Many Southern cooks have their own special riff on pimiento cheese. This one is mine, and it always receives raves when I serve it—especially when folks expect the same ol' pimiento cheese. Since I'm half-Korean, so is this recipe, which blends a little kimchi into the mix. Look for kimchi in the produce section, close to the tofu and egg roll wrappers. Between the kimchi and the smoked bell pepper (done with an easy, quick stovetop method), the flavor is about as far away from subtle as you can get. The cheese is shredded two ways, a trick I learned from Southern Living; fine shreds blend well with the mayo to make the spread creamier, while large shreds offer more body and texture. Depending on the saltiness of the kimchi, you may or may not need to add salt; taste at the end, and then stir in a little salt if you need it.

Ann Taylor Pittman


Credit: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer

Recipe Summary test

15 mins
30 mins
Serves 8


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat broiler to high. Place bell pepper half, skin side up, on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet; flatten with hand. Broil in preheated oven until blackened, 8 to 10 minutes. Fold foil around pepper to seal tightly; let stand 10 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, grate shallot onto paper towels using small holes of a box grater. Transfer grated shallot to a large bowl. Finely shred half of cheese using the small holes of box grater; shred remaining cheese using large holes. Add shredded cheese to bowl with shallot. Stir in mayonnaise, kimchi, chives, and black pepper.

  • Unwrap foil around bell pepper; peel and discard skin. (Note: If you want to skip Step 4, finely chop pepper, and stir into cheese mixture with smoked paprika instead.)

  • Place an 8-inch square or 11- x 7-inch disposable foil pan upside down on a cutting board. Pierce 6 to 10 holes at 1 end of bottom of pan, near edge, using a knife. Turn pan right side up. Place dry wood chips in one layer over holes in pan. Place bell pepper on other side of pan; cover pan tightly with foil. Turn on vent hood. Set pan over a gas or electric burner so holes come in contact with heat. Turn burner on high; let pan sit on burner until smoke begins to seep from foil, about 30 seconds. Reduce heat to medium-low; smoke 4 minutes. Remove pan from burner; carefully uncover. (If needed, spritz wood with water to prevent burning.) Transfer pepper to a cutting board. Finely chop; stir into cheese mixture.

  • Taste for seasoning; add salt, if desired. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Chef's Notes

Put together the ultimate spread. All of these go well with pimiento cheese, even the salami.

Suggested Accompaniments
Hard Salami
Baked Frozen Waffle Fries
Boiled Peanuts
Mini Sweet Peppers