Pulled Beef Grilled Cheese


Grilled cheese sandwiches are a staple comfort food, beloved for their crispy exterior and gooey, melty interior. When combined with pulled beef, they transform into a gourmet treat that marries the simplicity of grilled cheese with the robust, savory flavors of slow-cooked beef. This combination has surged in popularity, offering a hearty and satisfying meal option that goes well beyond the traditional grilled cheese sandwich.

  • Popularity of Pulled Beef Grilled Cheese: The fusion of tender, succulent pulled beef and sharp, melted cheese between slices of golden-browned bread has captivated the taste buds of many. This dish is a popular choice in both home kitchens and restaurants, appealing to all ages thanks to its comforting flavors and satisfying textures.
  • Unique Taste and Texture Profile: The key to the unique taste of pulled beef grilled cheese lies in the preparation of the beef, which is typically slow-cooked until it is deliciously tender and easily shreddable. Choosing the right cut of beef is crucial, as it needs to be flavorful and marbled with fat to produce the best results. The pulled beef is then combined with rich, creamy cheeses like Fontina and Cheddar, creating a multi-dimensional flavor profile that is both bold and comforting.

The luscious texture of the melted cheese paired with the fibrous, juicy beef offers a mouthwatering experience with each bite. The exterior crunch of the buttery, toasted bread encases the molten core of the sandwich, providing a satisfying contrast. This dish not only fills the stomach but also delights the senses, making it a perfect meal for any occasion.

Cooking the Pulled Beef

The process of preparing pulled beef for a grilled cheese involves several steps: marinating, smoking, and slow cooking, each crucial for achieving the perfect flavor and texture. Proper execution of these steps ensures the beef is tender and flavorful, melding perfectly with the creamy, melted cheese.

  • Marination: Begin by making deep slits in a 2.5 to 3 lb. boneless chuck roast. Insert whole garlic cloves into the slits to infuse the meat with their aroma. Generously season the beef with a dry rub – a blend of salt, pepper, smoked paprika, and dried herbs works well. Wrap the beef in cling film and refrigerate overnight to allow the flavors to penetrate deeply.
  • Smoking the Beef: Preheat your smoker to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Use cherrywood and hickory chips to give the meat a rich, smoky flavor; these woods complement the robustness of the beef wonderfully. Smoke the beef for about 2 hours; this infuses it with a deep, smoky aroma and begins the cooking process. Here’s a detailed guide on smoking meats, including tips on maintaining temperature and smoke density.
  • Slow Cooking: After smoking, transfer the beef to a slow cooker. Add a mixture of beef broth, apple cider vinegar, and a touch of tomato paste – this will help tenderize the beef as it cooks. Set the cooker to low and let it run for 8 hours. The long cooking time breaks down the connective tissue in the meat, making it incredibly tender and easy to shred.
  • Shredding the Beef: Once the beef is tender, remove it from the cooker and let it cool slightly. Using two forks, shred the meat into thin strands. The beef should be moist and juicy; if it’s dry, mix in a little of the cooking liquid to enhance the flavor and texture.

Assembling the Sandwich

Choosing the right ingredients and layering them correctly is key to making the ultimate pulled beef grilled cheese sandwich. Each component must complement the others both in flavor and texture.

  • Bread Selection: Opt for a sturdy bread like sourdough or ciabatta that can hold up to the hefty filling without becoming soggy. Slice the bread to about half an inch thick to ensure it grills evenly and supports the weight of the fillings.
  • Bread Preparation: Butter one side of each bread slice lightly. This will be the outer part of the sandwich, which needs to crisp up and turn golden brown upon grilling. For the inner side, spread a thin layer of mayonnaise; it introduces additional flavor and helps create a barrier to keep the bread from becoming too moist from the beef and cheese.
  • Layering the Sandwich:
    • Start with a slice of bread, mayonnaise side up.
    • Sprinkle a generous amount of shredded Fontina cheese; its mild yet creamy flavor complements the smoky beef beautifully.
    • Add a layer of pulled beef, followed by a spoonful of caramelized onions; their sweetness balances the savory notes of the meat.
    • If desired, add a thin layer of plum preserves for a touch of sweetness which enhances the overall flavor profile.
    • Top with another layer of Fontina and Cheddar cheese to ensure every bite is packed with cheesy goodness.
    • Cover with another slice of bread, buttered side out, ready to grill.

