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Old 05-04-2018, 11:27 AM   #1
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What is a grilled cheese sandwich, exactly?

There isn’t a forum for sandwiches, and grilled cheese is bread and cheese, but not really, so I wasn’t sure where the heck to put this.

What defines a grilled cheese sandwich? When does a grilled cheese sandwich become a melt, or a hamburger? Do open-face sandwiches count? Must it be made on sandwich bread? Is a cubano a grilled cheese?

This is a really nit-picky question, I know. Truth is, there’s a contest for grilled cheese sandwiches, and if I make an entry, I don’t want the judges saying “well, this is delish, and it isa sandwich, but NO NO NO, it’s NOT grilled cheese!”

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Old 05-04-2018, 11:36 AM   #2
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This sums it up for me:

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Old 05-04-2018, 11:42 AM   #3
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We had a lengthy discussion about this a while ago.

IMHO, a GCS consists of bread and cheese with or without some added minor players that add some dimension of flavor such as pickles or tomato, etc. that has been grilled (browned on a flat surface with butter so the cheese melts)

I do not subscribe to the current trend of calling any sandwich that includes cheese and is grilled a GCS.

So cheeseburgers and Cubanos are NOT GCS.

I'd suggest you get a copy of the contest rules as a guide.
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Old 05-04-2018, 12:30 PM   #4
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There isn’t a forum for sandwiches
It's a subforum under bread.
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Old 05-04-2018, 02:21 PM   #5
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We had a lengthy discussion about this a while ago.

IMHO, a GCS consists of bread and cheese with or without some added minor players that add some dimension of flavor such as pickles or tomato, etc. that has been grilled (browned on a flat surface with butter so the cheese melts)

I do not subscribe to the current trend of calling any sandwich that includes cheese and is grilled a GCS.

So cheeseburgers and Cubanos are NOT GCS.

I'd suggest you get a copy of the contest rules as a guide.
Agreed. There can be more than one kind of cheese (and should be, imo), maybe a spread or a condiment, maybe some seasoning on the bread. But no meat. And a pressed sandwich like a panini or Cuban is not the same as grilled cheese.

I did make one once with thinly sliced apples and a drizzle of cider vinegar - it barely qualifies
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Old 05-04-2018, 03:16 PM   #6
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to me Grilled Cheese is American Cheese between 2 slices of buttered (on the outside) WHITE bread, squished and fried in a pan.

One family of in-laws always had a jam of some sort in it - but not excessive.

I will also do some bacon and/or thinly sliced onion. to me this is the luxury fancy way.

I once tried Swiss Cheese with Granny Smith apples - Good but obviously not enough for me to make it again. LOL
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Old 05-04-2018, 05:27 PM   #7
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to me Grilled Cheese is American Cheese between 2 slices of buttered (on the outside) WHITE bread, squished and fried in a pan
This is it for me, although I don't see the need for squishing. Put the cheese between 2 slices of bread, butter the outside of one slice and put that side down in the frying pan. While the first side is getting nice and golden, butter the second side, flip and cook the second side golden and crispy. Nothing more is needed. Grilled cheese should be unadulterated American cheesiness.

When you do too much to a grilled cheese, it becomes something else, a ______ sandwich with melted cheese.
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:41 PM   #8
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We had a lengthy discussion about this a while ago...
Must be summer rerun time already. Maybe this was the thread you were remembering:
Interesting grilled cheese ideas
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Old 05-04-2018, 06:48 PM   #9
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I'm too lazy to search but we had an active GCS thread just less than month ago.....
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Old 05-04-2018, 07:34 PM   #10
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to me Grilled Cheese is American Cheese between 2 slices of buttered (on the outside) WHITE bread, squished and fried in a pan.
Not likely to win a GCS contest. You will have to think outside the bread box.

If I were a judge in such a contest, I would want the bread and cheese to be the dominant player -- the superstar. It there is anything else in the GCS, it better not draw attention to itself. Maybe some herbs. I think meat would be testing my own limits for GCS.

Now, since there are so many kinds of breads and cheeses, I don't see any reason you would have to add anything. I'd look for a unique blend of cheeses that match your choice of bread, perfectly.

I know that the "gourmet" GCSs I have had that I liked have had a good blend of about two cheeses, one mild and gooey, and one with some bite. I like the bread to "crunch" when I bite into it.

This video makes me drool.



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Old 05-04-2018, 08:02 PM   #11
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Not likely to win a GCS contest. You will have to think outside the bread box.

If I were a judge in such a contest, I would want the bread and cheese to be the dominant player -- the superstar. It there is anything else in the GCS, it better not draw attention to itself. Maybe some herbs. I think meat would be testing my own limits for GCS.

Now, since there are so many kinds of breads and cheeses, I don't see any reason you would have to add anything. I'd look for a unique blend of cheeses that match your choice of bread, perfectly.

I know that the "gourmet" GCSs I have had that I liked have had a good blend of about two cheeses, one mild and gooey, and one with some bite. I like the bread to "crunch" when I bite into it.

