Something has always burned my toast about grilled cheese sandwiches. They are never actually grilled. They should be called skillet cheeses or maybe a George Foreman Cheese if you rock that way.
In any event, I’ve never actually seen a real grilled cheese that’s actually grilled. So I decided to give it a shot.
Turns out that it’s called a grilled cheese for a reason: It should be grilled. There’s no two ways about it. If you have access to a grill, this is what you do from now on.
1) Roughly chop bacon and spinach and slice or grate your cheese.
2) Butter one side of all 4 pieces of bread.
3) Build the sandwiches before putting them on the grill. Bread, Cheese, bacon, spinach, more cheese, bread.
4) Prep your grill by setting up a very hot zone and a low heat zone.
5) Add sandwiches to high heat zone. Cook for 90 seconds, turn it 90 degrees, cook for another 90 seconds. Flip it.
6) Cook for another 90 seconds, turn it 90 degrees, then another 90 seconds.
7) Move sandwich to your low heat zone for 5-7 minutes and cover the grill. The cheese should melt nicely.
8) Eat immediately!
Prepping the Sandwich
I didn’t include this sandwich in my Grilled Cheese Trials series because the fillings I used were pretty basic, although delicious. My goal was to master the grilled method and worry about fillings later.
That said, I made sure to pick out some stuff that I knew would be tasty together: spinach, pepper jack cheese, and bacon. Get creative with fillings though. Don’t feel limited to these.
One thing you want to make sure you do when prepping your sandwich for the grill is butter it well.
You want a good even layer of butter on each slice of bread. This will make sure the bread doesn’t stick to the grill and also because butter is good.
I used maybe a tablespoon to 1 1/2 Tablespoons for my bread.
Make your sandwich on a plate or something. You don’t want to be building it on a hot grill. You’ll just lose a lot of filling ingredients that way.
I stacked my sandwich with cheese, then bacon, spinach, and more cheese. It’s a good idea to roughly chop the spinach and bacon just so it’s easier to eat later on.
Prepping the grill
The problem that you have with a grill is that it can get really hot and burn your bread before you even notice it. But we’re going to use that heat to our advantage also.
Prep your grill by making a really hot zone and then a low heat zone. Since I have a gas grill, I turned my front burner on high and left the back two burners off which gave me a great heat zones for this.
When you’re ready to grill, start the sandwich on the very hot zone. Make sure you preheat the grill for 5-10 minutes. You want the thing blazing.
Here’s the time breakdown to get a good sandwich. Assuming you have a hot grill, start it for 90 seconds. Then turn it 90 degrees to get crisscross marks, then grill for another 90 seconds.
Now you need to flip the thing. This will be a tricky flip because most likely the cheese won’t be melted yet to hold the sandwich together. Feel free to use a hand to stabilize the sandwich as you flip it.
You should see some very pretty grill marks.
Grill the sandwich for another 90 seconds, turn it 90 degrees, then a final 90 seconds.
Then move the sandwich to your low heat zone. The key now is to melt the cheese completely without toasting the bread anymore which is already nice and toasty.
Once you have the sandwich over low heat, cover it for about 5 minutes. That should do the trick in the melting department.
I like to slice mine in half for easier handling.
This was kind of a messy sandwich, but man was it good.
So this makes an awesome sandwich, but that’s not even the best benefit of cooking grilled cheeses on the grill. I think the best reason to do it is if you’re cooking for a crowd! You could bust out 8 of these at once when if you were using a skillet, you’d have to make them individually.
So don’t fear the grill. It makes some darn good cheesy sandwiches.