Ode to joy
The South is known for it’s pimento cheese and I know that everyone has their favorite. I am also aware that there are tons of restaurants that serve really great pimento cheeseburgers.
So, this article is not to diminish your favorites or your opinions. God knows this could be as bloody as the Great Duke vs All Other Mayonnaise Wars of the 20th century - so we are not going to go there.
I was lucky to meet and talk to Tom Hampton from Hampton Farms a few weeks ago at the Simpsonville Farmers Market and I left with a few of his homemade goodies and an idea.
I was going to make my own pimento cheeseburger at home that night and I wanted to combine all the things I love about burgers with this new “caviar of the south”, as Tom calls it.
First, my Mom used to make the greatest little burger around because she treated it like a grilled cheese sandwich - ala BSL style (that’s Broad Street Lunch in Camden, SC). She’d cook the burger thin and then smoosh it between two pieces of white bread in a pan with a little butter. As a kid - these were absolutely incredible. Sometimes there would be some cheese on there - sometimes not.
Now fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and you can see where I’m going. I took my newly purchased Hampton Farms Original Pimento Cheese Spread, grilled a perfectly hand formed thin pattie of Publix ground sirloin and recreated the cheeseburger of my youth. Let me tell you that Tom’s pimento cheese is outstanding!
Holy Cow! It was the messiest, crispiest (the secret is to slightly toast the white bread first) and most satisfying culinary throwback dinner special I’ve cooked in a long time. Absolute comfort food at its finest with my new favorite pimento cheese. I ate the rest of Tom’s pimento cheese over the next few days and relished every single bite of this homemade goodness.
And, if you’re out and about looking for a mighty fine pimento cheeseburger in downtown Greenville. Get the City Hall Special for lunch at Grill Marks and add pimento cheese. It may not be Tom’s pimento cheese, but their burgers are damn righteous.
Jay Spivey - Publisher of fête magazine