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Same here, Casey! That's why my choice of bread for GCS is a dense sourdough, with just a light spread of butter to brown it. It has to have a 'crunch' to it. LOL

I love a GCS with sliced smoked gouda, and some other kind of cheese. Usually it ends up being cheddar, because that's what I have on hand most often. And not that fake stuff wrapped in plastic, ugh. If I add anything at all to the sandwich, it's tomato - but it has to be in between the two slices of cheese to 'lock' it in to the sandwich so that the top or bottom slice of bread doesn't slide off.
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Old 05-04-2018, 08:21 PM   #12
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Same here, Casey! That's why my choice of bread for GCS is a dense sourdough, with just a light spread of butter to brown it. It has to have a 'crunch' to it. LOL

I love a GCS with sliced smoked gouda, and some other kind of cheese. Usually it ends up being cheddar, because that's what I have on hand most often. And not that fake stuff wrapped in plastic, ugh. If I add anything at all to the sandwich, it's tomato - but it has to be in between the two slices of cheese to 'lock' it in to the sandwich so that the top or bottom slice of bread doesn't slide off.
Yeah, I love good, fresh tomato slices on a GCS, but you have to manage the water content of the tomato, or the sandwich gets wet. I put my tomato slices between thick layers of paper towels and squeeze the water out. That way, you get the meat of the tomato, which is where the flavor is, and don't water-log your sandwich. If I have time, I do the same thing for burgers with tomatoes.

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Old 05-04-2018, 08:27 PM   #13
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Yeah, I love good, fresh tomato slices on a GCS, but you have to manage the water content of the tomato, or the sandwich gets wet. I put my tomato slices between thick layers of paper towels and squeeze the water out. That way, you get the meat of the tomato, which is where the flavor is, and don't water-log your sandwich. If I have time, I do the same thing for burgers with tomatoes.

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I do that, too...but I don't squeeze the poor babies, I just let the paper towels soak up the excess water. Then if you eat them fast enough while the cheese is still warm and the bread is still crunchy, they won't get soggy. lol

My daughter was over here once while I was making us GCS, and she said I took forever to make them.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:05 AM   #14
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I’m with you all! Store-bought white bread only, American cheese mandatory, grilled, not pressed, except maybe just lightly with a spatula. Everything you’d think to go on it besides that, and you’ve crossed the border into the state of Sandwich, County Panini.

But, as CaseyDog wrote, that’s not likely to win any contests! There are four categories in the contest; the largest prize is for the “anything goes” battle (okay, I watch too much Food Network); it seems the contest people are willing to stretch their definition of grilled cheese. Then there is a 6 ingredient max category, which is about half the prize money of the bigger contest. The other two categories are junior, and fan (no recipe, just a gushing letter about the wonderfulness of grilled cheese, and why Wisconsin cheese is the only cheese that you’lll ever ever use.

I’m still a bit fuzzy about whether I can enter the same sandwich in both comps, or if I’ve gotta come up with two... I’ll have to read the rules thru again.

Wish me luck!

Oh, and thanks Cooking Goddess, for the link to last year’s thread.
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Old 05-05-2018, 12:42 AM   #15
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Welcome, JJ, except that I think it was from something like three years ago.

If you want to see a wide variety of over-the-top grilled cheese sandwiches, check out the menu at Melt Bar and Grilled. GG and I can both testify to them being different - in a yummy way. Definitely not traditional.

https://meltbarandgrilled.com/menu/melt-menu/
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Old 05-05-2018, 10:12 AM   #16
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I liked that video caseydog. I saw that grilled cheese recipe contest, it looks like fun and obviously from the recipe's section, it shows past years winners, anything goes.

I made some raclette cheese last month, which I'm currently aging and washing every other day to promote the red/orange mold on the outside. It will be done the first week of June through the first week of July. I'm so excited about it.
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Old 05-05-2018, 03:57 PM   #17
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I may have missed it, but you have to have a bowl of Campbell's Tomato Soup with that grilled cheese sandwich.
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:42 PM   #18
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I may have missed it, but you have to have a bowl of Campbell's Tomato Soup with that grilled cheese sandwich.
Actually Addie, I think you are right. It seems to me while growing up that's what was on the lunch menu.

May I redefine "squished" from my earlier post? I only meant to press with the spatula when you flipped the sandwich in the pan. Even then it was only to make sure you got full contact so there would be a nice browning for the entire side.
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:51 PM   #19
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It's been years since I've had a grilled cheese, but my personal favorite "upscale" version was always made with Texas toast brushed with garlic butter, and sharp Wisconsin Cheddar.
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Old 05-05-2018, 04:53 PM   #20
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to me Grilled Cheese is American Cheese between 2 slices of buttered (on the outside) WHITE bread, squished and fried in a pan.
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Grilled cheese should be unadulterated American cheesiness.

When you do too much to a grilled cheese, it becomes something else, a ______ sandwich with melted cheese.
+1.... The only thing I add is a thin spread of mayo under the cheese.. Jeannie did that when we first got together and I liked it a lot...

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