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Photo by Tim Walker

Since starting the Grilled Cheese Invitationalback in 2003, as the Founder and Chief Instigator I’ve seen every sort of grilled cheese sandwich and am always impressed with the creativity and deliciousness that a champion grilled cheese can bring to the table.

From humble beginnings as a cooking contest amongst friends to a national phenomenon with over 250 competitors and an army of grilled cheese lovers 10,000 strong, the Grilled Cheese Invitational is the perfect venue for everyday folks to put their signature twist on this staple sandwich.

For this year’s National Grilled Cheese month, I’m offering up some great examples of award winning grilled cheese in the four categories of competition. Look for them each Thursday on the Tillamook Loaf Life blog.

The first recipe is one for our new-for-2011 category: Love, American Style. As with all noble human pursuits, a perfect grilled cheese must first begin with love.

The Love category is for the classic American grilled cheese:  White bread, orange cheese and butter.  No other cheeses, colors or ingredients.  Since a competitor is only going to win this category with grilling style, it’s important to make your sandwich stand out.

We haven’t had an official winner in this category yet so I’m offering my take on a Love, American Style sandwich called “The Love Moat.”

The Love Moat
2 Slices of Country Potato Bread
3-4 Slices of Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Cheese
2 Tablespoons Butter

Slightly sweet and soft, potato bread contrasts well with a nice sharp cheddar and is the perfect vehicle to absorb butter.  The bread browns nicely and provides a crisp but not too rugged crust and stays soft on the inside…for the win!

1. Assemble the sandwich, distributing the cheese evenly on the bread.

Photo by Tim Walker

2. Add one tablespoon of butter to a skillet on low-medium heat.  Let the butter melt evenly and then place the sandwich in the pan.  Cook for 3-5 minutes.

Photo by Tim Walker

3. Here’s my secret: In order to grill the other side, take the sandwich out of the pan and remove the pan from the heat, letting the pan cool down a little before putting the second tablespoon of butter in the pan.  This’ll keep the butter from scorching.

Photo by Tim Walker

4. Return the pan to the heat, add the butter and melt like in step 2, then place the sandwich back in to grill the other side for another 3-5 minutes, until you have a nice and even brown.  Remove the sandwich from the pan.

5. Here’s the win: Cut the sandwich in half and before you serve it, hold the halves above the plate and let some of the melted cheese ooze out of the sandwich so that it pools a little on the plate to create a molten, cheesy moat of cheddar!

Photo by Tim Walker

Photo by Tim Walker

Photo by Tim Walker

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Tim Walker, founder of the Grilled Cheese Invitational



I've always been a spread-the-butter-on-the-bread gal, but I am inspired to try your method. Must have a grilled cheese, STAT. ;)

April 7th, 2011 at 10:11 am


Wow. I think I just had a cheesegasm!!! o_o

April 7th, 2011 at 10:14 am


I'm with Shawna - I didn't know that not putting the butter on the bread was an option...seems crazy to me. Now I have to try it!

April 7th, 2011 at 10:51 am


This is my absolute favorite type of Grilled's the original and always a winner with the kiddos.

April 7th, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Don Dutton

I have always buttered the bread first, heated the frying pan for a minute or two, and put some Dijon mustard on the bread. I use sliced Tillamook Jack Cheese as my son does not like cheddar. A nice touch for a change is a slice of ham or a couple of strips of bacon put in between the cheese. My wife likes a thin slice of tomato on hers!

Made grilled cheese for lunch today, as a matter of fact! They were nice and golden like those in the pictures and the butter was on the bread rather than in the pan. Butter that is not covered by the bread can burn and turn black giving a bitter taste to the sandwich when it is turned. Just sayin....

April 7th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Tillamook Team

Tim is the grilled cheese master! He has all kinds of sandwich-making tricks up his sleeves. If any of you try to make this, let us know!


-Tara of the Tillamook Team

April 8th, 2011 at 12:07 pm
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