A Jucy Lucy or Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger that has the cheese inside the meat patty instead of on top, resulting in a melted core of cheese within the patty. Two bars in Minneapolis claim to be the inventor of the burger, though other bars and restaurants have created their own interpretations on the style.
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 centre of the burger very juicy. It also separates the cheese from the bun, resulting in a slightly different texture than the usual 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 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 claims it preceded his purchase of the bar in the 1950s, but that Bristol formally added it to the menu and thus popularised 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 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 only contains American cheese.
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 and had a jucy lucy, prompting the 5-8 Club to provide him one of theirs.
Variations of the burger at other area restaurants are encouraged rather than quashed. Most use the same basic preparation procedures but offer different variations in terms of toppings, the burger’s filling, and any accompaniments.
The burger has also been embraced outside the Twin Cities area nationwide and even worldwide. In Lebanon, Roadster diner has also attempted its very own cheese-stuffed patty in which they call the “Cheese-At-Heart”. Unlike the traditional Lucy, the patty is stuffed with Swiss cheese and topped with cheddar cheese, lettuce, and potato chips. The Blarney Stone Tavern in Worthington Ohio, home of The Central Ohio Minnesota Vikings Fan Club, has also added this burger to their permanent menu.
- 700 g beef mince (ground beef)
- 6 slices cheddar cheese
- 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- cooking spray
- 4 lettuce leaves, washed and dried
- 1 large tomato, sliced
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 4 sesame-seed hamburger bun
- Cut each cheese slice evenly into 4 squares; arrange in 4 stacks with 6 slices each.
- In a large mixing bowl combine beef mince, garlic, Worcestershire, salt and pepper; mix by hand.
- Form the beef mixture into 8 thin patties on a large baking sheet.
- With your thumb, press an indented well in the centre of 4 patties and put the portioned cheese in the wells. Encase the cheese with the remaining 4 patties, hand forming your burger to a uniform shape with sealed edges. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes before grilling.
- Spray burgers with a light coat of cooking spray. Grill or pan sear over high heat 3 minutes per side. Transfer to cool side of grill or 190°C/170°C fan-forced (375°F ; Gas Mark 5) oven to finish cooking to an internal doneness of 70°C (5-8 minutes). Remove from grill and rest at least 3 minutes for cheese to set.
- To build your Juicy Lucy burger, slice the bun in half and place a lettuce leaf on the bottom, followed by the meat patty, mayo, then the tomato. Top off with the bun lid. Enjoy.