Pimento cheese is a spread or relish that can be used in so many ways including with barbeque. While it most often is spread on crackers or celery, it makes an amazing topping for everything from burgers to pork chops to hotdogs! Cochon Butcher in New Orleans makes pimento cheese in house only to be used as the signature topping for it's hotdogs. Pimento cheese sandwiches are also the most popular item at the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
Pimento cheese has been referred to as the "pâté of the south", "Carolina caviar" and "the caviar of the South." Pimento cheese has three basic ingredients: sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos. The other ingredients vary from region to region and family to family. But the basics are all mixed to either a smooth or chunky paste.
Some other common ingredients include horseradish, cream cheese, salt and pepper, Louisiana-style hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, paprika, jalapeños, onions, garlic, and dill pickles.
My pimento cheese recipe is perhaps best used to top a burger or used in a grilled ham and cheese... Yes leftover Sunday hot ham and rolls grilled with a big blob of creamy pimento cheese. It will change your life! (Recipe below)
Here's what you're going to need to make your new favorite cheese based dip and spread.
- 3 large pimento peppers (2 large red bell peppers will be just fine)
- 4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup mayonnaise
- 1 Tbsp. vinegar-based hot sauce, such as Tabasco
- 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1/8 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
- 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
- 1/4 cup finely-chopped bread-and-butter pickles, plus 1/4 cup of the brine.
- 1/4 cup of diced green onions. both whites and greens.
- 1 lb. sharp cheddar cheese, grated on the large holes of a box grater
- Roast the peppers over an open flame on a gas stovetop, one pepper at a time, on the prongs of a carving fork. Or place on a baking sheet and roast under a hot broiler. In either case, turn the peppers to blister all sides. Then transfer the peppers to a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Set aside to let the peppers steam until cool enough to handle.
- Carefully peel the blackened skin off each pepper. Cut the peppers lengthwise in half, open out flat on a cutting board, and carefully scrape away all the seeds and membrane. Dice the peppers.
- Put the cream cheese in a medium bowl and beat it with a wooden spoon until softened. Add the mayonnaise and mix well. Add the hot sauce, salt, sugar, cayenne pepper, white pepper, and smoked paprika and stir to blend. Add the pickles, brine, green onions and cheddar cheese and stir again. Fold in the diced pimentos.
- Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Tightly covered, the pimento cheese will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
Now go forth and spread this food of the south all over you burgers, brats, dogs and everything you toss on the grill or BBQ pit! Or just grab some crackers and an ice cold beer! Game day will never be the same!
To make my grilled ham and pimento cheese: Fire up your grill and let it get hot. Split your rolls and place the ham on the grill over the coals just to warm it then load up your rolls with the hot ham and a about 2 Tbsp of pimento cheese. Place over the hot coals and grill pressing a bit. Once buns toast up and begin to get char marks, remove and let cool until you can eat them!
Does the smell of wood smoke excite you? Does it make your saliva glands begin to secrete? Do you love hovering over a fire watching meat being cooked to perfection. Then you are MY kind of people!
Whether it's smoking, roasting, baking, braising or grilling; with quality meats and some imagination, you can create some mouth water meals and memories with loved ones. As a barbecue addict myself I'm here to give you ideas to take your taste buds on a wild ride.
And if you are firing up the grill, please share! I'd love to try your recipes and see your photos! You can hashtag your grill photos #RiddersQclub.
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