I’m thrilled to bring you a recipe today that’s a beloved staple in our household, the Grilled Bacon Pimento Cheese sandwich. Just the aroma of bacon grilling sends my two boys scampering into the kitchen, their eyes wide with anticipation.
My other half is well-acquainted with this gooey pleasure, occasionally pilfering a bacon strip from the barbecue when he thinks my gaze has wandered elsewhere.
This toasted delight, packed with sizzling bacon, fiery jalapeño pimento cheese, and bread grilled to golden perfection, is not merely a dish.
It’s an appetizing voyage that weaves the threads of my family closer, and I’m thrilled to bring you into this shared joy.
So, without dawdling, we’ll embark on the crafting of this mouthwatering treat. Get ready to be smitten with every morsel!
Understanding Pimento Cheese: A Southern Staple
Pimento cheese, it’s a revelation if you’re a first-timer. Think of it as the South’s answer to caviar. Humble, heartwarming, and a long-standing star of dining tables far and wide.
Put simply, pimento cheese is a culinary combo! It’s got cheddar with an attitude, a dollop of mayonnaise, and the sweetness of pimentos.
The resulting mix? An irresistible harmony of creamy, tangy, with a whisper of sweetness, capable of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary.
The magic truly unfolds when this spread comes into contact with crispy bacon slices, snuggled between slices of lusciously buttered bread. It’s sandwich alchemy.
In our household, the boys are fascinated by the speckled allure of the spread, while my husband savors the jalapeños’ zestful punch. The brilliance of pimento cheese lies in its adaptability.
You’re the maestro. Modify the flavors to meet your preference, tailoring it into a crowd-pleaser that’s just right for our signature grilled sandwich.
Now that you’re acquainted with the pimento cheese phenomenon, let’s embark on the culinary journey of assembling our Grilled Bacon Pimento Cheese sandwich.
Key Ingredients of our Grilled Delight
The beauty of our Grilled Bacon Pimento Cheese sandwich lies in its simplicity. Just three main ingredients, each playing a significant role in creating a symphony of flavors.
- Thick-cut Bacon: This is the heart of our sandwich. The smokey, savoury flavour of the bacon gives a delicious contrast to the other ingredients. My husband has been caught on more than one occasion sneaking a slice or two straight off the grill, and my boys adore the crunch that each bite brings!
- Bread: A good sandwich begins and ends with good bread. We prefer a sturdy, sour dough bread that can hold up to the filling and grilling without losing its shape. Not only does it add a hearty texture to our sandwich, but it also absorbs some of the bacon’s flavor, making every bite even more delicious.
- Jalapeño Pimento Cheese: The star of the show is absolutely this cheese spread. It gives the dish a creamy, spicily, and subtly sweet flavor. The crunchy bacon provides a great contrast to its silky texture, and the bread helps to temper its heat.
While these are our go-to ingredients, the beauty of this sandwich is its flexibility. Can’t find good bread? A good sourdough or even a classic white bread can do the trick.
Not a fan of spicy food? Opt for a traditional pimento cheese without jalapeños. The goal is to make a sandwich that you and your family will enjoy, so feel free to make it your own.
Whether you have dietary restrictions or simply lack certain ingredients, knowing how to substitute key components in the Grilled Bacon Pimento Cheese Sandwich can be helpful. Here are some alternatives:
- Whole Grain or Sourdough: If you prefer a different type of bread, both whole grain and sourdough are excellent options that offer unique flavors and textures.
- Turkey Bacon or Tempeh Bacon: For a lower-fat or vegetarian option, turkey bacon or tempeh bacon can be used in place of regular bacon.
- Cheddar and Roasted Red Peppers: If pimento cheese is unavailable, a mixture of shredded cheddar cheese and finely chopped roasted red peppers can serve as a substitute.
- Vegan Cheese: For a dairy-free option, various brands offer vegan cheese that can be mixed with plant-based mayonnaise and roasted red peppers to create a vegan pimento cheese.
- Olive Oil or Avocado Oil: For a dairy-free or healthier fat option, you can brush the bread with olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter.
Mayonnaise in Pimento Cheese
- Greek Yogurt or Avocado: For a lighter version, Greek yogurt can replace mayonnaise. Avocado provides a dairy-free alternative with healthy fats.
Grilling the Perfect Sandwich: A Step-by-step Guide
After touching on the ingredients, it only makes sense to discuss how to really cook our sandwich! Here is where the magic happens, and our ingredients combine to create a delectable dish.
Step 1: Preheat and Prepare
Start by preheating your grill to medium-high heat. This is crucial for achieving that perfect sear on our sandwiches later. As the grill heats up, gather all your ingredients and have them ready.
This is a quick process, and you don’t want to be hunting for your cheese spread while your bread is toasting.
Step 2: Sizzling Bacon
Once your grill is heated, it’s time for the bacon. The slices should be spread out in a cast iron skillet and cooked, regularly turning them, until they are as crispy as you prefer.
When ready, transfer them to a paper towel-lined plate. In our home, this is the step when the boys start hovering, drawn by the mouthwatering aroma.