The assembly should be done carefully to keep all ingredients in place. Preheat your skillet or griddle over medium heat, place the sandwich in the pan, and press down lightly with a spatula to ensure even contact with the heat. Grill until the bread is golden and the cheese has melted, about 3-4 minutes per side. Flip carefully to avoid spilling the contents.

This careful preparation and assembly of the sandwich not only ensure it will taste delicious but also hold together well, making it a pleasure to eat.

Grilling the Sandwich

Grilling the perfect pulled beef grilled cheese involves precise heat management and timing to achieve a crispy exterior without burning, while also ensuring the cheese is perfectly melted inside. Here are the techniques to master the art of grilling this sandwich:

  • Heat Levels: Preheat your skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. The aim is to cook the sandwich thoroughly without burning the bread. A too-hot pan can char the bread before the cheese has a chance to melt.
  • Placement and Pressing: Place the sandwich in the pan, buttered side down. Press gently with a spatula to ensure even contact with the surface. This helps the heat distribute evenly, cooking the sandwich thoroughly.
  • Grilling Time: Allow the sandwich to grill undisturbed for about 3-4 minutes on the first side. This is crucial for creating that golden, crispy crust. Check the underside by lifting a corner with a spatula; if it’s golden brown, it’s time to flip.
  • Flipping the Sandwich: Use a wide spatula to flip the sandwich carefully, ensuring none of the fillings spill out. Grill for another 3-4 minutes on the other side. Press down slightly again to ensure the sandwich is compact and the heat permeates the center well.
  • Ensuring Even Cooking: If the cheese isn’t melting as desired, cover the pan with a lid for a minute to trap heat, which will help melt the cheese without overcooking the bread. Remove the lid for the last minute to let any steam escape, preventing the bread from becoming soggy.

Variations of Pulled Beef Grilled Cheese

Exploring different variations of the pulled beef grilled cheese allows you to enjoy new flavors and cater to various dietary needs. Here are some creative twists on this classic sandwich:

  • Cheese Variations:
    • Gouda and Mozzarella: These cheeses melt well and offer a smooth, mild flavor that complements the smoky beef.
    • Blue Cheese: For a tangier profile, sprinkle some blue cheese, which provides a sharp contrast to the sweet caramelized onions.
  • Additions:
    • Mushrooms: Sautéed mushrooms add a rich umami flavor and a meaty texture that pairs well with the beef.
    • Different Types of Onions: Experiment with red onions or shallots for a different sharpness and sweetness, enhancing the overall flavor complexity of the sandwich.
  • Adapting for Dietary Restrictions:
    • Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free bread and ensure all other ingredients are certified gluten-free, especially the beef if pre-seasoned.
    • Low-Dairy: Opt for low-lactose cheeses or high-quality vegan cheese that melts well.
    • Vegetarian Twist: Substitute beef with jackfruit or mushrooms that are cooked and pulled in a similar fashion, seasoned heavily to mimic the beef’s flavor profile.

Each variation should be prepared with the same care as the original recipe, ensuring that the fillings are balanced and complement each other. Whether adjusting the type of cheese, adding new ingredients, or adapting the recipe to meet dietary needs, each version should be grilled to perfection, following the tips outlined in this guide to perfect grilled sandwiches, which also includes excellent wine pairings to enhance your dining experience.

These variations not only add diversity to your culinary repertoire but also cater to different preferences and dietary requirements, making the pulled beef grilled cheese a versatile dish that can be enjoyed by many.

