The Juicy Lucy Leaves Me Goosey

This might look like a cheese-less burger, but no! It’s a Juicy Lucy!

The Juicy Lucy or “Jucy Lucy” is a specialty of South Minneapolis, originally introduced to the burger-eating masses by one of two rival bars on the same block. Both Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club claim to have invented the innovative, gooey burger with cheese not on top of the patty but (drumroll) inside the meat! Okay, okay, maybe it’s not really that innovative. Cheese-inside-meat creations aren’t that crazy an idea; does anybody remember a cheese-stuffed hot dog called (perhaps) a Frankenwiener? But the Juicy Lucy is fun, yummy, and special. When you bite into one, the incendiary liquid cheese gushes out like molten lava. It’s a little dangerous and a lot messy. Much of the cheese will end up on your plate, which you then can use as a sauce, mopping it up with hunks of greasy burger and bun.

I can’t say I’ve ever had a true Jucy Lucy (as spelled by the proprietor of Matt’s Bar) as I’ve never been to Minneapolis. In fact, I was introduced to this idea by the TV show Food Wars (who said TV can’t be inspirational?!) and I knew I had to make one. The show demonstrated how to construct a Juicy Lucy burger, but I found their technique not so simple for the home cook, perhaps too thick, perhaps to big. I wanted something not so messy, not so imposing. So I made them as follows…

Start with two 2-ounce patties.

For each burger I started with two 2-ounce beef patties. For this recipe I used a 15% fat-content mixture of ground sirloin and chuck. I laid the two small patties out on a piece of lightly oiled parchment about four inches apart. I placed another sheet of parchment over these patties and rolled them thin with a rolling pin. I got them about a quarter-inch thick.

Roll out the patties stuff it with American cheese.

In the middle of one patty I placed one slice of American cheese, which I folded over on itself so it was about 1 1/2-inch square. I placed the other thin patty over the top. Using a four-and-half inch round cutter I cut the edges of the burger, tore off the excess, and reused the scraps for the next burger.

I repeated this for all my burger meat, laid the stuffed patties on a wax-paper-lined sheet pan, and refrigerated until I was ready to cook ’em.

I used a 4 1/2 inch metal ring to cut perfect burgers.
The burgers look swollen in the middle.

To cook the burgers I heated a non-stick skillet until very hot, seasoned the meat generously with salt and pepper, and cooked them for about four minutes a side until nicely browned. I toasted the burger buns and added a little yellow mustard and a bit of ketchup. I put dill pickle chips on the bottom, placed the burger over the pickles, and topped the patty with browned sauteed onions. The Juicy Lucy was complete!

Pan-fry or griddle over high until brown on both sides.
The molten cheese gushes out of the center! Be careful, it’s HOT and GOOEY!

Try this burger! You’re going to love it.

I think next time I’ll try it with ground turkey and stuff it with pepper jack cheese. Just for giggles.


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