Step 3: Assemble and Grill
Take the bread slices and generously smear two of them with pimento cheese. The remaining slices of bread should be layered with cheese and cooked bacon to create sandwiches.
Carefully place each sandwich onto the hot skillet, pressing down gently with a spatula.
Step 4: Watch and Wait
Pay close attention to your sandwiches. Check the underside after a few minutes; you want to find a golden-brown color and a crispy texture.
Step 5: Serve and Savor
With both sides perfectly grilled, your sandwiches are ready. Remove them from the skillet, slice each one in half, and serve.
Remember, the key to a great grilled sandwich is a balance between patience and vigilance. Watch carefully, but give your sandwich the time it needs to reach grilled cheese perfection.
Variations for Toppings
Like the sun-dappled leaves of autumn, the world of sandwich toppings is full of vibrant, flavorful variations! Each adding its unique layer of complexity to the humble but mighty grilled bacon pimento cheese sandwich.
Here, we are about to explore a constellation of enticing additions that you can whisk into your sandwich assembly, each promising to elevate it into a gastronomic masterpiece.
We shall commence our journey with the tomatoes. Sweet and tart, bursting with vibrant color and juicy charisma, they offer a refreshing counterpoint to the smoky bacon.
A ripe, red tomato slice placed with care between the hot, crispy bread can lend your sandwich a splendid balance. The faintly acidic tang dancing a tantalizing tango with the creamy, robust pimento cheese.
Avocados, the buttery gems of the fruit world, are our next stop. When thinly sliced or mashed into a luscious spread, these green marvels bring forth a delightful creaminess that cozies up to the bacon and cheese like a long-lost friend.
A layer of avocado is more than a topping, it’s a silken whisper of luxury that adds an element of sophistication to our sandwich.
Kimchi, on the other hand, boldly ventures where no typical sandwich topping has gone before. This fiery Korean delicacy, imbued with a complex depth of flavors that range from sour to spicy. It can add an unexpected, electrifying zing to your sandwich.
Imagine the crunch of fermented cabbage, the umami undertones of garlic and chili, shaking up the mellowness of the pimento cheese. It’s not merely a topping, it’s an adventure for the taste buds!
Ham or Pulled Pork
Finally, for those with a hankering for a meatier twist, allow me to suggest smoked pulled ham or pulled pork belly.
Imagine the deep, smoky aroma of the slow-cooked meat, its tender strands offering a hearty mouthfeel.
This addition transforms your sandwich from a casual lunchtime fare into an extravagant feast, a true meat lover’s delight.
Storage and Shelf Life
When it comes to savoring the Grilled Bacon Pimento Cheese Sandwich, freshness is key.
However, if you find yourself with leftovers or want to prepare them in advance, proper storage is crucial. Here’s how to keep your sandwiches tasting great for as long as possible:
If you’re planning to eat the sandwich within a few hours, it’s fine to keep it at room temperature. However, due to the perishable ingredients like bacon and cheese, it’s not advisable to leave it out for extended periods.
For storage up to 2 days, the refrigerator is your best bet. Wrap the sandwich tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container. This will help maintain its flavor and texture.
For longer storage, you can freeze the sandwich for up to a month. To do this, wrap each sandwich individually in plastic wrap and then place them in a ziplock bag.
Make sure to squeeze out as much air as possible to prevent freezer burn. Label the bag with the date so you’ll know how long they’ve been stored.
To reheat a refrigerated sandwich, you can use a toaster oven or a regular oven preheated to 350°F. Place the sandwich on a baking sheet and heat for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the bread is crispy.
For frozen sandwiches, it’s best to thaw them in the refrigerator overnight before reheating. Follow the same reheating instructions as for a refrigerated sandwich, but extend the time to 20–25 minutes.
Grilled Bacon Pimento Cheese
- 8 Slices Thick cut bacon Dice if you prefer.
- 4 Pieces Bread Sourdough or sandwich
- 1 Cup Mild Jalapeño Pimento Cheese
- 3 Tbsp Butter
- Start by cranking up your grill to a medium-high temperature. Ensure all your ingredients are within arm's reach because this dish whips up in no time.
- Once the grill is heated, position a cast iron skillet over the coals. It's bacon time now.
- Lay out the bacon slices in the skillet and let them sizzle and cook as the skillet continues to heat.
- Keep flipping them every few minutes until you achieve your preferred level of crispness.
- When they're perfectly cooked, transfer the bacon to a paper towel-covered plate.
- Take two slices of your chosen bread and place them in the skillet. These slices will become the crispy tops of your sandwiches.
- After about two minutes, lift a corner using a spatula to check if they're toasted to your liking. If you prefer, you can toast both sides.
- Now, with the remaining two bread slices, slather each with an even spread of the pimento cheese. Top this cheesy goodness with your cooked bacon.
- Carefully place each slice in the skillet to get the bread toasted. Once done, crown each with the previously toasted top slice, pressing down gently.
- After about two minutes, it's time for a quick check. Peek at the bottom of the sandwiches to see if they've toasted to your satisfaction.
- When your sandwiches are grilled to your heart's content, remove them from the skillet.
- Slice them up and serve.