Until a year ago, when my husband and I moved to Atlanta, I had never heard of pimento cheese. I wasn’t even sure what it was. It almost sounded like code for something more objectionable…like rocky mountain oysters. The only capacity I ever knew pimentos to be in were stuffed into green olives and severed with a cocktail. But pimento and cheese? I had never heard of such a thing! Yet there I was, every menu I opened had at least one dish containing pimento cheese. I even saw a sign hanging in an antique store that said, ‘Pimento Cheese is a Vegetable’. I wasn’t entirely sure at this point if the sign was being truthful or just funny. As I said, I was truly ignorant to this Southern staple.
I’m not trying to be amusing when I say pimento cheese is ‘The Caviar of the South’, it’s really known as such. So what is it? Essentially it’s a spread composed of sharp cheddar cheese, mayo, and pimentos. Additions vary by region, but they can include cream cheese, cayenne pepper, jalapeños, etc. It’s great on crackers, chips, as a grilled cheese sandwich, in omelets, and on hotdogs.
Several months past before I actually ordered a dish containing this icon of the South – it was a pimento cheese burger with bacon. Absolutely delectable! It was everything a great burger should be! Ooey gooey cheese with a hint of heat cascaded down upon my juicy burger – it was sublime! I knew I had to make my own, and so I did. It was phenomenal! I scooped up the leftover melted pimento cheese with homemade french fries and it was enough to make a girl weak in the knees. Simply divine!
- PIMENTO CHEESE INGREDIENTS:
- 4 ounces extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
- 4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
- ½ cup mayonaise
- 4 ounce jar pimentos, roughly chopped
- ½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- BURGER INGREDIENTS:
- 1½ pounds ground beef
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 4 slices of bacon, cooked
- 4 hamburger buns
- 1 tomato, sliced
- ½ red onion, sliced
- Mix all the ingredients for the Pimento Cheese in a large bowl. Refrigerate until needed.
- Portion the ground beef into 4 equal patties. Brush each side with canola oil and sprinkle both sides generously with salt and pepper. Heat a grill or cast iron pan over high heat. Once your cooking surface is hot, cook the first side for 4 minutes. Flip the burger and cook for 3 minutes. Add a dollop of pimento cheese, cover and cook for one more minute. Total cooking time is 8 minutes for medium doneness. Place the burgers on a plate and loosely tent with foil.
- Add the hamburger buns to the grill or pan and toast until lightly browned, about 10 – 30 seconds.
- Place a burger on the bottom bun and top with tomato, onion, and bacon. Cover with the top of the bun, serve and enjoy!