How To Not Burn a Grilled Cheese But Actually Burn It
Jason Weigandt


How To Not Burn a Grilled Cheese But Actually Burn It

[Note: the following is an inter-office debate on our company Slack thread. It has been lightly edited for clarity.]

Aaron Hansel [1:42 PM] BTW, I got a heat press so if you need a Brayton shirt made, I'm your guy.

weege [1:42 PM] dude, what are you working on over there?

Aaron Hansel [1:43 PM] Well, I got the vinyl cutter (decal machine) for making complex designs for the cornhole tables. then I realized you can also use it to cut heat transfer vinyl, which I started doing as an add-on for the cornhole bags

[1:44 PM] At first I was using an iron, but that took way too long and I wasn't even sure if it was applying at the right temp. Next step was a heat press, which literally takes fifteen seconds to apply the transfer

[1:45 PM] I'm all about infrastructure my man. But now, since I have the heat press, I've been making shirts and stuff for myself and for my kids. It's fun! I'm wearing a shirt right now I made, actually.

weege [1:46 PM] this is so typical hansel.

Aaron Hansel [1:48 PM] You know what man, this is actually so typical Weigandt, you just don't know it. I can buy a t-shirt for three or four bucks at a craft store, apply like five bucks or so at most of vinyl, and I have a totally custom shirt for ten bucks. And it's exactly what I want on it.

weege [1:54 PM] that's cheap but I have ZERO manual labor skills and no way I could pull that off.

Aaron Hansel [2:01 PM] there is no manual labor, really. You just make whatever you want with a graphics program, load your vinyl into the machine, which is as simple as putting paper in a printer just about, and hit "cut."

weege [2:04 PM] bro, I can't even get my head wrapped around the gas stovetop at my new house. always too hot or not hot enough but never just right.

Aaron Hansel [2:04 PM] Stuff has to be easy these days. It’s the lazy era which is why people don’t ride dirt bikes anymore. Learn how to change the oil in a motorcycle? Or pull your phone out of your pocket and be entertained by brainless videos?

[2:05 PM] Well, part of that is pan/pot choice.

weege [2:05 PM] WAIT, IT VARIES!?!?!

Aaron Hansel [2:05 PM] are you using shitty cookware?

weege [2:05 PM] a variety of cookware. so temps need to be adjusted depending?

Aaron Hansel [2:05 PM] yes, it varies!!

weege [2:06 PM] oh just what I need. More variables. This is like having to figure out compression, rebound, spring rate, and then realizing frame flex, triple clamps and even tire pressure might be involved.

Aaron Hansel [2:06 PM] Not necessarily adjusting temps, but warmup times. Some pots/pans will warm up faster than others, but they also don't have the greatest heat distribution.

weege [2:06 PM] oh no. I have to calculate a WARMUP PERIOD!?!? DEPENDING ON WHICH PAN????

Aaron Hansel [2:07 PM] um, kind of, but you don't have to be precise, it just has to be warmed.

weege [2:07 PM] i feel like getting hit in the head with a frying pan.

Aaron Hansel [2:08 PM] All right, do this. next time you're making a grilled cheese sandwich, put your pan on the stove and put it on low before doing anything else.

weege [2:09 PM] how low is low? that's the problem, man. I tried making scrambled eggs on "3" and they just sat there for 10 minutes in liquid form. Then I nudged the thing to like 3.000001 and next thing you know I had a bubbling crude. It’s two-stroke style, light switch power delivery on the gas stove.

Aaron Hansel [2:09 PM] then get the sandwich together. By the time you get everything out of the fridge, the cheese cut, the bread buttered, blah blah blah, the pan should be warmed up. You have to bring that shit up to temp for it to be predictable. You can't cook on a pan that is still heating up or you'll get inconsistent results

weege [2:09 PM] OMG. You just changed my life

Aaron Hansel [2:10 PM] You can't cook on a pan that is still heating up or you'll get inconsistent results.

weege [2:10 PM] that is it. that is everything.

Aaron Hansel [2:10 PM] Here's what happened. You put the eggs in a cold pan I assume, and it took forever. So you thought it needed to be hotter, so you increased heat. BUT THE PAN JUST NEEDED TO WARM TO OPERATING TEMP.

weege [2:10 PM] two-stroke, bro. jetting and all that. very challenging.

Aaron Hansel [2:11PM] It's not really that challenging if you take the time to figure out how it works. Then it's just conceptual knowledge, know what I mean?

weege [2:11PM] I don’t.

Hansel [2:11 PM] Look at it this way. Simple addition would be extremely intimidating if you tried to just memorize every combo right? But when you understand how it works, knowing HOW to add numbers, it couldn't be simpler.

weege [2:13 PM] right, but no one ever teaches these concepts like they teach math. They just laugh at you. Maybe I need to be the YouTuber making the How-To videos, and I'll just say one thing "warm up the pan first" and then sign off. Video, done.

