Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Pimento Cheese Paradise

Posted March 10, 2010

Please excuse my arrogance but I will state up front that I am a pimento cheese snob. I grew up on homemade pimento cheese in Morganton. It was my favorite food as a child. I called it “min-uh-ma” cheese before I could say it correctly. I’ve eaten it on celery, crackers and pumpernickel bread. I’ve grilled it in sour dough sandwiches and splashed it on nachos. Once in college I ate five pimento cheese sandwiches during a single lunch. I’ve had to cut back obviously to protect my girlish figure. But pimento cheese is one thing I dearly love.

This week on WRAL’s Local Dish Brian Shrader and the Ag Department’s Lisa Prince will unveil a pimento cheese recipe. I haven’t seen it yet but I wanted to get the discussion going now.

What restaurant serves the best pimento cheese? What company makes the best pimento cheese? Please offer your opinions.

Here are my rules. Pimento cheese should never be sweet. Some people like Miracle Whip and that’s fine but it should NEVER be included in a pimento cheese recipe. Pimento cheese deserves only Duke’s Mayonnaise as its base. Sharp cheddar cheese is a must.

The Fresh Market makes fantastic pimento cheese. Other than my mother’s recipe it is my all-time favorite. You can buy it in their stores. My good buddy Bob Inskeep really likes Stan’s pimento cheese. I do as well. I love the peppery pimento flavor in Stan’s. Most of the other stuff in stores I cannot stomach.

Southern Living has a wonderful pimento cheese recipe:

Pimiento Cheese
Makes 4 cups
Prep: 15 min.
11/2 cups mayonnaise
1 (4-oz.) jar diced pimiento, drained
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. finely grated onion
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 (8-oz.) block extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, finely shredded
1 (8-o.z) block sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded
Stir together first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; stir in cheeses. Store in refrigerator up to 1 week.

Paula Deen uses cream cheese in her pimento cheese recipe and an equal amount of Monterey Jack cheese to blend with the sharp cheddar. What about you? What’s your recipe? Please share.


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  • fishingfoolmama Mar 12, 2010

    Shorty's in Wake Forest has the best grilled sandwich I have ever tasted anywhere!!

  • PAINFREE Mar 10, 2010

    My brother in California makes really wonderful pimiento cheese, and one time I brought a small cooler (the size that holds a six-pack) FULL of his back to NC, and ate on it 'til it was gone! Need to go back for more!

  • MaplesMom Mar 10, 2010

    Not a fan, but my hubby loves it. One exception was when I was on fertility meds to try and get pregnant. I "craved" it. I would eat it on anything: bread, celery, ritz, even spread it on cucumbers. Once off the medication- I can tolerate it. I'll occationally buy a tub of Ruth's for a treat for my hubby.

  • ysq2 Mar 10, 2010

    Oh and the lady at the Farmer's Market, the one in the building that makes Apple Jacks (pie not the cereal), had a really good pimento cheese. I was thinking about swinging by there tomorrow to see if she had it.

  • ysq2 Mar 10, 2010

    Wow! My crazy sister-in-law and I were having a conversation about pimento cheese just recently and she said almost word for word what Bill said, not sweet, Duke's Mayonnaise... wow... southerners! ;-)

  • timluckadoo Mar 10, 2010

    I recently discovered a product called Palmetto Cheese. It is made by a small company near Myrtle Beach and is only sold in stores near there and in the Charlotte area. There are two flavors, original and jalapeno. It is sorta like pimento cheese but different....hard to explain. Great on chips, burgers, etc. Here is the website:

  • ChelsWCU1224 Mar 10, 2010

    Chelsea Cafe in RTP has a GREAT Pimento Cheese sandwich!!! Yum! :)

  • jbass2 Mar 10, 2010

    I agree with two other posters - Stan's is at the top of the pimento cheese pyramid! I especially like the health dose of pepper!

  • apblud47 Mar 10, 2010

    The best pimento cheese ever comes from a little grocery store in Lexington,NC named Conrad and Hinkle. They've been making it daily for 75 yrs. Yum Yum

  • estrauch Mar 10, 2010

    As a child, I preferred Pimento Cheese sandwiches over PB&J any day. Ruth's brand Pimento Cheese is the best to me. I have tried others and I keep coming back to Ruth's! Try it on sesame squares...YUMMM




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Bill Leslie