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Walden Ponderer

Grilled Cheese: from the very basic to the very not basic

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I love grilled cheese sandwiches. Back when I was a poor undergrad flipping burgers for a living, dinner every night was two slices of Texas Toast slathered with butter and loaded with four cheddar slices, grilled onions, grilled jalapenos, and a tomato slice.

There are a lot of reasons we are moving to North Carolina, but the thing that sealed the deal was spending enough time in Raleigh to discover that the town is obsessed with grilled cheese sandwiches. There are more variations on just the grilled pimento sandwich there than I could possibly describe.

relish-grilled-pimento-cheese.jpg

 

My favorite is still pretty basic... the important thing is quality bread, quality cheese, enough butter, and a pinch of salt on the griddle.

Serve it up solo, or with tomato soup. Love, love, love grilled cheese.

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Basic grilled cheese with American cheese slices, white bread, and a shit ton of butter, with plain Lay's potato chips and dill pickle slices on the side is my happy place.

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what’s your opinion on using mayo on the bread instead of butter to get that golden brown?  spreading mayo on instead of butter and frying that side of the bread.  I’ve never done it, and only became aware of it after reading it on a shaggy thread.  but apparently some people say it’s better, and not because they’re anti-butter.  they just say it’s better.

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36 minutes ago, futureman said:

what’s your opinion on using mayo on the bread instead of butter to get that golden brown?  spreading mayo on instead of butter and frying that side of the bread.  I’ve never done it, and only became aware of it after reading it on a shaggy thread.  but apparently some people say it’s better, and not because they’re anti-butter.  they just say it’s better.

We had a housekeeper/babysitter type that used to make grilled cheese like that for my brother and me when we were kids. My palette was not yet refined enough to know any difference, all I know is that she made some bad ass grilled cheeses sandwiches. 

On another note, the DQ in my town would put a couple of pickle slices on top of their bread in the grilled cheese before they put it in the paper sandwich bag. I’m not sure if all DQs did this or if it was just my town, but that buttered bread soaked with a little bit of pickle juice right on top, almost always right in the middle, is one of those cherished things from my childhood that i don’t think I’ll ever be able to shake. 

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1 hour ago, futureman said:

what’s your opinion on using mayo on the bread instead of butter to get that golden brown?  spreading mayo on instead of butter and frying that side of the bread.  I’ve never done it, and only became aware of it after reading it on a shaggy thread.  but apparently some people say it’s better, and not because they’re anti-butter.  they just say it’s better.

My big question is do you really taste the mayo? I’ve heard it’s awesome but I fucking hate mayo.

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Great thread OP. Love grilled cheese sandwiches too. One of our favorites is when we finish the gc we throw some grated cheese down on the hot griddle and lay the sandwich down on that melted cheese, then flip and do the other side. It creates a hard crunchy texture with that burned cheese taste but the interior is still hot and gooey.

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8 hours ago, Deej said:

Basic grilled cheese with American cheese slices, white bread, and a shit ton of butter, with plain Lay's potato chips and dill pickle slices on the side is my happy place.

Is your happy place in a trailer park?

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5 minutes ago, WhatTheBuck said:

Is your happy place in a trailer park?

Nope. Grew up in the Seventies. They didn't have no fancy grilled cheese back them and the folks sure as hell weren't going to spend money on them for us kids. 

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7 minutes ago, Deej said:

Nope. Grew up in the Seventies. They didn't have no fancy grilled cheese back them and the folks sure as hell weren't going to spend money on them for us kids. 

Try using real cheese. It might blow your mind. 

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8 hours ago, futureman said:

what’s your opinion on using mayo on the bread instead of butter to get that golden brown?  spreading mayo on instead of butter and frying that side of the bread.  I’ve never done it, and only became aware of it after reading it on a shaggy thread.  but apparently some people say it’s better, and not because they’re anti-butter.  they just say it’s better.

God damn, now I'm jonesing for the grilled cheese at Cypress Bend in San Jac. I think I lived off those for 2 years while on campus. 

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8 hours ago, futureman said:

what’s your opinion on using mayo on the bread instead of butter to get that golden brown?  spreading mayo on instead of butter and frying that side of the bread.  I’ve never done it, and only became aware of it after reading it on a shaggy thread.  but apparently some people say it’s better, and not because they’re anti-butter.  they just say it’s better.

I had Mrs Landomatic try this last time she made grilled cheese after I’d heard about it here (I’m guessing I read the same thing on here that you did).  She makes a pretty badass one so I thought it was a good test.  Neither of us could taste any difference at all.  Wasn’t better, wasn’t worse, wasn’t more convenient, nothing.  So I came away with it’s just good to know they’re interchangeable if you’re ever out of stock on one.

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what’s your opinion on using mayo on the bread instead of butter to get that golden brown?  spreading mayo on instead of butter and frying that side of the bread.  I’ve never done it, and only became aware of it after reading it on a shaggy thread.  but apparently some people say it’s better, and not because they’re anti-butter.  they just say it’s better.


