IMG_4425 - low res

This spicy pork grilled cheese is an original recipe inspired by the mouthwatering mashup pork sandwich I posted last week. That cheesy maple bacon cajun pulled pork sandwich was created based off of social data that analyzed over 30 million social media posts about food. Pork was a favorite meat (bacon anyone?!) and others that rose to the top included Sriracha, cheese and bread.

unnamed-5Remember this amazing-ness I posted last week?!

Click here for more info on how this sandwich was created.

Fancy grilled cheese continues to be a trend (because honestly, who doesn’t like grilled cheeses? It’s so nostalgic, so delicious and a major indulgence) so I dreamed up this spicy pork grilled cheese. For two days in a row my girls napped at the same time and I was able to test the recipe, photograph and write this post. Duel naps rarely happen so I felt like I won the nap time lottery.

So back to this sandwich, I love spicy foods, but not just for the heat, but for the flavor…and anything pickled and spicy is right up my alley. When I was pregnant with Rosalyn, I CRAVED hot Italian sandwiches because they always had hot peppers. So this grilled cheese had to include hot peppers.

IMG_4365 - low resThis grilled cheese was basically a work of art. I was hungry as I was photographing the sandwich and it took a ton of will power to not shove the whole thing in my face. 

I chose pork tenderloin because I wanted the sandwich to have slices of meat, not shredded (which would be delicious as well but I was going for clean slices). For the peppers I ended up creating my own mix because my grocery store didn’t carry a jar of hot Giardiniera (that’s what you want to look for). They did, however, carry regular Giardiniera so I added hot peppers (pickled jalapeños and hot banana peppers) and was good to go. In case you are wondering what Giardiniera mix is, it’s basically a mix of vegetables with oil and vinegar, which gives it that awesome tangy flavor that can be spicy or mild, depending on what types of peppers are included.

Is your mouth watering yet? 

IMG_4411 - low resHonestly the only thing I would have potentially done a bit differently is add more cheese. I mean…who doesn’t want more cheese? 

IMG_4378 - low res The Giardiniera vegetables add such pretty color. And there is something about buttered and grilled bread that never gets old. 

IMG_4369 - low res

So there you have it, a very colorful, spicy and perfect pork grilled cheese. Now go out and get yourself a pork tenderloin and whip this baby up for your weekend lunch or dinner. Don’t forget the kettle chips, they add the perfect crunch to this meal.

spicy pork tenderloin grilled cheese with hot peppers
Makes 2 sandwiches
  • 1 pork tenderloin (they are typically 1 - 1.5 lbs)
  • 8 oz block sharp cheddar cheese, sliced
  • 4 slices of sourdough bread (any sandwich bread will work)
  • ½ - ¾ cup hot Giardiniera mix (be sure to look for the hot mix, if you can't find it add jalapeño peppers and banana peppers to the mild mix)
  • 3 tablespoons of unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon each cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and salt
  • ½ teaspoon each cayenne pepper and black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
  2. Pat the pork tenderloin dry, then rub the olive oil all over
  3. In a small bowl, combine the cumin, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, pepper, salt and crushed red pepper flakes.
  4. Add the dijon mustard and stir to combine.
  5. Rub the mustard/spice mixture all over the pork and place on a prepared baking sheet
  6. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until the temperature reaches 140 degrees (in the thickest part of the meat).
  7. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes then slice half of the tenderloin into medium sized slices. Save the remaining half for another use (would be great served with a simple side of brown rice and vegetables).
  8. Heat a griddle or nonstick pan to medium heat
  9. Generously butter 4 slices of bread
  10. Place bread, buttered side down on the pan, add cheese, pork and Giardiniera mix and top with other piece of bread.
  11. Cook until golden brown, then flip.
  12. Remove from heat, cut and serve.

For more great pork recipes check out the Pork Be Inspired site.

Disclosure: this post is sponsored by the National Pork Board. All opinions are my own.