How The Midwest's Juicy Lucy Reinvented Traditional Cheeseburgers

You've likely grown fond of a specific burger variety, whether that's a smashburger made with fresh, grilled onions or a homemade Big Mac copycat recipe that you've carefully developed in your kitchen. However, for those native to the Midwest, the Juicy Lucy is the clear winner of the cheeseburger world.

A creation that hails from Minneapolis, the Juicy Lucy (also spelled Jucy Lucy) has masterfully simplified the traditional cheeseburger. This meat and cheese lover's dream features two beef patties sealed together and stuffed with a thick layer of American cheese, creating a lava-cake-like effect when you bite into this burger. The gooey cheese will ooze out of the center, and the generous layer of pickles will add the perfect bite to the sandwich. With only three ingredients squished between two soft buns, you'd be surprised at the abundance of flavor that is locked into this simple dish. However, depending on where you go to get your first Juicy Lucy, it might be served a little differently.

Pre-seasoned meat and American cheese is key

To start, the ground beef used in this recipe should be pre-seasoned — salt, pepper, garlic powder, and other optional sauces like Worcestershire add the perfect flavor boost to this dish. This blend of meat and spices gets thoroughly mixed together and then formed into patties. Once flattened, pieces of American cheese get added into the center of one of the patties while another patty is laid on top. With the cheese sealed inside, the patty gets grilled to perfection.

Typically this burger is topped with just pickles, but depending on where you go in the Midwest, you might get a few different variations. Like with many famous dishes, there is a bit of controversy surrounding this burger's origins. Two bars in Minneapolis claim to be the ones responsible for this unique food item. Matt's Bar and 5-8 Club have long been at odds over this burger, dating back decades. According to The Kitchn, Matt's Bar is famous for only dishing out American cheese-stuffed burgers, while you'll get more options at the 5-8 Club. Other locations also add grilled onions as a topping. You may even see other classic burger toppings, such as lettuce, red onions, and tomato, gracing this burger. 

However, you don't have to venture all the way to the Midwest to try this enviable creation. Create these special burgers for your next family barbecue or poolside party for a guaranteed hit.