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Taco Melt from The Grilled Cheese Truck

Dave Danhi and Michele Grant are the dynamic duo behind The Grilled Cheese Truck in Los Angeles, California. Together they have been grilling up unique grilled cheese sandwiches featuring fresh and local ingredients since 2009.

Recipe Details

  • Prep time: 30 minutes
  • Total time: 45 minutes
  • Yield (number of servings): 4

Recipe Overview
Layers of melted Tillamook Pepper Jack and Cotija cheese, taco meat, pico de gallo, and avocado cover crispy corn tortillas. Grill it all between two slices of chili cheese bread – it’s how tacos were meant to be eaten.

“Weekly, someone will come up to The Grilled Cheese Truck asking for a taco because, well, it’s usually assumed that there are tacos on lunch trucks. If you can’t beat them, join them, I say! I love the texture of the crispy tortillas in this!” – Dave Danhi of The Grilled Cheese Truck

Ingredients List

Butter Spread

Taco Meat

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ yellow onion, cut into ¼ inch pieces
  • ½ jalapeño
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1/3 cup cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 1 teaspoon white pepper, ground
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ground cumin

Pico de Gallo

  • 3 Roma tomatoes, cut in ¼ inch pieces
  • 4 whole cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • ½ red onion, finely diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, washed and chopped
  • 2 limes (juice only)
  • 1 jalapeño, finely minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • 8 slices chili cheese bread, thick ½ inch slices (Trader Joe’s brand, or see recipe)
  • 16 slices Tillamook® Pepper Jack Cheese
  • 8 whole corn tortillas, fried crisply
  • Taco meat mix (see recipe)
  • 4 oz crumbled Cotija cheese
  • 8 oz pico de gallo (see recipe)
  • 1 large ripe avocado, cut into quarters and sliced thinly


Butter Spread
In a mixer, put butter and mayonnaise and beat with the paddle attachment until well mixed. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl to incorporate all butter as it may stick to the bowl.

Taco Meat
In a heavy bottom pot, heat olive oil until hot and add onions. Sauté for 5 minutes and add garlic and jalapeños. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Add ground beef and cook, stirring occasionally until thoroughly cooked. Add remaining ingredients and adjust seasonings to your taste. Remove from heat.

Pico de Gallo
Combine all ingredients and allow to chill for at least one hour.

Assembly of Sandwiches
Generously butter each slice of bread on one side and lay buttered side down. Add (in this order) on one slice of bread: 2 slices Pepper Jack, 1 crispy corn tortilla, 3 oz cooked taco meat, 1 oz crumbled Cotija cheese, ¼ of the avacado, 1 oz pico de gallo, 1 crispy corn tortilla, 2 slices Pepper Jack, and add the second slice of bread (buttered side out) to top it off.

Heat griddle to about 350°F. Place all sandwiches on griddle. Allow sandwiches to cook slowly. If your heat is too high, the bread will burn and the inside of the sandwich will not be hot. Once golden brown, gently flip and repeat until cheese is melted and inside is hot. If the bread browns prior to the inside being hot, place pan with sandwiches in oven at 450°F to allow to finish.

Jalapeno Cheese Bread (optional)
Cut one jalapeño into very thin slices (use a mandolin if you have one or a very sharp knife), and crumble (or shred) some Cheddar. Butter the outside of a plain piece of bread and place the jalapeño slices (about 4-6 per slice) on the butter. Sprinkle with a small amount of Cheddar and prepare the sandwich as directed above. Be sure to use a non-stick pan when doing it this way. You may want to lower the heat slightly (340°F) so the cheese doesn’t burn before the sandwich is ready.


Suzan Wilson

What is, and whee can I purchase Cotija cheese??? This sounds really good, different, and unique. What could you pair this with if you were serving for dinner? Fruit salad maybe? Something like that? I totally want to try this! Thanks for the recipe!

April 7th, 2012 at 9:58 am

Randy Humphreys

I can't wait to try this! It looks like something from the Food Channel!

April 7th, 2012 at 12:47 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi Suzan - thanks for reading! These are great questions! Cotija cheese is a hard cow's milk cheese that originated in Mexico. I'm not sure where you live, but I believe many grocery stores carry it. You might just have to ask :) Since the sandwich is a little spicy, I would serve it with cool, summer fruit like watermelon. Yum!

~ Katy of the Tillamook Team

April 13th, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Tillamook Team

Hi Randy - it's great to hear that you're liking our Recipepalooza recipes! Let me know how your sandwich turns out!

~ Katy of the Tillamook Team

April 13th, 2012 at 1:41 pm
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