A long while ago I was watching an episode of "Good Eats" with Alton Brown and I swear I heard him say that he enjoys pulled pork sandwiches with nothing more than hot sauce and pickles. This struck me as odd and rather than test this idea out, I let it simmer in my mind for a few years, continuing to slather BBQ sauce all over my pulled pork. Then I was contacted by one of my friends at Vlasic pickles. They asked me if I could come up with a Superbowl recipe using a new line of pickles called "Farmer's Garden." I'm always up for a challenge so I accepted. I knew what I wanted to make immediately. I wanted to try Alton Brown's hot sauce and pickle idea but I wanted to take it up a few levels by adding it onto a grilled cheese sandwich. Grilled on the grill of course. Check this out!
To me pickles are pickles. Oh how wrong I was. When I went to the store to check out the Farmer's Garden bread and butter pickles, I instantly noticed that these pickles were huge, floating on top of an assortment of carrots and red peppers. Pretty unique. When I cracked the jar open to take a sample, I noticed a rich pickle flavor with a hint of sweet brine. This for sure was a gourmet pickle. It would work perfectly on my pulled pork grilled cheese.
As I discussed in another post, on grilling grilled cheese sandwiches, the key is to buy (or make) an artisan loaf of bread. This will give you a crispy crust that cannot be reproduced with a standard loaf of bread. There are many ways to make pulled pork so that's not the point of this post. Obtain it however you can. I grabbed some frozen pulled pork from my freezer for this recipe. Pickles, butter, any hot sauce you like, and cheese are all you need. I like a mild good melting cheese like Colby jack. I think a strong cheddar might not be a good choice here.
First things first, butter the bread just as you would when making a normal grilled cheese sandwich. On the non buttered side, lay down a generous portion of cheese and two big Farmer's Garden Vlasic pickles.
Next add the pulled pork. Since these pickles are jumbo sized, I placed the pork around the pickles and tried to avoid putting it on top. This helped keep a monster sized sandwich a bit smaller. Pour about 1-2 tablespoons of hot sauce on each sandwich. The more hot sauce the better!
Next add more cheese all over top of the sauced pork.
Put the top piece of buttered bread on and you're ready to light the grill.
Set up the grill for medium/medium high heat. Once the coals are ready put the sandwiches directly over the fire and close the dome. Count to 30 and carefully check underneath of the sandwich to see how it looks. If it is dark and well toasted flip the sandwich. If it is still soggy looking buttered bread leave it there for another minute. Check again. When the bottom is nicely grilled and dark flip it over. Repeat the same process for the other side. Once both sides are nicely charred and toasty, move the pulled pork grilled cheese sandwiches to an indirect heat area of the grill. The goal now is to make sure the sandwiches "bake" and have a fully melted and oozing hot inside.
Oh yes. This looks just about right. Notice that big old pickle sticking out of the side! I really enjoyed this one. The buttery artisan slices of bread are warm and crunchy, the oozing cheese tastes just like a normal grilled cheese sandwich. However, the addition of smoky pulled pork with hot sauce which is nicely balanced by the sweet bread and butter chips takes this grilled cheese sandwich over the top. The cool thing about these is that they can be grilled in advance and then reheated in an oven later (the bread is so crispy that it won't get soggy). This is a great idea for a Superbowl party!