Why It Works
- Using pre-formed cheese skewers ensures the right kind of cheese for the recipe (though you can also make your own skewers using halloumi or bread cheese).
- Moving the skewers around once they're free from the grill grate maximizes browning.
These skewered cheese sticks use a type of cheese that holds its shape even as it softens in the heat of a grill, yielding a golden-brown and crispy exterior and a near-molten interior. Popular as a street-food snack in Brazil, they're sold in Brazilian markets (and occasionally online) as preassembled cheese skewers. You may also find queijo coalho online in solid-block form, to be cut and skewered at home. If you can't find the real deal, you can improvise using more commonly available ingredients, such as halloumi or bread cheese.
When the skewers are done, you can flavor them as desired, dressing them with dried oregano, an oil-and-garlic mixture, or aioli. (In Brazil, a similar sauce called molho de alho is often used.)
These skewers can be cooked using any number of grill setups; we opted for a traditional charcoal grill in this case, but our new-and-improved skewer-grilling setup works just as well. Just make sure to push the cheese further down on the skewer to expose the tip, allowing it to be suspended over the bricks.
- 12 ounces (340g) skewered Brazilian queijo de coalho, separated into individual sticks (see note)
- Dried oregano, extra-virgin olive oil mixed with finely minced garlic, and/or aioli, for serving (optional)
Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, spread coals evenly over coal grate. Alternatively, set the burners of a gas grill to high heat. Set cooking grate in place, cover grill, and allow to preheat for 5 minutes. Clean and oil the grilling grate.
Arrange skewers on grate over coals and cook until browned on first side, about 3 minutes. (Timing will vary depending on the heat of the grill and the distance of the skewers from the heat source.) Try not to move the skewers too soon, or they can stick and tear; if they remain stuck in spots when you try to move them, slide a thin metal object down between the grill grates and gently lift from below to free them. Once skewers are free, move them around to ensure the cheese doesn't sink too far between the grill grates.
Turn skewers and repeat on opposite side. Serve while hot, dressing with oregano, olive oil/garlic mixture, and/or aioli as desired.
Packaged queijo de coalho skewers are sold at Brazilian markets; you may also find the skewers or block queijo de coalho online. Cut block cheese into 1- by 5-inch lengths and spear each piece with a small bamboo skewer, then follow the recipe as written. If you can't find queijo de coalho, you may also substitute halloumi or bread cheese.