Whipped Pimento Cheese

Corner store malt liquor adds a surprising kick to this creamy spin on a Southern staple

Photo: Steven Goff

Although chef Steven Goff has cooked across the South and now helms the modern American restaurant Jargon in Asheville, North Carolina, he admits he was never a fan of traditional pimento cheese, the iconic Southern spread. “I don’t like when it’s bland store cheese just covered in mayo with canned pimento and no seasoning,” Goff says. But he knew that plenty of his regulars loved the stuff, so he decided to take a closer look at its parts. “I broke it down into all its different elements—peppers, cheese, mayonnaise, spice,” he says. “And I thought, How can I elevate each component to make this dish something I’d like more?” Then, inspired by the smooth beer cheeses he admires in British pub food, he employed a food processor. The result is his airy, punchy whipped pimento cheese.

“It’s a nice, soft creamy cheese spread, where each element brings flavor,” he says. “I love using local peppers, whatever I have on hand, and roasting them. The cheddar brings sharpness, the Brie brings a creamy mouthfeel, the Taleggio lends funk, the cream cheese bulks it up, and the Duke’s is just that feeling of a Southern grandma hug.”

Find his secret ingredient at the corner store: King Cobra malt liquor. “King Cobra thins out the cheese but also has an incredible malty flavor that’s good in braised collard greens and also makes the most amazing vinegar ever,” he says. “When I go to food festivals, I bring a case of King Cobra.” At Jargon, Goff serves his whipped pimento cheese with housemade pork rinds and fermented pickles. Chips and crunchy veggies would work well, too.


  • Whipped Pimento Cheese

    • 3 each red and green peppers, or whatever peppers you have on hand

    • 1 lb. aged cheddar cheese, shredded

    • 3 oz. triple-cream Brie

    • 3 oz. Taleggio cheese, shredded

    • 3 oz. cream cheese

    • 3 oz. Duke’s mayonnaise

    • ½ cup yogurt

    • 2 tbsp. grainy mustard

    • 2 tbsp. Texas Pete hot sauce

    • Salt and pepper to taste

    • 3 cloves garlic, crushed

    • King Cobra malt liquor to thin (8 oz. or so)


  1. Roast peppers in a cast-iron pan, either on the stove or in the oven, until charred. Puree in a food processor.


  2. Mix roasted peppers, cheeses, mayonnaise, yogurt, mustard, and seasonings by hand, and then puree in food processor in batches. Add malt liquor slowly to each batch until the cheeses blend smooth.

  3. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate overnight to let it solidify a bit.

  4. Serve with pickles, pork rinds, and chips.