Since I eat a grilled cheese pretty much anywhere it's on the menu, I've decided to put together my own Grilled Cheese Rating Rubric – otherwise, how would I systematically and analytically know which one is the best? Plus, next Sunday (April 12) is National Grilled Cheese Day, so this scoring sheet is really a serious necessity and NOT a waste of time in any way whatsoever.
So here we go. When I think about what's most important to me in a good grilled cheese, these are the top factors:
1. Cheese to Bread Ratio: Every bite of grilled cheese should be a pleasurable explosion of cheese in your mouth, with the right balance of crispy, buttery bread to set it off. Too much cheese and you're overwhelmed – not enough and you're bored.
2. Cheese Flavors: I love cheese more than most people, but some cheeses are just too much in sandwich quantities (ahem, brie, cough), unless they're cut with another flavor. Sometimes that's a second (or third, nom) cheese, and sometimes it's something extra, like jam. It's important, though, that cheese is still the dominant flavor, no matter what's added.
|The grilled cheese at the Bakery Lorraine in San Antonio. Delicious bread, but too much brie :(|
3. Bread Type: Let's be honest – without bread, a sandwich isn't a sandwich. The bread needs to be just as delicious as the cheese, and if it's anything more adventurous than your basic white or wheat bread, then the flavor of the bread needs to complement the flavor of the cheese (ex: sourdough + pepper jack = awesome).
4. Preparation: The best ingredients in the world mean nothing if the sandwich is burnt, cold, or soggy. The perfect grilled cheese is crispy but not charred, with the right amount of butter to make the bread golden and savory – not greasy. The sandwich should be warm, evenly-grilled, and melty, like my heart when I take a bite of it.
|The Triple-Decker Grilled Cheese at Bourbon Street Distillery in Indianapolis. |
Extra bread, but it's got the cheese to carry it off.
That's it! The four primary factors in evaluating your grilled cheese. I debated adding "Price" as number five but ultimately decided that a bad sandwich shouldn't get extra points for being cheap. Bad grilled cheese = bad grilled cheese, whatever the price.
I'm not gonna lie, this is probably the most excited I've been about anything since 2015 began. If you share in my enthusiasm for grilled cheese taste testing, you can download the rubric here or by clicking the image below.
Let me know how it goes, whether you think we're missing important criteria or you find that elusive 20 pointer. AND if you tag @oliveandclyde when you use the rubric on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or wherever, you MAY just end up with some freebies. Just sayin'. I'm always partial to a fellow cheese lover ;)