Serving and Pairing

Proper serving and pairing are crucial to maximizing the enjoyment of pulled beef grilled cheese. Here are some tips to elevate your dining experience:

  • Side Dishes:
    • Classic Tomato Soup: A creamy, rich tomato soup makes a comforting and harmonious pairing with the crispy, gooey sandwich.
    • Coleslaw: A tangy coleslaw can add a refreshing crunch and acidity, balancing the richness of the sandwich.
  • Drink Pairings:
  • Serving Tips:
    • Serve the sandwich hot and freshly grilled to enjoy the cheese at its meltiest.
    • Cut the sandwich diagonally and stack slightly askew to showcase the layers of beef and melted cheese, making it visually tempting.


What is the best cut of beef for pulled beef?

Can I use a different type of bread for my grilled cheese?

  • Absolutely! While sourdough and ciabatta are popular for their crisp texture and sturdy structure, you can use any bread you like. Multigrain, rye, and brioche are great alternatives that also support the weight and moisture of the fillings.

Tips for making this sandwich ahead of time?

  • To make this sandwich ahead of time, prepare the pulled beef and caramelized onions, and store them in the refrigerator. Assemble the sandwich fresh when ready to serve to maintain the best texture of the bread and freshness of the ingredients.


This comprehensive guide to making the ultimate pulled beef grilled cheese sandwich covers every aspect from meat preparation to final assembly. The techniques and tips provided ensure that even a novice cook can produce a sandwich that delights the senses. Experiment with different cheeses, breads, and add-ons to personalize the sandwich to your taste preferences. Whether you opt for a simple classic version or an elaborate variation with unique ingredients, each bite promises a burst of flavor and textures that will keep you coming back for more. Embrace the process and make each sandwich your own. Enjoy the journey of culinary creativity!

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Pulled Beef Grilled Cheese

  • Author: Wendy Balderas


Discover the ultimate comfort food combination with this Smoked Chuck Roast Grilled Cheese. This recipe transforms a simple grilled cheese sandwich into a gourmet meal using a tender, smoky chuck roast and a melty mix of Fontina and White Cheddar cheeses. Below is a step-by-step guide to creating this savory delight.



For the Smoked Chuck Roast:

  • 2.53 lb. boneless chuck roast
  • 10 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup Famous Dave’s Seasoning
  • 3 cups beef broth (plus a bit more for injections and deglazing)
  • 3 oz tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced
  • Cherrywood and hickory smoking chips

For the Caramelized Onions:

  • 1 large Vidalia onion, sliced at about 1/8 of an inch thick
  • 1 T. Butter
  • 2 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 T. beef broth

For the Grilled Cheese:

  • 1216 slices sourdough bread
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 and 1/2 cups plum preserves
  • 3 cups Fontina cheese, shredded
  • 3 cups White Cheddar cheese, shredded


Prepare the Chuck Roast:

  1. Start by making slits in the chuck roast and insert the garlic cloves into these slits.
  2. Season the roast liberally with Famous Dave’s Seasoning. Then, using a syringe, inject it with beef broth until it begins to plump up.
  3. Smoke the meat over pre-soaked cherrywood and hickory chips at a consistent temperature for 2 hours.
  4. Place the smoked roast and sliced Vidalia onion into a slow cooker.
  5. In a bowl, whisk together beef broth, tomato paste, and apple cider vinegar until well combined and pour this mixture over the roast.
  6. Set the slow cooker to low and cook for an additional 8 hours.

Caramelize the Onions:

  1. In a skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the sliced onion and a pinch of salt, cooking slowly until they are deeply amber and caramelized, about 45 minutes.
  2. Deglaze the pan with a splash of beef broth, scrape up any browned bits, and set aside.

Assemble and Cook the Grilled Cheese:

  1. Spread about two teaspoons of mayonnaise on one side of each slice of sourdough. On the opposite side of half the slices, spread about 2 tablespoons of plum preserves.
  2. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat.
  3. Place the bread, mayonnaise side down, into the pan. On the preserve-spread slices, layer 1/3 cup of the cheese mixture, followed by 1/2 cup of shredded beef, 1/4 cup caramelized onions, and another 1/3 cup of cheese.
  4. Top with another slice of bread, preserves side down, and grill until the bread is golden brown and the cheese has melted, flipping once. This should take about 3-4 minutes per side.

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