I’ve never done that but I spray the pan with olive oil instead of butter. It creates an even perfectly toasted crust without being greasy.

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57 minutes ago, Landomatic said:

wasn’t more convenient

Do you usually have softened butter on hand? Kudos if so

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1 minute ago, Hank_Hill said:

Do you usually have softened butter on hand? Kudos if so

Yes, we keep a ceramic butter dish on the counter which always contains a room temperature stick of butter.  Wife had it when I met her and I've wondered how I ever lived without it since.  Highly recommend, not just for grilled cheese, but for everything where soft butter is preferred to hard butter (which is just about everything).  Looks something like this...

0d13842b-cd90-45b1-8a85-92883234c21c_1.f

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I use butter on the grilling side, and a healthy amount of mayo on the interior of the sourdough.  I may even put a few drops of lemon juice on the bread while grilling before applying the mayo. Throw on some regular sharp cheddar cheese and I'm in heaven.

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Yes, we keep a ceramic butter dish on the counter which always contains a room temperature stick of butter.  Wife had it when I met her and I've wondered how I ever lived without it since.  Highly recommend, not just for grilled cheese, but for everything where soft butter is preferred to hard butter (which is just about everything).  Looks something like this...
0d13842b-cd90-45b1-8a85-92883234c21c_1.fdb6b1cd7e368fff495e3e6c2eb296ff.jpeg?odnHeight=450&odnWidth=450&odnBg=FFFFFF


We do that too. Don’t know why you wouldn’t? Workaround is to put cold butter on hot skillet and let it melt before slapping bread directly on the butter puddle.

I haz sad that Highland Park Pharmacy is no more. Loved their plain-jane old school grilled cheese. So damn good. Thomas Keller’s elevated grilled cheese is brioche bread and gruyere cheese — sounds pretty awesome.

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12 hours ago, Deej said:

Basic grilled cheese with American cheese slices, white bread, and a shit ton of butter, with plain Lay's potato chips and dill pickle slices on the side is my happy place.

this is pretty much where i end up.  i have tried all different kinds of stuff from fancy cheeses, vegetables - i did one once with a thick slice of pate and sliced cornichons, it was way too rich - and ultimately, my favorite is sourdough bread with white american and swiss slices, served with plain lays, and pickles (i usually go dill and b&b slices).  i think some of it is the nostalgia of that way (minus the swiss) was a fairly regular meal as a kid.

related question:  wheat/rye bread is, far more times than not, better than white bread (for sandwiches, anyway).  so why do wheat and rye bread suck so much ass compared to white for grilled cheeses?  its weird.

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25 minutes ago, Jack Straw said:

related question:  wheat/rye bread is, far more times than not, better than white bread (for sandwiches, anyway).  so why do wheat and rye bread suck so much ass compared to white for grilled cheeses?  its weird.

I think the white bread lets the butter shine through and also gets a better crispiness to it. 

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4 hours ago, miguelito said:

GCDC in DC is worth the trip.  Check out the menu for ideas:

http://grilledcheesedc.com/evening/

 

And just yesterday I was watching Carnival Eats, and someone had a grilled cheese sandwich with goat cheese and blueberries.  That sounded interesting.

I hadn't thought about it before, but dessert cheeses could potentially make for some interesting sandwich possibilities. Wensleydale, for example. Or maybe mascarpone with strawberries on toasted brioche rolls.

Mostly I think of savory with cheese, but sweet could work, too.

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Been trying to cut back on the carbs and sandwiches have been few and far between, may need to make an exception this weekend. 

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53 minutes ago, Jack Straw said:

related question:  wheat/rye bread is, far more times than not, better than white bread (for sandwiches, anyway).  so why do wheat and rye bread suck so much ass compared to white for grilled cheeses?  its weird.

In my experience, wheat and rye are good for when you are going for a grittier texture -- they crust up especially well with salt and the aforementioned shredded cheese atop the skillet applied to the exterior of the sandwich. In general, though, white breads (including sourdough) are better at giving you that crunchy exterior and soft interior that makes a grilled cheese so especially satisfying.

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27 minutes ago, baboso said:

 

Came here to post that. It was a really damned good sammich and I went through 4 briskets making those things on Sunday.

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51 minutes ago, Walden Ponderer said:

In my experience, wheat and rye are good for when you are going for a grittier texture -- they crust up especially well with salt and the aforementioned shredded cheese atop the skillet applied to the exterior of the sandwich. In general, though, white breads (including sourdough) are better at giving you that crunchy exterior and soft interior that makes a grilled cheese so especially satisfying.

Sourdough ftmfw

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58 minutes ago, Walden Ponderer said:

In my experience, wheat and rye are good for when you are going for a grittier texture -- they crust up especially well with salt and the aforementioned shredded cheese atop the skillet applied to the exterior of the sandwich. In general, though, white breads (including sourdough) are better at giving you that crunchy exterior and soft interior that makes a grilled cheese so especially satisfying.

yeahscience.gif

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2 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

Y'all need to gtfo with these sandwiches containing meat. Ain't grilled cheese once you start throwing meat on there.

