Grilled Cheese Invitational: Grilling Tips, and Registration Is Open!

Artisan cheese rockers the Hot Knives prep their winning sammiches, 2008.

The 1st 7th Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational is two weekends from now. Is your sammy ready for the smackdown?

Many enter. Few leave. Well, ok, everyone leaves but not everyone wins. I’ve compiled a few tips for those interested in entering this bracing competition. I’ve seen enough of these wild cheesy orgies to know what works & what doesn’t.

Register your sandwich here, and click through for the tips…I’m also hoping other folks will share tips in the comments. Wanna go without competing? Great! They’ll announce the location shortly.

These were originally composed for LA Metblogs pal Jeff, but they should be shared with the world. Sorry Jeff. I’ve also added a few more.

  • Pull a team together beforehand that will BE THERE that day & will actually help you & won’t bail on you even if someone gives them free Coachella tix (it happened last year).
  • For the love of God, don’t care about it too much. The grilled cheese sammich is about zen.
  • Following up on #2, don’t spend a lot of money! Not for high-quality Tuscan prosciutto, not for decadent chestnut paste, not for rare cave-aged gryuere handmade by monks & set to age in a cask under the sea for fifty years…YOU WILL LOSE! AND YOUR MONEY WILL BE ALL GONE! AND YOU WILL HATE EVERYONE FOREVER! So don’t spend money. Or if you’ve already bought all that shit, put it in the fridge, wait a week or so after the GCI, and serve up your lavish spread for your closest friends at an at-home dinner party. Then you will Win for realz.
  • Don’t rush, or you’ll end up staring in hypnotized horror as a giant chunk of your own flesh drops gaily into a pile of sliced apples beneath your mandoline slicer. Do not ask how I know this or you will be directed to The Scar.
  • Between the euphoric/starved crowd, the spazzy runners, you, your cooker’s variable heat and how close to vomiting the judges are, your chances at winning–while carefully calibrated by computers–are still voted upon by fallible and capricious humans, and thus a crapshoot. Understand this. Embrace it.
  • That said, some things are surefire crowd-pleasers: Browned butter. Caramelized onions. Showmanship on the part of your runners. Cheese that actually melts (a tip: grate or crumble it first). Mascarpone and chocolate. Boobs.
  • A friend noted this just tonight: the larger your portions, the more grateful your hungry judges will be, and the more of your sample they’ll get to enjoy. It will linger with them as they vote. So make large samples.
  • Grating your cheese makes it melt better. I ain’t sayin’, I’m just sayin’.
  • It is surprisingly hard to win the Spaz trophy, even when you really, really try. Blue dye has been done, so that’s out. So is Jell-o.
  • Have your runners tell the “eaters” what ingredients are in the sandwich they are about to enjoy. It helps them to enjoy all the flavors, and to remember it when they vote.
  • It is still Time For Pie. Even though today is about cheese. If you bring pie, you also Win. I’ll even go so fas at to ass FTW in that one. [EDIT: Wow, that’s too good to erase. What I meant to write was, “I’ll even go so far as to add “For The Win!” in that one.” Ta-da!]
  • 11. Good luck, and go with Gud.

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