Pimento Cheese Recipe: Southern Sandwich Spread Or Dip

 

Master’s Golf Tournement

If “Augusta, GA is no place to be”, why are Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer hanging around town? It’s the annual Master’s Golf Tournament held every year in Augusta. It is ceremoniously held the first full week of April when spring in the Southeast is putting on a show as spectacular as the tournament.

The Masters is one of four major pro-golf tournaments, and it is the only one held at the same venue every year. It is held at the Augusta National Golf Club, a private golf club in Augusta, Georgia. The course was designed by pro-golfer Bobby Jones who established the club in the early 1930s and soon after co-founded the Master’s Tournament with Clifford Roberts.

Food at the Master’s Golf Tournament

Just like fair or circus fare, the Masters has its own style of food. Sandwiches available are dirt cheap, all under $3.00. Specialties like Georgia peach ice cream sandwiches pop up from year to year. Water and soda are available, and until 4:00 pm you can buy beer. What ever happened to “It’s 5:00 somewhere?”

One of the most popular sandwiches at the tournament has traditionally been old southern style homemade pimento cheese.  A couple of years ago, for whatever reason, the chef who usually makes the pimento cheese didn’t come to the event.

Disappointed reporters and other attendees really noticed the difference in the famed homemade pimento cheese spread. It has been said that the regular maker of the pimento cheese spread refuses to share his secret recipe.

Hearing this news tidbit got me thinking. How long had it been since I had strolled into the old small town drug store lunch counter? The one that sold fresh hot dogs and hamburgers with homemade chili and creamy coleslaw? Their grilled pimento cheese always came with dill pickle garnishes and potato chips or french fries. The only thing else needed for drug-store- lunch-counter bliss was a tall glass of iced sweet tea.

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Old southern-style grilled homemade pimento cheese sandwich is grilled on lightly buttered griddle.

Southern Pimento Cheese Recipe

Paula Deen’s sons have helped their Savannah, Ga native mom open a couple of fantastic restaurants and share many great recipes online and in published books. I used Bobby’s pimento cheese recipe to create a bit of a lighter version just by substituting low-fat cheddar, Monterrey Jack and cream cheese. I also wanted mine a little more on the hot side, so I added some cayenne pepper. It was delicious as both a dip and sandwich spread.

Ingredients For Old-Fashioned Homemade Pimento Cheese

  • one 8 ounce package cream cheese, low fat
  • one cup sharp cheddar, shredded, low fat
  • one cup Monterey Jack, shredded, low fat
  • one-half cup mayonnaise, light
  • peppercorns, cracked
  • one-half tsp house seasoning, recipe below
  • one-half tsp cayenne pepper
  • pimentos, chopped

Making Pimento Cheese Spread

  1. set out cream cheese to become room temperature
  2. cream the cream cheese with an electric mixer
  3. add other ingredients. Mix well with the mixer

Paula Deen’s House Seasoning

Paula’s House Seasoning is a simple mixture of black pepper, garlic salt, and salt. Paula uses one cup salt and 1/2 cup each of black pepper and garlic salt. For my homemade pimento cheese spread, I cut the recipe in half and used sea salt.

Delicious Homemade Pimento Cheese Spread

Begin by creaming the cream cheese with an electric mixer
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Add the other cheeses and ingredients

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Makes a great dip, too!

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