Nelson

Cook & Nelson Conversations 02: Joe McClure, co-founder McClure’s Pickles

Brothers Bob and Joe McClure can’t actually recall the first jar of pickles they made, having started when they were just toddlers helping their parents pickle during the summer months. The brother’s family were the guardians of a top-secret recipe handed down for generations and held by their Grandma Lala. The brothers were given this recipe and decided to pursue the family tradition and share Lala’s genius with the world producing and selling a range of small-batch pickles under the McClure’s name. Now the duo with support from family, including their parents, and friends have 30+ staff and jar more than two million jars of pickles every year from a converted former Ford Axle Factory in Detroit.  

What gets you out of bed each morning?
Worrying about fulfilling Cook and Nelson’s orders on time. Oh, and creating something people enjoy.

Favourite date night haunt?
Anything Mexican, In Detroit there is a fantastic California-style taco joint called Imperial with great tacos, fantastic margaritas and Sonoran Hot Dogs (The Sonoran hot dog is a style of hot dog that originated in Hermosillo, the capital of the Mexican state of Sonora, in the late 1980s It consists of a hot dog that is wrapped in bacon and grilled, served on a bolillo-style hot dog bun, and topped with pinto beans, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of additional condiments, often including mayonnaise, mustard, and jalapeño salsa). 

Favourite Cook & Nelson product and why?
My favourite Cook and Nelson product, aside from McClure’s, would be Seedlip. It provides a fantastic alternative to alcohol for the weekdays or the weekends

What are you reading right now?
The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy, it’s a classic but for some reason I never read it.


And watching?
Ozarks, deep and dark so I’m glad it’s only four seasons as much more and I’d have a panic attack.

Listening to (podcast / music or both)?
Bill Burr, one of the best stand-up comedians out there just ranting and complaining about everything around him for one straight hour, alone. 

Favourite destination – NZ?
I still have a lot of NZ to explore but I love Wellington. The vibe reminds me a bit of Brooklyn and Detroit.

Favourite holiday destination – anywhere in the world?
My favourite holiday destination would be The Caribbean. I haven’t been in a few years but hope to soon.

My ideal weekend is ...
My ideal weekend is up north in Michigan, summers with friends and family. We have a family plot (has been in the family for 30+ yrs) on Hubbard Lake in Northern Michigan. We have three small cabins with kitchenettes, lake front property and a nice pontoon boat. We're looking to remodel/rebuild one of the cabins in the next few years. There's a great brewery that opened up a few years back, Austin Brother Brewery, it's a good spot to grab a beer and a sandwich after a day of water skiing, swimming or fishing.

What's your guilty foodie pleasure? 
Classic Pepperoni pizza from anywhere (preferably NY style thin crust) but if you’re in Detroit try Supinos.

If you weren't running a hugely successful pickle empire, what would you do / be?
I would probably be in the academic world of science writing papers and conducting research. Or a stock broker (the complete opposite) 

What's your favourite kitchen hack? 
Getting the avocado seed out of the avocado with one hit of the knife, open the avocado in half, whack a large knife into the seed and it pulls out with the knife.

Your go-to cocktail/drink? 
My go-to cocktail is a Detroit classic, The Last Word: equal parts: gin, maraschino cherry liquor, lime juice, green chartreuse. The Last Word was first served at the Detroit Athletic Club, circa 1915. Created just before the start of Prohibition, likely by a bartender named Frank Fogarty, it’s one of the cocktail canon’s most successful Prohibition-era drinks.

One ingredient that you can't live without?
I can’t live without coarse black pepper. Love it on almost everything

Where do you draw inspiration from (personally & professionally)?
Most of my inspiration comes from friends, family and other businesses/business associates I admire. 

Current go to recipe
My go-to recipe for the last 6 years!  Rocket salad:  Rocket, shaved Parmesan Reggiano, sunflower seeds, black peppers, dried cranberries, olive oil, rice vinegar. It’s simple, easy and healthy.

Favourite dish (anywhere in the world)  
My all time favourite dish is hands down a classic Caesar Salad.  

Favourite website or social handle for foodie inspo
Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives with Guy Fieri! He’s hilarious but knows what he’s talking about in the foodie world.

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