It’s almost warm enough for grilling, but today I honestly couldn’t wait any longer. The sun was shining, and the temperature had soared to a breezy 70 degrees. The birds were chirping and little buds are starting to peak out from under the trees. A perfect day for grilling! Except for one thing…laziness.
First, I have a grill, but it’s really old and takes a long time to heat up. Second, I didn’t have any meat to grill, so I would have to go to the store. And finally, I can never decide what to grill. I usually don’t like to mix my meats, so whenever my family grills I have to decide between the BBQ chicken or a cheeseburger (eating both would also be far too filling). If only there were a way to combine the flavors of them both…Luckily I thought of the perfect stove-top vehicle to carry all the classic flavors of a BBQ: grilled cheese.
Combining sweet and tangy BBQ sauce, smoky onions, and creamy Muenster cheese, this sandwich is a great way for carnivores and vegetarians alike to inaugurate summer.
Recipe: BBQ Onion Grill Cheese
First prepare the BBQ sauce. You can use ready-made, but for some reason I never have it in the house. I recently learned how to make it from scratch, and it’s fantastic. I like it a bit sweeter and spicier, with less tomato. Feel free to modify this recipe according to your taste.
Step #1: BBQ Sauce
2 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon teriyaki sauce or Asian-style marinade
1 teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce (or whatever hot sauce you have)
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
pinch cayenne pepper
a squirt of lemon juice
Step #2: Onions
Heat about 1 or 2 tablespoons canola in a skillet over high heat. Cut a small onion into rounds (like onion rings) of medium thickness. Any kind of onion will do, but I think red works best. Place the onion so that the stems are on the sides, not on the top and bottom. Add the onions to the pan and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until lightly charred. Keep the heat on high so that the onions get nice and grilled without getting soft. Once they’re done, put them aside.
Step #3: Cheese
Muenster is a little appreciated cheese, but it’s got all the qualities most Americans (and grilled cheese loves) enjoy. It’s got a mild flavor, but it’s bland. It’s extremely creamy. And most importantly, it melts perfectly. In all seriousness, it adds a taste much like the usual American cheese slices that go into the average grilled cheese, but without the gritty artificial taste of more processed cheeses, like Kraft singles. (Sorry! I still love you!) Muenster is in fact an American cheese. “Munster” (no “e”) is an unpasteurized cheese from France that is pretty hard to find here in the States, while Muenster (with an “e”) is usually made in Wisconsin. If you’ve never had this, I highly recommend adding it to your next grilled cheese.
To assemble, place one slice of Meunster on your first bread slice. On top of the cheese, place the grilled onions and add the BBQ sauce. Add the second slice on Muenster on top and then the final bread slice.
The rest is easy. Cook that grilled cheese in a pan with a bit of butter until the cheese is melted and fantastic. Be sure to flip it occasionally to prevent uneven cooking or burning.
The honey of the BBQ sauce is darkened by the burnt crunch of the onions, and ooooh that creamy Muenster! It adds all the smooth comfort of a grilled cheese without that overpowering CHEESE flavor. And about that burger vs. chicken dilemma? This combines the smoky spice of barbecue chicken with the satisfying feeling of a burger…and it’s great for your vegetarian guests too!
And if you’re not lazy like me…feel free to that this to your next cookout at an actual grill. This is a great base for adding any meat you like. chicken and bacon would probably be best, but why not also use this as a burger topping?
This sandwich is best enjoyed outside with your favorite summer brew for the ultimate summer comfort food. But consider yourself warned…you won’t be able to eat just one!