A year or so ago, Jim and I went to Healdsburg to visit my sister and bro-in-law, Dave. It was a perfect, sunny, warm California summer weekend. Ideal for white wine, cold beer and burgers on the grill. It was also our introduction to the Minnesota Juicy Lucy.
The Juicy Lucy is without doubt, one of the best burgers I’ve ever had, and once I cajoled the recipe out of Dave, the best burger we’ve ever made (I say we, but Jim is the grill master and makes all of our Juicy Lucys). It’s a brilliant combination of burger and cheese that results in juicy, hot, grilled to perfection burger, bursting with oozing melted cheese. It’s the grill’s answer to a jelly donut.
Through trial and error over the past year, Jim’s mastered the art of Juicy Lucy making, and is willing to share. SO . . .
Ingredients: Makes 4 Juicy Lucys
- 1.25 pounds of ground beef. Minimum fat of 7% but you can go higher if you like.
- Cheese: grated or broken into pieces. We like Cougar Gold Cheddar, Beecher’s Flagship Cheddar and Cave Aged Blue Cheese.
- Hamburger buns;
- Waxed paper.
- Onions: either raw or grilled, I prefer the carmelized taste of grilled onions;
- Variety of condiments (mustard, mayo, but no ketchup please, it overwhelms the taste).
Step One: Get Your Grill Going (For Charcoal Grills Only)
If you’re a fan of the gas grill, skip on down to Step Two, but if you’re charcoal grill fans like us, you’ll want to get your grill going before you start assembling your Juicy Lucys. Unlike traditional burgers, Juicy Lucys require indirect or slow heat. We get our charcoal going and let the coals heat for about 20 minutes before putting the Juicy Lucys on the grill.
Step Two: Forming the Hamburger Patties
Each Juicy Lucy requires two thin patties. So for four burgers, you need eight patties. In the video below, Jim demonstrates how to form the perfect Juicy Lucy patty. He’s a bit camera-shy so you’ll only see his gardening-beaten hands and torso but hey, the focus is supposed to be on his hamburger patty forming skills, right?
Step Three: Adding the Cheese
Step Four: Start Grilling
Now that your Juicy Lucys are assembled, it’s time to get them on the grill. You want to cook on low or indirect heat so the cheese can melt.
15-20 minutes is optimal for achieving volcanic, cheesy, fabulousness. During the last few minutes we like to spray our hamburger buns with a decent coating of Pam and throw them on the grill. Once everything is cooked, take it off the grill and assemble as you see fit. With a blue cheese filled Juicy Lucy I favor onions (raw or grilled) and Maille’s chocolate-mustard – heaven. Oh, and one last thing – there is an art to eating a Juicy Lucy, go slow and hold the back of the burger down so the cheese doesn’t go exploding out the back when you take that first bite 😉