Perfect Juicy Lucy
Meet Juicy Lucy, the ultimate cheeseburger classics with the cheese inside the patty. The juicy Lucy was invented in Minneapolis when a chef decided to put the cheese inside, rather than on top of, a burger patty. You can use fancy cheese if you like but a true juicy Lucy uses classic burger cheese slices. Hearty, filling, and delicious, Juicy Lucy classic recipe is a true must-have on every kitchen!
I first heard about Juicy Lucy a couple of years ago. I was headed to Minneapolis for a quick trip and before I flew out, my husband did a quick search on what kind of foods Minneapolis is known for. The thing that came up again and again was a Juicy Lucy.
According to lore, Juicy Lucy were invented in the city in the 50s in two different bars independently of each other. I think there’s some sort of Juicy Lucy rivalry going on between the two, but regardless, they both make a burger where the cheese is inside the patty instead of on top. The cheese makes everything extra juicy, thus Juicy Lucy.
Anyway, the most important part of a Juicy Lucy is the molten cheese core. To get that you have to cook your burger on the stove to get that nice seared crust, then finish it in the oven so that the cheese gets extra melty.
Here is the perfect classic recipe! Hope you get some Juicy Lucys (Lucies?) soon.
1 ½ pounds ground beef, at least 15 percent (Use a nice ground beef – go for grass fed, organic if you can. The better the quality of beef the better your burger will taste)
4 slices American cheese (Well, you can use any melty cheese you want. But traditionally it’s made with American cheese for a creamy, super smooth, liquid molten melt.)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large onion, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
½ teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
4 potato rolls or soft hamburger buns, split
Bread-and-butter pickles, for serving
In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Divide the beef into four equal portions, then halve each of those portions.
Gently roll each portion into a ball using the palm of your hand, then flatten each into a disk shape on a large cutting board, pressing with your fingers and palm until just over 4 inches wide and 1/4-inch thick.
Repeat to form eight patties. Season both sides of each patty with the salt-and-pepper blend.
Add one slice cheese to the center of one patty, folding any overhanging corners of the cheese inward. Using a spatula, lift another patty from the cutting board and place it on top of the cheese, pressing gently to connect both patties. Gently pinch the edges of the patties together to thoroughly seal, then use your fingers to round the edges by pressing and patting along the perimeter.
Repeat with the remaining patties, forming three more burgers, and set aside.
In a large (preferably 12-inch) cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, adding 2 tablespoons water about every 5 minutes to prevent burning, until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Once the onions are caramelized, transfer them to a bowl. (If you have any bits left in the pan, wipe them out.)
Add the oil to the skillet to lightly coat the bottom and heat over medium-high until scalding-hot, about 2 minutes. Add the burgers and cook until seared and dark brown on the outside, 3 to 5 minutes per side. (You’ll want to let the burgers cook undisturbed as long as possible to develop a crisp sear and to prevent them from splitting. Their insides will cook through by the time the outsides form a proper sear. Resist the urge to cut them open, as the cheese will spurt out.)
Transfer burgers to a clean cutting board to rest.
Meanwhile, toast the buns: Scrape up and remove from the pan any cheese that may have leaked, leaving a thin layer of accumulated fat in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Working in batches, toast the buns cut-side down until warmed and toasted in spots, about 1 minute. Form sandwiches by layering pickles, patties, then caramelized onions on buns. Serve immediately.