BBQ Steak Sandwiches with Pimento Cheese

Steak sandwiches with pimento cheese

On Thursday, I went to the Fortnum and Mason Food and Drink Awards, because I was nominated for online food and drink writer of the year. I was sure I didn’t have a hope in hell of winning with Felicity Cloake and Sue Quinn as my competition and you know what? I was right. Sue won and I think deservedly so. Congratulations again, Sue.

Was I disappointed I didn’t win? Yeah, of course. As I stood there in my fancy blouse and disco shoes, sweating profusely (for it was the hottest room in London, filled with too many people), my stomach was like a butterfly circus. I knew I wasn’t the one, though, and consequently had bugger all to say if required to go on stage. Cue more sweating. By the end I resembled a floppy poodle clutching a glass of champagne, hungry eyes strobing the corners of the room in search of canapes.

I did get to stand in a room with some properly famous food people though. Imagine me nudging my boyfriend in the ribs and mouthing, “it’s Nigella! It’s ACTUALLY NIGELLA!” and then doing the same for Rick Stein before finishing with my usual, “Marcus Wareing really does look a lot like a Border Terrier, amiright?” He does, though. Check it out.

Marcus Wareing Border Terrier

What has all this got to do with steak sandwiches, you’re thinking? The answer, my friends, is not a lot. This is just a story about me losing an award and then cooking some steak sandwiches as a consolation prize. I think that’s okay.

Now you all know that steak sandwiches are brilliant, but do you also know about pimento cheese? If you’re American, then you will, but the Brits, not so much. It’s a Southern American thang and if you’re interested then there’s a lovely little history on the website Serious Eats. Basically, it’s a mixture of cheddar (crappy stuff – remember, this is American cheese), mayo and seasonings, including of course pimento peppers. It’s traditionally eaten on little crackers but I find that kind of boring, preferring it instead on burgers or in sandwiches.

Rib Eye Steak

I love creamy cheese in a steak sandwich (see also: Boursin) and this is fantastic with its zippy grit of pimentos and jalapenos. I also mixed up some chives with olive oil and brushed it on the baguette before toasting on the BBQ. Excellent allium twang.

Who needs awards when you’ve got steak sandwiches? (Me. I need awards).

Steak Sandwich with Pimento Cheese

BBQ Steak Sandwiches with Pimento Cheese Recipe

Serves 4

1 good quality baguette (I used sourdough)
2 thick rib eye steaks
225g Cheddar cheese, grated (this is the time for Cathedral City, not Keen’s)
50g mayonnaise
50g cream cheese
50g jarred pimento peppers, diced (those Peppadew ones but not stuffed)
30g jarred jalapenos, diced
1 teaspoon Chohula hot sauce (or similar)
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped chives

Light your BBQ.

To make the pimento cheese, mix the mayonnaise, cream cheese, and Cheddar together in a bowl. It will look a bit stiff but don’t worry. Add the pimentos, jalapenos, hot sauce and cayenne. Mix and adjust seasonings if you like, adding more of any ingredient.

Cook your steaks by seasoning highly with salt and pepper. Cook on a BBQ for about 2.5 mins each side (depending on thickness), flipping every 30 seconds (or cook to your liking).Allow to rest, then slice.

Brush the baguette with chive oil, then toast lightly. Spread with pimento cheese, then add the steak. Close, slice and serve.

You will have lots of lovely pimento cheese leftover. Try it in burgers, on other sandwiches, or as a dip.

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  • Avatar
    Reply Alicia (foodycat) May 16, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    This is really interesting – I keep seeing things about pimento cheese and I tried to make it but I wasn’t sure it was how it should be. Using peppadews instead of the roasted chargrilled antipasto-y peppers I used definitely sounds more right!

    You should have won the award just for those shoes.

  • Avatar
    Reply Msmarmitelover May 17, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    You had some tough competition there so commiserations. Your blog is one of the best though and it’s an actual blog, not writing for the online section of a big media paper. X

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves May 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm

      Thanks Kerstin, I really appreciate you saying that x

  • Avatar
    Reply Chris May 17, 2016 at 4:59 pm

    Helen- thanks for being honest; I am a rural hick and can’t travel much ( livestock), so enjoy your blog for the food ideas, travelogues, and the human story that comes through. Keep your pecker up – next year is just around the corner!

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves May 17, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Aww, thanks Chris! That comment has made my day 😀

  • Avatar
    Reply Gillie May 18, 2016 at 4:00 am

    You’re examples of what brand of cheddar cheese to buy is rather ambiguous for an American. However, growing up eating and adoring pimento cheese we always used “rat cheese” to make it. No, ’tis not cheese made from rats, but very sharp cheddar, is that what you used? We always bought the cheapest brand of sharp cheddar to make this as it seemed to have the correct flavor profile. My granddad used to tell me about walking to the country store to buy “rat cheese” and a sack of crackers from a barrel as a young’n when he went fishing.

    • Avatar
      Reply Helen Graves May 18, 2016 at 6:46 am

      Yeah sorry, those are UK cheeses! So Cathedral City is a very cheap brand of mass-produced cheddar, but Keen’s is what we would call a ‘proper’ cheddar – made with unpasteurised milk from grass fed cows, aged properly. It would be way to good to use here. I’m not sure I would describe our cheap cheddar as ‘sharp’ though. I LOVE the name ‘rat cheese’! That is brilliant. I just looked it up and it’s apparently so called as deemed suitable only for rat traps haha! OR, pimento cheese!

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