This is quite some grilled cheese sandwich (photo #1), created by Scott Slater, founder of the burger chain Slater’s 50/50.
It’s a restaurant whose signature burger is 50% ground bacon/50% ground beef.
“We do bacon better than anybody, and this sandwich is no exception,” says company founder Scott Slater.
Pork Belly Grilled Cheese is his take on a grilled cheese sandwich with bacon, and is a big hit with patrons (the difference between bacon and pork belly is below).
The Pork Belly Grilled Cheese sandwich uses pimento cheese spread instead of sliced cheese. We put together a copycat recipe based on Slater’s description of the sandwich. Then we added our own twist: a slice of emmental, a swiss cheese (photo #4).
Of course, for the real thing, head to a Slater’s 50/50 California, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada or Texas.The restaurant makes its own pimento cheese, jalapeño-bacon jam and pickled red onions. We’ve provided some hacks in the instructions.
Slater’s serves the sandwich with french fries and a proprietary bacon ketchup.
We think the sandwich has enough flavor that it doesn’t need another condiment, like ketchup.
> Check out the different types of bacon.
Photo #1 shows a triple decker sandwich. We made a single-decker sandwich, which was plenty rich and satisfying.
1. PICKLE the onions. You can purchase pickled onions, but here’s how to pickle them from scratch. You can pickle the onions up to a week in advance. The longer they’re in the brine, the more the pickled flavor.
2. PREPARE the pimento cheese. If you don’t buy it ready made, here’s a recipe.
3. PREPARE the jalapeño bacon jam. You can purchase bacon jam and stir in minced jalapeños. Or, here’s a recipe.
4. SLICE and cook the pork belly. You can pan-fry it, roast it, or slow-cook it. Here’s how. When ready to assemble the sandwich…
5. TOAST the bread. Butter it lightly if you desire (we thought it was overkill), and slather it with pimento cheese. Add the pork belly. In our version, we added a slice of emmental (Swiss) cheese, and used a butane kitchen torch that we use for crème brûlée).
Bacon is made by salting and seasoning different cuts of pork through a process called curing—using salt to draw moisture out.
In addition the U.S., the belly meat* is typically used. The bacon is then cured—salted, to draw out moisture—and smoked, to add smoky flavor.
While it comes from the same belly of the pig, pork belly is neither cured nor smoked. It is also served in thicker slices and instead of smoky flavor, has a softness ad slick mouthfeel from the added layers of fat.
All bacon is pork belly but not all pork belly is bacon.
Though a fattier meat, it can be diced for stir-fry, rolled for roasting or cut into square or rectangular “steaks.”
*The belly is the area on the lower side and underside of the pig, from which American bacon (“streaky bacon”) is made. In other countries, bacon is also made from the back, butt, jowls, loin, shoulder and sides. Sometimes it is smoked, sometimes not.