Grilled meat may be a staple of summer barbecues, but grilled cheese should have a place at your outdoor feast as well. I don't mean taking a slice or two of cheese, slapping it between two pieces of bread, and putting it in a pan to create a grilled cheese sandwich. No, I mean literally grilled cheese.
Cheese that is grilled boasts an ideal blend of smoky flavor and creamy texture that will send your taste buds into a happy dance. But not all cheeses are created equal when it comes to the grill. The general rule of thumb is the harder the cheese, the better for grilling (unless you're making grilled cheese sandwiches with "grilled cheese"). So read on to familiarize yourself with cheeses that were made to sizzle on the grill.
Hard cheeses that are good for grilling include halloumi, "grilling cheese," and paneer, and I'll go into each one in more detail below.
This blend of salty goat and sheep's cheese from Cyprus is one of the more popular cheeses when it comes to grilling, since its semi-hard structure holds up well under heat.
Cut into thick slabs for optimal toothsomeness, grilled halloumi has a crispy exterior and chewy interior.
Usually labeled at your local market simply as "grilling cheese," (by Yanni, Tropical, and other brands), this hard cheese holds its shape well on the grill. It has an even more buttery flavor than halloumi and a unique layered texture.
Grilling cheese is often pre-cut into individual slices of the appropriate thickness, making it easy to grill with no need to guesstimate how well your pieces of cheese will survive the heat.
This dense, crumbly cheese is a popular grilling cheese in India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Paneer's mild, milky flavor is great marinated in spices and yogurt, and then thrown on the grill for a simple but flavor-filled dish. Change up your kebab game with a little cheesy goodness!
Soft cheeses that are good for grilling include provolone, kasseri, and brie, and I'll go into each one in more detail below.
Known as "provoleta" in Argentina and Uruguay, this cheese traditionally associated with Italian subs melts quickly so it's better to grill it for only a few minutes and watch it closely.
Make sure to slice it thick (1-inch rounds work well) before grilling to prevent it from burning. You want your provolone to get melty but not attain the same grill marks or level of browning as its harder cheese counterparts.
It's the perfect addition to your toasted bread appetizer, with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of oregano.
This soft cheese commonly found in Greece is one of the more difficult cheeses to grill, but do not fear—it still can be done! With a little care and concentration, this Greek delicacy can add a Mediterranean flair to your meal.
Cut kasseri into long triangular pieces and grill it on low heat—and watch it constantly since it melts even faster than provolone.
Kasseri is delicious on top of pita bread with a squeeze of lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, and a dash of oregano to balance its pungent flavor. Throw on a few basil leaves for an added touch of summer.
Just because brie is notoriously runny doesn't mean it's not grillable! Throw a wheel of brie (or Camembert) on the grill for a few minutes so it lightly browns on the outside. Cut it open and serve the smoky, creamy interior with crackers and some dried fruit and honey drizzled on top. It's sure to be a crowd-pleaser at your next summer shindig.
There are probably as many options for grilling cheese as there are varieties of grilled cheese sandwiches. Grilling cheeses make for a delicious addition to any summer cookout... have you tried grilling cheese? How did it turn out? Let us know in the comments!