If salt is Walter, pepper is Jesse. It adds that extra signature spice to every batch.
Before you continue reading, please do me a favor? Go through your spices, find the “Pure Ground Black Pepper” and THROW IT IN THE TRASH. RIGHT NOW. I’m not joking. It’s pure ground crap. Go ahead...
Now go treat yo' self to a pepper mill and some whole black peppercorns. This is the only way you should be peppering your food. It's also one of the easiest upgrades that makes a world of tasty difference.
With a proper mill, you can adjust the size of the grind. Much like salt and coffee, the size is dependent on how you will use it. Also like coffee, black pepper has the most potent and flavorful taste immediately after being ground (if you aren’t buying whole bean coffee and grinding it just before brewing, your doing that wrong too). You can read about the science of oxidation and why it robs you of flavor somewhere else on the internet, if your interested. The bottom line: always grind your pepper fresh.
You may be asking, “what if I need, like, 40lbs of ground pepper for the brisket rub I’m making?”. If you need a lot of pepper for a recipe, use a blade grinder. I use one for all kinds of whole spices. You don’t want to taint that big ol’ piece of meat with "pure ground cardboard shavings".
If you grind pepper fresh, your food will be more flavorful and your guests will notice. It’s the little things that add up to make amazing food!
Open your home, serve people, and keep cooking.