Thursday, August 29, 2013

Grilled Cheese Sandwich - Five Guys Style

Ain't That Unusual by Goo Goo Dolls
"Hey, you never made it.  Ain't that unusual?"  Exactly what I was saying when I had my encounter with a Five Guys Grilled Cheese sandwich.  Not that grilled cheese is unusual - at all.  But their methodology is a bit outside the box.  And it's brilliant.  And it's very unusual that I hadn't thought of doing it their way a long time before now.  Leftover hamburger buns will never catch me heaving a sigh, saying "What in the heck am I going to do with all these buns?"  I know what will be happening!

I was in Utah for family events recently and happened to be staying in
downtown Ogden for a few days.
Close to our hotel was a Five Guys Burgers and Fries.
One night around dinnertime, we were looking for a place to eat.
I wasn't too hungry but my sister, Brenda, was, so we set
out to find her some dinner - at the Five Guys.

We were helped at the counter by James, a guy who seemed to have
an interest in every customer in the place.
He took my sister's order and then looked expectantly at me.
I told him I wasn't going to have dinner but I'd take a drink, please.
He told me he was pretty sure I was going to want some fries of my own when I tasted my sister's.  I told him I was indeed familiar with their legendary fries as we had just got
our very own Five Guys at home.
I told him we had just come from a family reunion and I was still quite full.
He said OK, but comped the drink for me.
What a nice guy!

We took a seat and waited for our order.
And as we waited, we watched James go around to the customers and chat - making sure that they were satisfied with their food, etc.
When my sister's food arrived, he made sure to check on us as well, double-checking that I was going to be good without my own fries.
I was.

My sister and I chatted for several minutes after James left and
I asked how her grilled cheese sandwich was - you know, for real.
I loved the idea that you could amp up your grilled cheese sandwich
any way you wanted, just like a burger.
She said hers was great with dill pickles and jalapeños - but admitted she would have liked her peppers roasted a bit.
But then she asked, "Have you noticed what they've done here?"
Or something along those lines.
We examined the bread being used.
It was circular.
Did they have it made special?
And then we noticed!
And, I don't know why, but I was surprised, thrilled, amazed, respectful, and impressed to find that they use their hamburger buns for the grilled cheese - only they use them inside out!

Brenda and I discussed what a perfect solution this was for a burger joint.
It's one of the basic rules for a well-run eating establishment - to make the most of the resources you have on hand.
Having to stock a separate bread, just for the sandwiches, requires additional space - especially on the line.  Real estate on a cooking line is precious and carefully distributed.
How smart to figure out a way to use the hamburger buns in a way that the customer still gets that gloriously crispy outside toast, which is the trademark
of the favored sandwich in the first place.
On the other side of that beautifully domed top of a bun, is the surface of a slice of bread.

I found James in the dining area and asked if he knew the origins of this methodology.
He was amused, I could tell, that I was so taken with it all.
Was it an accident?
Did they run out of regular bread for the sandwiches one day and somebody figured it out?
He wasn't sure - maybe he hadn't realized the scope of what using that bun meant.
But I did!

Now, when I'm post "BBQ party at my house!" and I'm staring at all those leftover buns, I can think past yet another container of bread crumbs in my freezer, or the hopeful bread pudding that never seems to get made.  I will be envisioning gussied up Grilled Cheese sandwiches!

Today, I don't have as much a recipe to share as I do this methodology.
Perhaps, being the end of the summer, you, too, have a
freezer or drawer full of leftover hamburger buns.
With the coming season of comforting soups, I hope you'll look at those stragglers as the perfect base for the grilled sandwich to accompany all those soups!

As per my sister's wish, I recreated her Grilled Cheese sandwich with dill pickles and chili pepper but used a roasted poblano pepper in place of the raw jalapeño.
With fresh corn on the cob, it was a great meal enjoyed out on the patio!
The following are some photos showing how I got to this end result!
I used two kinds of cheese, dill pickles, and roasted poblano pepper - except for the one on the end, which is for my husband.
Then I skimmed some butter over the tops - or insides - of the buns.
Notice I said skim.  You don't need to go over board on the butter, folks.
You can see the golden beautiful toast I got with just a bit of it.
When you put these on the hot griddle, buttered side down, you can 
put the skim of butter on the other side.  
Then flip!
Oh my!
That ooze of cheese coming over the bottom 
of the bun just makes my mouth water!

Come up with your own gourmet Grilled Cheese on a hamburger 
bun deliciousness and let me know about it!

In the meantime, kudos to Five Guys!


  1. Hey there, it is great you girls are having a good time. Grilled cheese has always been my favorite since I was little. I would always order when we would go out to dinner and Gramps would always say I was a cheap dinner.
    We have a Five Guys near us so I'll try theirs then I'll try them with buns here.
    Aunt Linda

    1. I remember one of my favorite treats as a kid was going into Kresge's and getting a grilled cheese sandwich up at the grill counter. The cheese was all melted and would form these great strands of gooey goodness as I pulled them apart. Let me know what Five Guys combination you try at home, OK?

  2. Yes, I used to go to Kresge's every Saturday and then went to movies for day.
    Cherry Coke, grilled cheese, and then a Sundae to top off.
    I will let you know.
    Aunt Linda

  3. Okay, I had to go today to try this grilled cheese at Five Guys, I think your's looked a heck of a lot better. I had them grill hot pepper and I didn't know they leave seeds in too. WOW what a bit. I'd rather have seeds removed, LOL!! The guy who cooked said he have to try as he thought it looked good. On last half I had to remove hot pepper. Pickles also were great on it.
    Now I'll try making your's, but not until next week as I've got to let my mouth heal.
    Aunt Linda

    1. Hmmmm. He probably only had the jalapeños to use and they are hotter than the poblanos. And seeds, as well as that white membrane on the inside of the pepper, definitely kick up the heat! Yowza! I can only imagine! Also - when you roast a pepper, you need to remove that black charred outer skin because it gets bitter.

      I think next time, I'll just use some red sweet peppers I got in a jar at the grocery store. The color and flavor will be pretty great. And I might try a sweet pickle instead. And I bit of a tangy cheese like bleu or goat.

  4. Mind. Blown. I had no idea!! I need to try one of these, ASAP! Thanks for the tip!!

    1. I know, right?! Delish! And I heard from my buddy, James, from the Five Guys in downtown Ogden and he said that they most definitely are happy to grill the peppers if you wish. Good food and good times!

  5. I've asked about the grilled cheese and they told me they use mayo instead of butter.