AmazingRibs.com is supported by our Pitmaster Club. Also, when you buy with links on our site we may earn a finder’s fee. Click to see how we test and review products.

Real Grilled Cheese Is Made On A Grill And Ham Makes It Even Better

Dunno why they call it “grilled” cheese ’cause most of the time it is made in a frying pan or a broiler or a toaster oven or a panini press or a George Foreman gizmo or a griddle.

Ever have one made on a grill? Well you’re in for a treat. Do it outdoors and you’ll taste the ne plus ultra grilled cheese with golden bread, dark grill marks, and gooey cheese.

I’m going to give you the concepts and a basic recipe, but there’s plenty of room for you to riff on the theme. After all, the French classic croque-monsieur made with ham and brie is a variant, as is the Reuben, the tuna melt, and even the patty melt.

1) Use quality cheese that melts easily. You can use one cheese or a blend of several when creating this grilled sandwich. The standard is American cheese, but aged cheddar, is also good. Skip the Velveeta. It is probably one boson from floor tiles. If you want to veer from the norm, fontina is a great melting cheese, or try aged gruyere, Swiss, jarlsberg, ementhaler, brie, camembert, gouda, muenster, jack, all work fine. For an accent, try a small amount of tangy hard cheese that you will have to grate such as provalone, Parmigiano-Regianno, Peccorino Romano, Peccorino Toscano, or gjetost. Use 3 ounces/85 g of cheese for a regular size sandwich. Slice it thin or use the large holes on a box grater to shred it. If you grate it, pile it in from the edges so it doesn’t spill out when you flip it. I like a blend of 2 ounces/56.7 g of soft and stringy muenster and 1 ounce/28.4 g sharp asiago.

2) Accent the cheese with one or two add-ins, but don’t go crazy and add too many. Ham, tomato, herbs are especially good. Try prosciutto, capicola, cooked bacon, pulled pork, tomato with fresh basil leaves, pesto, pickles, pickle relish, raw onion, caramelized onion, caviar, sunny side up egg, rosemary or thyme, roasted red pepper, chipotle in adobo sauce, jalapeno or other chiles, Dijon mustard, horseradish, celery salt, black pepper, or sliced apple and pear. I’ve heard tell of folks using Meathead’s Memphis Dust on it. I’m especially fond of capicola and minced jalapeño.

3) Use a thick flavorful bread like Texas toast, sourdough, Italian, rye, pumpernickel, or even marble bread. I like to hand slice fresh Italian bread because it has a nice crust but it does not get too hard. Rye is also a fave.

4) Melt the butter. Butter the bread lightly on the outside only, and make sure the butter goes all the way to the edges. Don’t use too much or it becomes greasy. Melting the butter in a microwave (45-60 seconds on high) is an easy method. Mayo and olive oil work well too. I prefer melted butter.

5) Keep the heat down. Use medium to low heat so you don’t burn the bread.

6) Grill with the cover on. It needs to toast on the bottom, but heat is needed all around to properly melt the cheese. You can cook on the grill in a pan or griddle if you wish. If you use a pan or griddle indoors, put a cover over the sandwich while it cooks. Stand by the grill and peek at the underside every minute. It can burn easily, especially if you have hot spots. I usually use my gasser since it’s quick and easy and temp control is good.

7) Flip with a plate and a spatula. Put a Plate on top and the spatula underneath. Press the two together and flip. This trick goes a long way to keeping the innards from becoming outards.

8) Serve with potato chips, tortilla chips, fries, or tots and soup. Tomato soup is classic, but split pea, tortilla soup and cream soups like cream of broccoli work well. It’s tater tots and tomato soup for me.

Think you’re the big cheese?

Develop your own signature grilled cheese and you can compete in the annual Grilled Cheese Invitational in LA where there are four categories:

The Missionary Position. Standard white bread (no sourdough), orange cheese (Cheddar or American), and standard butter (or margarine).

The Kama Sutra. Any kind of bread, any kind of butter, and any kind of cheese plus additional ingredients (the interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese). Campanile Restaurant in LA is famous for their creative grilled cheese sandwiches in this category. Try their gorgonzola, spiced walnuts, and honey.

The Honey Pot. Any kind of bread, any kind of butter, and any kind of cheese (the interior ingredients must be at least 60% cheese), and with an overall flavor that is sweet and would best be served as dessert. Try brie and apricot jam

. virgin mary grilled cheese

For fun and profit

Here’s an idea. In 2004 the 10-year-old mold free grilled cheese sandwich show above sold at auction on eBay for $28,000 because it had light and dark areas said to resemble the Virgin Mary, although one it looks more like Dorothy Lamour to me.

