Try These Brilliant Uses of Cheese at Your Next BBQ
“I tell people I have a really good job,” says Jimmy Kennedy, professional bass fisherman, restaurateur and test chef at Cabot Creamery. “Getting to work with cheese and butter and yoghurt is easy. It really is.”
For years, Kennedy worked as a spokesperson for Cabot, a farmer-owned cooperative whose cheddar and other dairy products are sold nationwide. Although he is now experimenting with the best uses of cheese in a professional capacity, this curiosity was born out of necessity some 30 years ago, when he took a crash course in restaurant cooking.
“I moved to Vermont and decided to open a restaurant, and I wasn’t going to cook,” Kennedy says The takeaway. “We had someone scheduled and he didn’t show up the first day, and I’ve been cooking ever since – I had to fill that void.”
“I didn’t think anyone would come back after that first day, it was so bad,” he adds with a laugh. “I have learned.”
While in Cabot, Kennedy learned a lot about how to make cheese the centerpiece of any spread. As summer grilling season approaches, we asked Kennedy to highlight some unique uses for cheese at any backyard barbecue, because who among us isn’t looking for an excuse to eat more of it? We should all heed this expert opinion.
Match different cheeses
“Mixing and matching when grilling works really well,” says Kennedy, throwing in Cabot varieties as an example of how to do it. “A lot of people like a little spice, so the Habanero is great, or the Pepper Jack. If you even had to put the cracker slices in there, because they’re smaller (you can combine) maybe a Seriously Sharp and a Habanero, it gives you a different flavor profile for every bite of burger or chicken, or whatever.
On a large burger, you might even have room to layer three or four cracker-sized slices of cheese in place of one larger slice, creating a patchwork of different flavors and heat levels – bonus points for getting the nice, gooey cheese on top. anything you grill.
Go for soft and creamy cheese, not just slices
When Kennedy, who is from Mississippi, first suggested chili cheese to Cabot, he says the company was hesitant, unfamiliar with the product in the early 2000s when it was still a fairly regional speciality. Now, however, it is more widely known for being a crowd pleaser and has many uses at barbecues.
“Using pimento cheese on burgers or whatever you grill is just awesome,” he says. “It already has the cheese, plus some extra flavor. I put it right at the end. You don’t want to melt it very much. It’s great to have a barbecue, and it’s great for the kids, because if they don’t want a big burger, they can also have a pimento cheese sandwich.
Cabot has a recipe for that, just like The takeaway.
Cheese and butter pairing
You may already know how easy it is to make rich, complex compound butter simply by mixing a number of herbs or other flavorings with quality butter. But Kennedy makes two intriguing points: that compound butter can involve cheese, and it’s the perfect topping for anything you grill.
“What I usually do is use garlic and herb cheese and the Alpine, maybe even horseradish, and you just grate that, mix that in softened butter, roll it like a tube and wrap it,” he says. Once it’s set in the fridge, you can slice into rounds to top steaks, chicken, burgers, or anything else that could use a rich, gooey dose of dairy. Doing this just before serving makes for a very photogenic dish, and Kennedy points out that it’s an easy way to “imagine” a barbecue in the backyard.
Also cater for vegetarians
As a test kitchen chef, Kennedy developed a versatile dish using something you might otherwise throw in the trash as you prepare for your barbecue: corn husks. “I don’t even know if I have a name for this thing,” he notes.
Here’s what to do: Take the corn on the cob out of the husk, clean the husk, and briefly put the husk in water to saturate it. Cut the corn off the cob and place it in the wrapper with beef, chicken, fish or vegetables, and cheddar cheese. Wrap it all up and grill it; the result is a steamy, sizzling package that you can unwrap onto a plate and eat straight from the wrapper.
“It’s a really cool way to cook just about anything on the grill, and the flavor is fantastic,” says Kennedy, noting that it’s a great way to cater for vegetarians so they ” don’t always get the black bean burger or the portobello”. .” Even if you don’t go the corn husk route, make sure your non-meat-eating guests also have the option of eating something tasty and indulgent.
Yes, cheddar s’mores. Kennedy, who developed the recipe, notes that while the combination may seem odd, a graham cracker topped with marshmallow, chocolate and cheddar cheese tastes like a rich bite of cheesecake. The official recipe can be found here.
It’s a divisive recipe — “people either love it or hate it,” Kennedy says — but when he debuted the concoction at a boat show in Rhode Island, hundreds lined up just to taste it. Even if some of the guests at your barbecue don’t like the sound, everyone will at least be curious about it. At best, you look like a culinary genius.
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