This easy recipe makes a nice, crisp, deli-style pickle.
Prepare brine in a clean container. Whisk together vinegar, salt, sugar, and 8 c. of water. Whisk until salt and sugar are dissolved. Set aside.
Wash cucumbers. Trim ends if desired. For spears: halve and quarter. For slices: slice cucumbers by hand, with mandoline, or food processor. Slices should be no thinner than 1/4".
Pack cucumbers into one gallon jar. Spears must be stacked neatly but not packed overly tight. Slices are scooped in by the handful and can be settled by shaking.
Add garlic, dill, and hot pepper (if desired). Add brine. Cap and shake for one minute. Loosen cap, top up to brim with up to three additional cups of water, if necessary.
Recap and tighten lid. Sit jar in a cool place (not the refrigerator) for 24 hours. Never leave in hot sun or hot room above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. After 24 hours, refrigerate.
Pickles are ready after 24 hours but are best after a week or two.