A Jucy Lucy [sic] or Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger that has the cheese inside the meat patty instead of on top, resulting in a melted core of cheesy goodness within the patty…
The burger is prepared by putting cheese between two patties of meat, then sealing both patties around the cheese to create a single patty with a cheese core. As the burger cooks, the cheese inside melts. This has the effect of keeping the meat near the center of the burger very juicy. It also separates the cheese from the bun, resulting in a slightly different texture than the average cheeseburger. Normal burger toppings such as condiments, onions, and pickles can also be added.
Two bars about three miles (5 km) from each other on Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, both claim to have invented the burger: Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club. Matt’s credits the bar’s former owner (and namesake) Matt Bristol. One account states it predated his purchase of the bar in the 1950s, but that Bristol formally added it to the menu and thus popularized it. Another version is that the burger was invented by a customer in 1954 who remarked “Oooh, that’s one juicy lucy!” after biting into it. The 5-8 Club does not provide a particular origin story, but the bar itself was originally a speakeasy dating to the 1920s.
Both bars offer slightly different versions of the burger. One difference is in the spelling: Matt’s removes the letter “i” in “Juicy” (supposedly an inadvertent misspelling dating to the burger’s creation), while the 5-8 Club utilizes the normal spelling. Shirts worn by staff at the 5-8 Club have the motto “if it’s spelled right, it’s done right” while advertising for Matt’s Bar says “Remember, if it is spelled correctly, you are eating a shameless rip-off!” The 5-8 Club offers several different cheese options for their version while the version at Matt’s contains American cheese.
5-8 Club Tavern & Grill, South Minneapolis
The rivalry between both bars and their interpretations is longstanding, but has gained more exposure since receiving a mention in Time in 2008 and being featured on food-related television shows such as Man v. Food and Food Wars. In 2014, President Barack Obama visited Matt’s Bar and had a Jucy Lucy, prompting the 5-8 Club to provide him one of theirs.
President Obama leaving Matt’s Bar, South Minneapolis – June 26, 2014
Because all of our mouths are watering now, let’s learn how to make the perfect Jucy Lucy for ourselves…
What you need:
Fat equals flavor and moisture, so buy high-quality ground beef with a fat content of 15 to 20 percent.
While American cheese is standard in a Juicy Lucy, other cheeses that melt well, such as mild cheddar or pepper jack, can be substituted.
Soft fresh hamburger buns work best with the simple flavors of these burgers.
Make sure the burger patties rest after cooking so that the juices redistribute in the meat and the cheese isn’t dangerously hot when you bite into the center.
And if you’re grilling outside, toast the buns right on the grill while the cooked patties are resting. If you’re grilling inside using a grill pan, toast your buns in the oven, because the moisture left in the pan from cooking the burgers will make the buns too soggy.
- about 3 ounces of American or Cheddar cheese 切达奶酪 qiē dá nǎi lào
- 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, chilled 牛肉馅 niú ròu xiàn
- 1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt 粗盐 cū yán
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder 大蒜粉 dà suàn fěn
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 辣酱油 là jiàng yóu
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 新鲜黑胡椒 xīn xiān hēi hú jiāo
- Vegetable oil, for oiling the grill 植物油 zhí wù yóu
- 4 hamburger buns, split and toasted 汉堡面包 hàn bǎo miàn bāo
- Sliced pickles, for serving 泡菜片 pào cài piàn
- Cut or shred cheese; set aside.
- Place the meat in a large bowl and add the salt, garlic powder, Worcestershire, and pepper. Mix with your hands until just evenly combined.
- Divide the meat into 8 equal portions and place on a work surface. Using your fingertips, press 2 portions of the meat into 2 rough 1/4-inch-thick patties that are each about 1 inch wider in diameter than the hamburger buns.
- Place cheese in the center of one of the patties.
- Top with the second patty and pinch the edges to form a tight seal.
- Cup each patty with your hands to round out the edges, and press on the top to flatten slightly into a single thick patty.
- Transfer to a plate. Repeat with the remaining portions of meat and cheese to form 4 patties in total. Refrigerate while you prepare the grill.
- Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high (about 375°F to 425°F). When the grill is ready, use tongs to rub the grate with several layers of paper towels dipped in vegetable oil.
- Place the reserved patties on the grill, close the grill, and cook undisturbed (do not press down on the patties) until dark grill marks appear on the bottom, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a spatula, flip the patties, close the grill again, and cook until grill marks appear on the second side and the patties are cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes more. Remove to a clean plate and let rest in a warm place or tent loosely with foil for 5 minutes. Place a patty on each bun bottom, top with pickles, and cover with a bun top. Serve immediately.
Watch a short video about the Perfect Jucy Lucy here:
Next time you’re in Minnesota, be sure to try this amazing burger – you won’t be disappointed! Or try making it yourself and send us the photo evidence of your results…