If you grew up in the South, the chances are pretty good that you have a family recipe for pimento cheese. There are over 100,000 or so recipes for it. Virtually every Southern cookbook that I own (and I have a LOT of them!) has at least one recipe for pimento cheese. And if you go to a party, or a cookout, or a tailgate south of the Mason-Dixon line, pimento cheese will be there, right along with 50 of your best friends and bourbon. If it is not there, consider it your responsibility to make some and bring it with you next time. Someone needs to carry on this proud tradition! Out of the 100,000 recipes for pimento cheese, I am happy to share our favorite one with you. It has Sriracha in it. You’re welcome.
Pimento cheese is almost as easy to make as foie gras. Just kidding! It’s easier than pie. Pie is hard to make. Here’s the big secret to great pimento cheese—don’t buy the cheese that is already grated. You must grate it yourself. I know, this takes enormous effort, but it is worth it. Do it! The pre-grated cheese just doesn’t work. What do they do to that stuff, anyway? If you have a food processor, it takes about 45 seconds to grate a pound of cheese. You might want to consider a food processor. It also makes great margaritas, and cowboy candy and other consumable delights.
Pimento cheese is simply served with crackers. But WAIT! There’s MORE! Try a grilled cheese sandwich made with it, or stir some into mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs. Mac and Cheese! And all that zucchini you have growing in the garden? What if you cut a few zukes in half and put them in a baking dish with a little olive oil, then topped it with some pimento cheese and bread crumbs and baked it? Oh, my!
- 14-16 ounces sharp cheddar, finely grated
- 1 glove garlic, minced
- A dash of Worcestershire sauce
- A dash of Sriracha sauce
- ½ cup good quality mayonnaise (Duke’s or Hellman’s)
- One 4-ounce jar pimentos, drained (reserve the juice)
- Salt and pepper
- Combine the cheese, garlic, Worcestershire, Sriracha and mayonnaise in a food processor, and pulse until blended. The mixture will still be a bit crumbly. Turn out into a bowl, and stir in the pimentos, mixing well. Taste it, and if you’d like it a little spicier, by all means, add another dash of Sriracha! If the cheese seems a bit dry or crumbly, add a little bit of the pimento juice. Taste again, then season with pepper and a little salt. Go easy on the salt, as the cheese is pretty salty and the crackers often are as well.