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Cracking Down on Peppercorns

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2012

Here are two other ways to achieve coarsely cracked peppercorns, each about the size of a halved whole one.

With a good pepper mill such as our winning model, from Cole & Mason, grinding peppercorns to the perfect size for coating steaks or our Pepper-Crusted Beef Tenderloin Roast is easy. But even on their largest settings, many pepper mills create a grind size that’s too small, resulting in a crust that isn’t crunchy. Here are two other ways to achieve coarsely cracked peppercorns, each about the size of a halved whole one. Be sure to sift the cracked peppercorns before measuring to remove the finely ground particles (save them for another use).


BLENDER: Process 1 cup peppercorns (less volume doesn't work as well) in a blender on any speed until no whole ones remain.

  • Pros: Fast and Painless
  • Cons: Low yield, with about half of peppercorns turning to dust

 

SKILLET/POT: On cutting board, rock bottom edge of skillet over 2 tablespoons peppercorns until they crack. Repeat with more peppercorns.

  • Pros: Minimal Waste
  • Cons: Slow and arduous