Bacon Jam Grilled Cheese Sandwich
I have found my holy grail of grilled cheese sandwiches – the BACON JAM Grilled Cheese Sandwich. Take a moment and just imagine it…an ooey, gooey, grilled cheese sandwich. The bread is slathered in butter and then perfectly toasted. The cheese is a mix of smoky gouda and sharp white cheddar. And then….wait for it….bacon jam! Yes you read that right. Bacon jam adds a touch of sweetness, the perfect amount of saltiness, some acid and, well Bacon. You can never go wrong with bacon, am I right?
I have to assume that most of us have made a grilled cheese, but here are a few of my super tips for a super grilled cheese:
Shred your cheese. And I mean YOU shred it. Don’t buy slices and don’t buy preshredded stuff – it is coated with a fine dusting of flour or some other “keep it from clumping” ingredient that not only keeps it from clumping, but keeps it from melting together the way a perfect grilled cheese should.
Sometimes you want a grilled cheese sandwich and you’ll use whatever bread you have on hand – it’s what I did this time with a solid sandwich bread. But there is a lot of moisture in a grilled cheese. Butter, melted cheese, and (in this sandwich) jam. A lot of breads can’t hold up. I’ll admit my sandwich bread, while delicious, was starting to fall apart by the last bite.
Next time I will use a crusty french bread….or maybe a sourdough…yeah sourdough would be great on this sandwich.
In this sandwich, bacon jam is my something extra. But I think all grilled cheese sandwiches need a little something extra to keep it interesting until the last bite. Sometimes it is a sprinkle of oregano on the outside of the bread (trust me – you want to try this). Sometimes it might be a tomato and avocado or maybe sliced apples. Experiment with your favorite something extras. Trust me – you’ll thank me.
Bring your butter to room temp while you’re making your bacon jam. Get it nice and soft and spreadable and then don’t be stingy with it. Don’t go overboard (you don’t want soggy bread), but make sure that the slices are completely covered from crust to crust.
I know, I know – you want that sandwich and you want it now. But the best things in life take time, and a grilled cheese sandwich does too. You have to keep the temperature low enough that the cheese inside has time to melt before the bread burns. So keep the temperature low and let the heat do it’s thing.
I think alot of folks miss an opportunity for flavor on the grilled cheese. The FIRST thing you taste is the bread – the OUTSIDE of the bread. You might eat with your eyes first, but your taste buds deserve an amazing introduction to this sandwich. Just before you are ready to take it out of the pan, sprinkle a little shredded parmesan on the sandwich and crisp that right up. Repeat on the other side. THEN your sandwich is done.
Bacon Jam Grilled Cheese Sandwich
- 1/2 lb bacon thick cut
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 large sweet onions quartered and then sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 tsp black pepper coarsely ground
- 1/8 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/4 cup brewed coffee hot or cold
- 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- butter softened
- 8 slices crusty bread French, Sourdough, etc.
- 1/2 cup smoky gouda shredded
- 1/2 cup sharp white cheddar shredded
- parmesan cheese grated
- Slice bacon into 1/2 inch thick pieces.
- In medium saucepan, cook bacon until it is almost crispy, but still a little chewy.
- Strain bacon drippings into a bowl and set bacon aside.
- Return 2 tbsp of bacon drippings, 2 tbsp butter, and onions to the pan and cook until onions are translucent.
- Stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds then add in black pepper, brown sugar, maple syrup, coffee and apple cider vinegar.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until most of the liquid has cooked off and the remaining ingredients have become a syrupy consistency.
- Add bacon back into mixture and drizzle in balsamic vinegar (don't add it all at once - add a little and taste, then add more. Stop adding it when you are happy with the flavor).
- While the bacon is cooking, soften a stick of butter and shred your cheeses.
- Evenly spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. (I like to butter two slices and then put them butter sides together on the cutting board to represent 1 sandwich.)
- Add 1/8 cup of shredded gouda and 1/8 cup of sharp cheddar to each sandwich.
- When bacon jam is done, smear 1-2 tbsp on the second slice of bread (the non buttered side) and put the sandwich together.
- Heat skillet over medium low heat and put sandwich in the pan. Leave it alone (don't keep flipping it) until one side is golden brown and then flip. Cook second side until it is golden brown and cheese is melted (if the cheese has not melted yet, then your heat is probably too high - if this happens, pop it in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds to melt the cheese before putting it back in the pan and adding the parmesan).
- Sprinkle parmesan cheese on top, flip, and cook for 15 seconds. Repeat on second side.