feta and vegetables on grill

Upgrade Your Grilling Game with a Smoky Feta Twist

Creamy, salty, and slightly tangy, no one can say that feta cheese tastes bland. From pasta to dip to mashed potatoes, including this type of fromage in your recipe brings a much more potent flavor than if you used cheddar or American cheese. But while feta has a robust flavor profile, there is one quality that it doesn’t possess in its basic form: smokiness.

If you want to achieve smoky feta, you’ll need to throw it on the grill. Just like what happens with chicken or veggies, the charcoal on your grill will infuse charred flavors into your block. But cheese, in particular, can soak in all those notes, since its fat and water content help it bind to and absorb the smokiness.

Grilling cheese on its own isn’t unheard of, as anyone who’s ever tried grilled halloumi knows. The latter is typically thrown on the barbecue because of its high melting point, and feta is in the same camp here. And once it’s done, you’ll have a block with greater depth of flavor. Feel free to pair it with other barbecued foods, or contrast it with bright, spicy, or sweet ingredients. 

How to grill feta

feta block with tomatoes

Grilling your feta is a quick and easy process, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you get started. You’ll want to use whole (typically 8-ounce) blocks since, as you can probably imagine, cheese crumbles won’t hold up so well on the barbecue. To reap the benefits of all that smoky flavor, stick to an outdoor grill — not a grill pan or an electric version like a George Foreman, since you’ll want to use charcoal here. You can either place your block in a cast-iron skillet that goes on the barbecue, or you can plop it directly on the grates. Either way, you’ll want to first rub your cheese on all sides with olive oil and seasonings like salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, or Italian seasoning.

RECOMMENDED:  Avoid Using the Thermometer Dial on Your Grill

The beauty of grilled feta is that it seems fancy, but only takes a few minutes to make: About 10 minutes if you’re using a skillet and covering the barbecue, or two minutes if there’s no extra pan involved. But you don’t have to stop there. If you’re going with the former option, feel free to include any other tasty ingredients like chopped pistachios, honey, lemon juice or slices, or minced garlic. Once your cheese has been grilled to perfection, you can crumble it on salads, whip it into a dip, insert slices in a sandwich, or stir bits into pasta to get warm bites of smoky goodness.

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