The Best Grilled Cheese Ever

It doesn’t get any better than this….

It doesn’t get any better than this….

This week’s calendar is packed - National Beer Day is Sunday and National Grilled Cheese Day is Friday. What better way to celebrate both with my favorite grilled cheese recipe that features a beer and bacon marmalade and heirloom tomatoes? Don’t forget to serve your favorite beer alongside.

Tomato Grilled Cheese with Beer and Bacon Marmalade


  • SANDWICH (makes 1)

    • 2 tbsp. softened unsalted butter, divided

    • 2 slices white bread, preferably thick

    • ¼ cup Beer and Bacon Marmalade (recipe below)

    • 2 slices American cheese

    • 3 slices heirloom tomato

  • BEER AND BACON MARMALADE (make 1 cup, enough for 4 sandwiches)

    • 12 oz. smoked bacon

    • 1/4 cup minced shallot

    • 1 tbsp. minced garlic

    • 3 1/2 tbsp. dark brown sugar

    • 1 tbsp. honey

    • 3 tbsp. sherry vinegar

    • 3 tbsp. apple cider vinegar

    • 1 cup brewed coffee

    • 1 cup beer, preferably a porter or stout

    • 1 tsp. kosher salt

    • 1/4 - 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper


  1. For the sandwich:

    Spread butter onto one side of each piece of bread. Place a cast-iron skillet over medium heat and toast the buttered bread.

  2. Remove the bread from the skillet and place it on a cutting board, toasted side up. Slather the marmalade over the toast, and then stack the cheese and tomato on top. Put the sandwich together, and spread the soft outside with the remaining butter. Return it to the skillet and toast until golden and cheese is gooey. Serve with beer.

  3. For the Beer and Bacon Marmalade:

    Cook bacon slices in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until crispy (about 5–6 minutes), and then remove them to a paper-towel-lined plate to drain.

  4. Reserve 2 tbsp. of bacon fat in the pan, and add the shallots. Cook them over medium heat until they begin to brown (about 3–5 minutes), and then add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds before adding brown sugar, honey, and vinegars. Simmer until reduced by half, and then add coffee and beer and continue to simmer until the mixture is reduced to a syrup-like consistency (about 10–12 minutes).

  5. Remove from the stove, season with salt and red pepper, and allow to cool.

  6. Crush or chop bacon into small pieces and fold them into coffee-beer mixture. Store in an airtight container, refrigerated, for up to 3 days. (Makes 1 cup, or enough for 4 sandwiches)

Recipe and photo from Garden and Gun chef David Bancroft of Acre, Auburn, Alabama.

mary van hielFood, love