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Cheesy Grilled Goodness

Is there anything this sandwich can’t do?

Grilled cheese is a charmer. It wins friends pretty much at hello, and for many people the introduction starts early. Often, the relationship goes so far back to childhood that it’s nearly impossible to say when you first took a bite of a sandwich that remains a true and trusted friend all the way into adulthood.

What’s more, the plain grilled cheese of youth has gone through its own transformations over the years, and the grown-up versions popular now make this timeless classic even more mouthwatering. Today’s treat: Cowboy Barbeque Chicken Grilled Cheese.

This changes everything.

The essential goodness of a grilled cheese sandwich is the crisp, browned exterior and the ooey-gooey, melted interior. But every variable can change — the cheese or cheeses, the bread, the butter — which in turns changes the character of the sandwich.

What if you added the lean and clean protein of Just Bare chicken along with the bold flavors of barbeque sauce and red onions? Even better, why not save time by using Just Bare Rotisserie chicken from the deli? For consistent texture, it’s a good idea to chop or shred the chicken into small pieces. In minutes, you’ll be ready to start grilling — this time in the oven.

Pressing the issue.

There are a variety of techniques for getting a perfectly crisp, browned exterior and melted cheese on the inside. If you’re making just one or two, you can press the sandwiches between two heavy skillets. To weight down the top skillet, use a big can or two from the pantry.

For a larger quantity of sandwiches, consider using two large rimmed baking sheets, also known as half-sheet pans. A good strategy for making sure the baking sheets are the right temperature is to put the pans in the oven while you’re preheating it to 400° F. That way, when the oven comes up to temperature, you know the baking sheets are 400° F too. Be careful, of course, handling the hot pans and adding something heavy to weight down the top pan. A heavy pizza stove or cast iron skillet would be ideal to press down the top pan.

Order up! Grilled cheese glory.

One last comment on the essential ingredient in a great grilled cheese sandwich. That’s the cheese, of course, and there is seemingly an infinite selection to choose from. There’s a scientific explanation for why some varieties melt better than others, but a good rule of thumb is milder, softer cheeses melt better than harder, sharper cheeses that have been aged longer. This recipe suggests shredded Provolone, Havarti or Gouda cheese. Other options could be Swiss, Colby or Muenster.

Got that oven preheated yet? For lunch, supper or a late night snack, Cowboy Barbeque Chicken Grilled Cheese is a new grilled cheese classic that satisfies like never before.