So the next time you make a grilled cheese sandwich, make a foil cutout of a religious figure and place it on the grill grates, spray it with oil, and place the bread on top. Sell the sandwich on eBay and use the proceeds to go to Switzerland and perfect your grilled Swiss cheese sandwich technique.

Or try this stencil:

einstein grilled cheese stencil

Free Barbecue News magazine every month to members of our Pitmaster Club. Click here for a free 30 day trial. No credit card needed. No spam. Click here to Be Amazing!

Great Gooey Grilled Cheese & Ham Sandwich On The Grill Recipe


Gooey grilled cheese sandwich halves
Tried this recipe?Tell others what you thought of it and give it a star rating below.
3.05 from 21 votes
We put the "grill" back in grilled cheese with this recipe for creating these ooey gooey sandwiches over live fire and smoke. This step-by-step guides includes everything you need to create the perfect grilled cheese sandwich on the grill, from selecting the right cheese to the perfect bread, and so much more.

Course: Breakfast, Brunch, Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Sandwich
Cuisine: American
Difficulty: Easy

Makes:

1 helluva sandwich
Servings: 2

Takes:

Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 slices fresh bread
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 3 ounces good quality sharp cheddar
  • 2 ounces cooked ham, sliced thin (4 slices)
  • 2 pinches fresh ground black pepper
Metric conversion:

These recipes were created in US Customary measurements and the conversion to metric is being done by calculations. They should be accurate, but it is possible there could be an error. If you find one, please let us know in the comments at the bottom of the page

Method

  • Prep. Slice or shred your cheese. Melt the butter and if you are going to add in garlic or smoked paprika, do it.
  • Fire up. Setup the grill for direct cooking, but keep the temp medium on a gas grill or spread the coals out in one layer so they are not touching on a charcoal grill. You can use a griddle if you wish. In this case, crank it to high.
  • Assemble. Distribute the cheese evenly on one slice of bread and lay the ham on top. Don't let things hang over the crust or the cheese will drip off and the ham will burn. Lay the other slice of bread on top and paint a thin layer of melted butter on it with a basting brush all the way to the edges. Make sure the edges are buttered so they don't burn.
  • Cook. Clean the hot grill grates on your grill well. Get all the carbon off the surface. Use a good stiff brush, pomace stone, or a scraper. If you haven't got any of these, wad up some aluminum foil and scrub the grates. Put the sandwich on the grill, buttered side down. Press it down lightly. Paint the top side with butter now. Weight it down to make a panini if you wish or cover with a metal bowl or pan and close the grill lid. But don't go far. In about two minutes, sneak a peak at the bottom. Get the bread golden brown or as dark as you like it, but don't burn it. Flip and repeat. If the edges char a bit, scrape off the char with a light touch on a serrated steak knife. As an alternative, put the sandwich in a pie iron and put it over the hot part of the grill.
    weight on grilling sandwich
  • Serve. Slice in half so the gooey insides show, and serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g | Calories: 342kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 13g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 787mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 607IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 353mg | Iron: 2mg

Related articles

Published On: 6/7/2013 Last Modified: 9/10/2021

  • Meathead - Founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, Meathead is known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of the New York Times Best Seller "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.


If you help us, we’ll pay you back bigtime with an ad-free experience and much more!

Millions come to AmazingRibs.com every month for quality tested recipes, tips on technique, science, mythbusting, product reviews, and inspiration. But it is expensive to run a website with more than 4,000 pages and we don’t have a big corporate partner like TV network or a magazine publisher to subsidize us.

Our most important source of sustenance is people who join our Pitmaster Club, but please don’t think of it as a donation. Members get 21 great benefits. We block all third-party ads, we give members free ebooks, magazines, interviews, webinars, more recipes, a monthly sweepstakes with prizes worth up to $2,000, discounts on products, and best of all a community of like-minded cooks free of flame wars. Click below to see all the benefits, take a free 30 day trial membership, and help keep this site alive.


Post comments and questions below

grouchy?

1) Please try the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help.

2) Try to post your question to the appropriate page.

3) Tell us everything we need to know to help such as the type of cooker and thermometer. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can’t help you with time and temp questions. Please read this article about thermometers.

4) If you are a member of the Pitmaster Club, your comments login is probably different.

5) Posts with links in them may not appear immediately.

Moderators

  Max

Click for comments...

Spotlight

These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs


Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?


The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal


Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker


This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making this baby foolproof. Set ThermoTemp’s dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin’.

Click here to read our detailed review


The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy


The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them


Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker


Green Mountain’s portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it’s also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order


The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted


Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special



Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts


Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners

3 burner gas grill

The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Click here to read our complete review