[2:14 PM] oh, and you know what else? When I eff it up, all anyone ever says is "man you need to be patient and not use too much heat." They just always assume that's what I did. Like when a dude crashes it's always "oh he was pushing too hard."

Aaron Hansel [2:14 PM] That's really all it is. A wise old mechanic once told me, "No matter what you're doing, you only really need to know three to four basic principles, the core values,  and everything else comes naturally."

[2:14 PM] There's always a reason behind the reason, right?

weege [2:16 PM] maybe, I just don't know how to go through ruts. Maybe I wasn't "pushing too hard."

[2:16 PM] Anyway, you know what I'm going to do right now, Hansel? I'm going to make a grilled cheese and try this. BTW you know how many grilled cheese sandwiches I've made? NONE. I know it's beyond my mechanical abilities.

Aaron Hansel [2:17 PM] Like the wise old man who always questions everything lol. Like, a stray horse arrives in their village and everyone is happy about their good fortune, but he says, "This might actually be a bad thing." Two days later, his grandson falls off the horse and breaks his arm. Everyone is bummed but he's like, "This might actually be good." Two days later, an army general comes through and takes every able bodied man off to war. Grandson didn't go because arm was broken. And so on.

weege [2:17 PM] You know grilled cheese could save me money, as could homemade T-shirts. But I know my limits man. I'm still trying to master eggs.

[2:18 PM] Hmmmm. Perhaps my grilled cheese sandwiches would suck and this was good fortune that I never tried it. Perhaps I'm about to burn my house down now.

Aaron Hansel [2:18 PM] Well, now that you know you have to preheat the pan, it should be easier. You can't cook on a pan and expect consistent results when the heat of the pan is still changing.

weege [2:19 PM] what's this about buttering bread? There's butter involved?

Aaron Hansel [2:20 PM] Are you f*&^ing serious?

[2:20 PM] You don't know you have to butter the bread?!

[2:21 PM] Yes, you have to lightly butter the outside of the bread slices! The oil in the butter helps give the bread that nice brown

weege [2:21 PM] I wish you had not told me this. Now I have to add butter which is far more challenging.

[2:21] I thought grilled cheese is cheese and bread. HOW DO YOU LEARN THESE THINGS?

Aaron Hansel [2:22 PM] Pre-heat, cook on medium low. Avoid the temptation to go too hot or you'll just burn the bread without melting the cheese.

[2:22 PM] I don't know how I knew about butter. I thought everyone knew.

weege [2:22 PM] that is exactly my point. Everyone knows these things "they thought everyone knew" except me.

Aaron Hansel [2:23 PM] #preheat gonna change your life. Can probably apply it in other areas too.

weege [2:24 PM] I'm going for it. stay tuned.

Aaron Hansel [2:24 PM] git after it

weege [3:16 PM] I’m back. yup, effed. burned it bro.

Aaron Hansel [3:17 PM] you used three? out of what max?

weege [3:17 PM] 6



[3:28 PM] I guess some things you just have to learn on your own, like, don't talk to your ex.

weege [3:28 PM] this pan temp thing confounds me to no end. How the hell do you "know" when it's reached an operating temperature? And does the temperature peak? Doesn't it just keep climbing forever? Three wasn't changing anything. it was just sitting there with no changes.

Aaron Hansel [3:38 PM] YOU HAVE TO WAIT LONGER!!

[3:38 PM] it takes a minute

weege [3:38 PM] no man, MINUTES went by and it just sat there, not grilling.

Aaron Hansel [3:38 PM] it's supposed to do that.

weege [3:43 PM] it's grilled cheese! How long is this supposed to take?

[3:43 PM] and more importantly HOW DO YOU KNOW?????

Aaron Hansel [3:44 PM] Get a notebook, start keeping track of times spent at certain temps lol. You can be the Bones Bacon of grilled cheese

weege [3:54 PM] seriously how long did that thing need to sit there not even on medium.

Aaron Hansel [3:55 PM] probably about five mins on a preheated pan. But it's weird. The sandwich can just sit there for a long time looking like it's doing nothing, then it starts browning all of a sudden

weege [3:56 PM] That’s the problem! It’s like a two-stroke, it's not a linear delivery! It's not a linear curve!!!! It just does nothing and then all of a sudden here comes the hit!!!!!

Aaron Hansel [3:56 PM] !!!

[3:58 PM] Nothing really is linear, weege. That would be way too fair and way too easy

[4:14 PM] This whole non-linear curve could be applied to dudes' career trajectories too. I mean, Alex Martin? All of a sudden it just took off. Confused a lot of people.

weege [4:14 PM] it always goes back to motocross.