Updated February 28, 8:40 AM CT
April 9, 2019
The classic Masters-Style Pimento Cheese Sandwich
(Now available for home delivery)
It seems like one of the best deals is sports food - made fresh daily and wrapped in fairway-green plastic bag, the pimento cheese sandwiches at Augusta National will only set you back $1.50. If you want to add chips and a sweet tea - it's only $3.00.
For forty-five years, a caterer named Nick Rangos from nearby Aiken, South Carolina prepared the famous pimento cheese sandwich. It's the most famous sandwich in all of sport. Like the strawberries and cream at Wimbledon, it has become an essential part of the experience. Unlike the strawberries and cream, you can't beat the price.
In the early days, they were made by a local couple, Hodges and Ola Herndon, in the kitchen of their house down on Kissingbower Road. Back then they cost 25 cents. When the tournament grew, the Hodges dropped out and Augusta National hired Rangos instead.
But in 1998, the club switched to "Wife Saver," a local Augusta restaurant chain that had been responsible for making the tournament’s fried chicken sandwiches.
After winning the contract, franchise owner Ted Godfrey attempted to recreate Rangos’ pimento cheese. Godfrey presented several batches to Augusta National, but something was missing. Luckily, a woman who worked for the tournament had frozen a batch of the original, and after comparing it to his version, Godfrey finally hit on a formula that seemed right. For the next fifteen years, he served this recipe at the course during Masters Week. In 2013, the tournament once again changed vendors. This time, people noticed.
What made Masters pimento cheese so special? Rangos, who passed away last year, even admitted he wasn’t sure. Wife Saver is tight-lipped when it comes to their version, too. “There are definitely a couple things we do differently,” says owner Chris Cunningham, who began working for the company his father founded when he was just twelve years old. “Like our fried chicken recipe, it’s very simple,” he says. “Simple is better.” Whatever the secret is, though, Cunningham is not divulging it any time soon.
But if you’re in Augusta this weekend and the tournament pimento cheese still doesn’t live up to the memory of sandwiches past, you’re in luck. You can visit the North Augusta, Fury’s Ferry, North Leg, or Washington Road Wife Saver locations (only those four; the spread isn’t sold at the other two) and pick up a container of the original stuff—or as close to it as you can now find.
For years Ted’s restaurant in Augusta was the only way to get his delicious pimento cheese, but things have changed! That’s because the cheese mastermind recently hatched a deal with GoldBelly, a company that ships delicious local cuisines nationwide, to share his pimento with golf fans all over the country who can’t make it to Augusta this year. Bread isn’t included, and the cheese ships with ice packs every Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday.
This may be the most expensive "cheese" you ever buy. Prices range from $49 for 2 lbs, to $89 for 6 pounds. Shipping is included. The order, “also includes green plastic sandwich bags to truly recreate the Augusta experience." One note: There are no returns, modifications, or cancellations allowed on any items once shipped.
Does it taste as good if you paid $1.50, sitting in the shade of a pine tree on Augusta National’s stunningly beautiful course, with the smell of fresh-cut grass in the air? Still waiting on our request from the company.
Here are a few recipes for "The caviar of the South" as it's known.
"Par 3 Tea-Time" Pimento-n-cheese recipe
3 cups shredded white cheddar cheese
2 cups shredded yellow sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz crumbled blue cheese
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 (4-oz) jar sliced pimentos, drained
1 cup light mayo
2 tbs Dijon mustard
1 loaf of white bread
Combine cheeses, pimentos, mayo, and mustard in a food processor and process until smooth. Cover and chill. Spread on bread slices. Makes four sandwiches.
From the book Par 3 Tea-Time at the Masters by the Junior League of Augusta, Ga., available on Amazon.
Lakeside Pimento Cheese sandwiches
Total Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 24 Mini Sandwiches
24 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 cup sliced green olives with pimento
1 teaspoon Beau Monde seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 tablespoons minced chives
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
Tabasco Sauce to taste
Pepperidge Farm Party bread in dark pump or Jewish rye.
Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Mix until thoroughly combined.
Make sandwiches and enjoy!
Cutting the crust off and wrapping them in green paper is optional.
PlainChicken Pimento cheese
1/4 cup cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp garlic salt
2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup diced pimentos
Whip cream cheese until smooth. Add in mayonnaise, sour cream, and garlic salt. Whip until smooth. Stir in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
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