The grammar nazi in me agrees with you. The hungry guy in me says "So what?"

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23 hours ago, ChampKind said:

Came here to post that. It was a really damned good sammich and I went through 4 briskets making those things on Sunday.

Almost got that on Sunday.  Opted for the cornbread waffle instead.  Probably not a wrong decision either way. 

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Made the one from Chef and the Jon Favreau Netflix show.  Tangy, but pretty damn good. White Chedder,  Yellow Chedder, Parmesan, and Gruyere in Sourdough.  

Damn I'm craving it again.  

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3 minutes ago, Chico_SA said:

Made the one from Chef and the Jon Favreau Netflix show.  Tangy, but pretty damn good. White Chedder,  Yellow Chedder, Parmesan, and Gruyere in Sourdough.  

Damn I'm craving it again.  

On a side note, that show is oddly watchable.  Wanted to hate it.  Kept wanting to shut it off.  Couldn’t.  Weird.

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On 7/8/2019 at 9:33 AM, Landomatic said:

Yes, we keep a ceramic butter dish on the counter which always contains a room temperature stick of butter.  Wife had it when I met her and I've wondered how I ever lived without it since.  Highly recommend, not just for grilled cheese, but for everything where soft butter is preferred to hard butter (which is just about everything).  Looks something like this... 

0d13842b-cd90-45b1-8a85-92883234c21c_1.f

This was a life changer for me when I met my wife. They are from England its just what they did. Should put this in the Trivial things that please the shit out of me thread.

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2 hours ago, Landomatic said:

On a side note, that show is oddly watchable.  Wanted to hate it.  Kept wanting to shut it off.  Couldn’t.  Weird.

The movie "Chef" was awesome. They went to Franklin IIRC.

Edited by C-Man

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3 hours ago, Landomatic said:

On a side note, that show is oddly watchable.  Wanted to hate it.  Kept wanting to shut it off.  Couldn’t.  Weird.

Right?

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2 hours ago, HoustonHorn said:

This was a life changer for me when I met my wife. They are from England its just what they did. Should put this in the Trivial things that please the shit out of me thread.

they make a thing called tub butter for this.  you use it whenever you need to spread it.  then you use the stick butter for whenever you are sauteeing or need to melt it.  duh.

there's an entire cookbook out there on grilled cheese.  came out just a few years ago.  I didn't buy but I did check it out from the library.  she highly recommends mayo instead of butter.

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1 hour ago, C-Man said:

The movie "Chef" was awesome. They went to Franklin IIRC.

Correct and Franklin gets two episodes of the Chef Show.  Agree the show started off meh but I had to just watch it all partly knowing there was Austin/Franklin at the end.  Robert Rodriguez has a pretty baller pizza oven in his home kitchen.  It made me watch the movie which was great. 

 

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8 hours ago, NotActuallyALonghorn said:

Y'all need to gtfo with these sandwiches containing meat. Ain't grilled cheese once you start throwing meat on there.

I’m glad you brought this up because it’s something I sit and ponder quite a bit: when do the sandwich additions preclude the sandwich being called a “grilled cheese”?  e.g. one of my favorite sandwiches as a kid was at my friend’s mom’s house and she would put crispy bacon, cheese, and grilled onions on the bread and bake in the oven for a bit to properly melt the cheese and then fry it open faced in butter to get the crispy crust , then add sliced tomato and avocado before joining the two pieces of bread and all the accompanying goodness together into what she called her “grilled cheese special.”  and it was a fantastic sandwich but I always wanted to tell her that I didn’t know what it should be called but it sure as hell didn’t look like a grilled cheese to me. 

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I’m glad you brought this up because it’s something I sit and ponder quite a bit: when do the sandwich additions preclude the sandwich being called a “grilled cheese”?  e.g. one of my favorite sandwiches as a kid was at my friend’s mom’s house and she would put crispy bacon, cheese, and grilled onions on the bread and bake in the oven for a bit to properly melt the cheese and then fry it open faced in butter to get the crispy crust , then add sliced tomato and avocado before joining the two pieces of bread and all the accompanying goodness together into what she called her “grilled cheese special.”  and it was a fantastic sandwich but I always wanted to tell her that I didn’t know what it should be called but it sure as hell didn’t look like a grilled cheese to me. 

It's a grilled sandwich with cheese. Grilled cheese should consist of bread and cheese, and whatever fatty substance is used to fry it. I guess it should really be a fried cheese sandwich.

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Right?

Yeah I’m talking about the show on Netflix, not the movie.  The movie was pretty good for all the normal reasons movies are good.  The show is oddly just good enough in some weird way to keep me watching.  And while I’m watching I’m telling myself it sucks and he loves him some him and they’re not really teaching me how to cook all that well and why the hell am I watching this, but for some reason I get hooked.

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I know that's what you were talking about and I feel the same way about it. Shouldn't work, but it does.

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The show got me to finally watch the movie, as well. 

I just finished the show and am going to watch the movie tonight.  Really enjoyed the show.

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