From carrot-fed beef to pork wings to Hawaiian venison, there isn’t a type of meat on God’s green earth that doesn’t benefit from being cooked on the grill due to an actual scientific process the American Chemical Society has dubbed “the holy grail of all culinary chemical reactions.” But the Maillard reaction — which occurs when high heat from the grill transforms proteins and sugars in our food to produce new flavors, aromas and colors — isn’t limited to meat.
Produced in Germany using pasteurized milk from cows that graze on the green grasses and alpine flowers in Bavaria, Rougette’s seasonal Bon-fire cheeses can be thrown directly on the grill, where they cook up quickly, easily and mess-free, just like a hamburger or hot dog. While similar in taste to Brie, Rougette’s soft-ripened Mild and Creamy grilling cheese won’t stick or melt on the grill thanks to its 125-gram rind.
“That robust rind lends itself to being put on the grill without sticking and will actually withstand that heat,” says Flynne Wiley, CEO of Champignon North America, which imports a number of specialty cheeses for stateside distribution. “They’ll get those nice char marks we look for when grilling a burger or anything else. It also retains some of that smokiness. If you were to throw a piece of Brie on the grill, it would stick to the grill, be hard to turn and could break apart and melt.”
Rougette, which also sells a semi-soft grilling cheese that comes marinated in herbs and oil and is meant to be grilled in an aluminum pan, ages its soft-ripened cheese from the outside in, and the mold and cultures that are added during the process form a bloomy exterior on the outside and creamy interior over time. When you toss it on the grill, the outside crisps while the inside melts.
“It’s nice and gooey on the inside. You also get a nice smokiness with the cheese. So you have creamy, crispy and smoky as these really lovely flavors come together,” Wiley says. “That’s not something you get with sliced cheese. It’s certainly not something you’d have with cold cheese. Grilling it adds complexity to the cheese and gives it that crispy caramelization. It still tastes nice cold, but it won’t have that warmth and comfort that comes with a warmed cheese, similar to a fondue.”
Then there’s the smell. “You’re going to have the same scent that you get from a pizza or a grilled cheese sandwich,” according to Wiley. “You’re not going to have the bread flavor, but you will certainly have some crispiness and that same savory comfort when you grill these cheeses.”
Sold in packages of two, the soft-ripened cheese are meant to be shared as if they were part of a charcuterie board, but they can also be eaten as literal cheese sliders if someone is up to the task.
“The way you might consume a specialty cheese with guests, you would do the same with these grilling cheeses,” Wiley says. “You’d serve it with meats, hams, pickles and things like that. Most people don’t sit down and eat a whole cheeseboard by themselves. Eating it as a burger is going to appeal to somebody who’s a little bit more indulgent and is not going to be concerned about calorie intake. With the sliders, it’s that indulgence we’re going for. They also pair well with a good beer.”
Below, Wiley shares a recipe for said indulgent sliders. Hopefully it’s a
cheese cheat day …
Grilling Cheese Sliders With Pancetta
- 2 Rougette BonFire Grilling Cheese (Mild & Creamy)
- 4 slices pancetta
- 2 T canned cranberry sauce
- 2 T Dijon mustard
- 2 mini pretzel buns, split
- Garnishes: 1/4 cup fresh arugula
- Preheat the grill to medium heat.
- Remove Grilling Cheeses from the package and pierce with a fork on both sides according to package instructions. Place cheese on a hot grill, along with pancetta. Grill over medium high heat for 4 minutes, rotating cheeses once to create grilling cross marks.
- Use a spatula to carefully flip cheeses and pancetta. Grill for 4 minutes more or until the cheeses are lightly browned and pancetta is crisp.
- Place spit pretzel buns on grill cut side down the last 2 minutes of cooking, or until buns are toasted.
- Remove buns, pancetta and cheeses from the grill. Assemble burgers by spreading a layer of cranberry sauce on both bottom buns and mustard on both bun tops. Top each bun bottom with a Grilling Cheese, two slices of pancetta, half the arugula and top bun. Serve immediately.
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