I have been many things over the course of my short 35 years here: son, brother, teenager, juvenile delinquent, husband, Batman, dad, Tech Genius, Woodworker, Champion Llama Roper, and part-time truth-teller, just to name a few. Those things aside, though, one thing I have never been is a “cook”. I mean, I can cook things, but I am not the gourmand of the household – that’s why Leslie’s the Sprinkles and I’m the Sawdust. Trust me, you don’t want sawdust on your cupcakes.
That being said, what I am pretty good at is MAN FOOD. That’s right, kids. MAN FOOD. I can grill meat with the best of them. I make a mean hamburger, and I don’t mean the kind that makes sidelong comments about your weight when you go for seconds. This stuff ain’t healthy, it ain’t hard to make, and it sure as heck ain’t frou-frou frilly 10+ ingredient hippie food.
Ah, the Grilled Cheese.
As a man and ESPECIALLY as a dad this should be the main shield of your culinary arsenal. You know why? Kids love grilled cheese sandwiches. They can’t get enough of them. They’re a kid food staple, up there with hot dogs and chicken nuggets and boogers. Your dad cred is gonna fall hard if you can’t slap together a grilled cheese for your hungry children. Be the provider, man! Provide. Give your wife a break from whatever 12 Ingredient Easy Crock Pot Casserole she pinned on Pinterest yesterday. Do you know how many of those she’s got pinned? Probably hundreds. Let her rest. Make your kids lunch already.
“But Matt!” You say. “Grilled cheese is easy! We can all-”
Grilled cheese is easy to make but hard to master, fool. And if you want to master it, read on.
There are only three, and if anyone tells you otherwise, tell them to jump in a lake. There are lots of fancy-pants hoity toity grilled cheese recipes out there but RESIST THEM. Beat a hasty retreat at the sound of the word “panini press”. You’re a MANLY MAN, you don’t need an appliance to make a basic sandwich.
1. BUTTER. Yeah, butter. Do NOT, and I repeat DO NOT, reach for the margarine, oleo, buttery spread, olive oil, mayonnaise, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, or anything else you can think of. And use salted butter too, unless you want a bland-tasting grilled cheese. There’s barely any other ingredients so bland is bad, hombre.
2. CHEESE. American cheese, sliced. You heard me. Leslie loves it with cheddar and that’s allowable but the classic All-American Man Food Grilled Cheese is made out of cheap AMERICAN cheese, because THIS IS AMERICA LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.
3. BREAD. You can play with this one a little but I’ll tell you larger slices of white bread work best. Texas Toast also works great but you’ll deal with some bread to cheese ratio issues. Personally I love it on sourdough.
Cook that Bad Boy
First and foremost! Do not, and I repeat like it did up there DO NOT, turn your heat up past halfway. Turning it up higher will get you a grilled cheese faster but this is about the PERFECT Grilled Cheese, dude, not the SO-SO Grilled Cheese. If the pan is too hot you’re going to cook the bread before the cheese melts or worse, burn the whole thing. Be patient.
Spread the butter on one side of a slice of bread. SPREAD IT! Soften up that butter, son, or you’re gonna have a class-4 torn bread emergency on your hands. And no cheating by putting cuts of butter on the bread and spreading it around the pan! That messes up coverage and the dry parts of your bread will just toast instead of fry up golden.
Don’t waste time at this point. The longer you wait to get the cheese on there, the longer it takes to melt, and your bread is cooking DUDE WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR.
That’s right, broseph, cover it. You know how much radiant heat escapes from an uncovered pan? You need that heat to melt your cheese. It’ll melt way faster if you cover it, and once again your bread is cooking all of this time and it only needs a few minutes, so do yourself a favor. Grilled cheese with unmelted cheese is LAME, not to mention that it’ll fall apart when you flip it.
Speaking of flipping – my guideline is flip once and that’s it. Like a steak, that other classic MANFOOD. Don’t go all US Gymnastics on this bad boy and flip flip flip flip. That being said, I understand that if you’re not an experienced cheeser like myself you may have to flip a few times to check doneness. Build up your experience so your golden-brown-sense can tell you when it’s time to flip and nail it every time.
Also – only weenies flip MANFOOD with a regular spatula.
Nailed it, baby! Look at that sucker! That’s Alton-Brown-level-golden-brown-and-delicious right there, my friends. I mean, I don’t like to toot my own horn here but
That is a perfect. Grilled. Cheese.
Get it off the pan as soon as the other side gets done. If it doesn’t look like this, you’re doing it wrong. This thing should crunch when you bite into it – if it doesn’t, you used too much butter.
Your kids will love you. Your wife will (might) love you. Your taste buds will thank you. You will feel affirmed as a man. You will also eat an awesome sandwich. Don’t say I never gave you anything.