Tips for Making Great Grilled Cheese from The Grilled Cheese Invitational

The Grilled Cheese Invitational in Los Angeles, California is a yearly festival that brings both amateur and professional chefs together to compete to see who makes the best grilled cheese.  From the classic bread, butter and cheese sandwich, to bizarre dessert grilled cheeses, these competitors made it all.  This year 150 competitors made over 750 grilled cheeses for a hungry crowd of people who served as judges.

Tips for Making Great Grilled Cheese

Grilled cheese is easy to make, but it’s also easy to mess up!  The most common mistake is burning the bread, and not melting the cheese.  We asked the competitors for their tips for making perfect grilled cheese and here is what they said.

Temperature of the pan is key:  If the pan is too hot, you will burn the outside of the bread and fail to melt the cheese in the middle.  If the pan isn’t warm enough, it will take you forever to properly melt the cheese and brown the bread.

Cover the pan when you cook the first side:  Keep the heat low, and when you grill the first side of your bread, cover the pan.  This will ensure that the cheese melts.  To avoid it getting soggy, when you flip your grilled cheese over, grill it in the pan without being covered.

Experiment with different cheeses:  The winner used seven different cheeses.  Although the classic yellow cheese tastes great, there are too many amazing cheeses out there to ignore, and some of them make a killer grilled cheese sandwich.

Don’t press down
:  Many people think that you need to press down on the sandwich in the pan to get it nice and brown.  Wrong!  You risk burning the bread while not properly melting the cheese, or causing some of the cheese to ooze out.

Try new things:  This is the mantra at most festivals, but it is true!  Don’t be afraid to experiment.  You might come across something really great. 

The Winning Recipe
By Lucky McNulty

The winning sandwich was named, “The Recumbent Vicar”.  Winning cook, Lucky McNulty, says that the key to making a great grilled cheese is using a combination of good cheeses.  He looks at the bread as “a vehicle” for the cheese, so he used plain white bread for his sandwich.  The cheeses he used on the inside were:  Gruyere, white cheddar, sharp cheddar, goat cheese, creamy Swiss, Manchego, and queso quesadilla.  On the outside he used Parmesan and cheddar cheese.  He also sprinkled that cheese on the bottom on the pan so it created a crunchy “cheese wafer” that you can crack off and eat.

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