, , , , , , , ,

Recipes courtesy of August/September 2007 Cook’s Country

Jucy Lucy Burgers

Prep time: 60 minutes
Cook time: 10-15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes
Yield: 4 servings


WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS: Minneapolis taverns are famous for serving a sandwich called the Jucy Lucy, a moist beef burger stuffed with American cheese. Replicating the Jucy Lucy recipe seemed easy enough—simply seal a slice of American cheese between two beef patties and throw it on the grill. But our burgers, cooked to well-done to melt the cheese inside, were dry and tough. Or worse, the cheese melted through the meat, leaving an empty cavern where the cheese had been. We wanted to figure out how to keep the Lucy juicy and hold the cheese inside. To keep the cheesy center of our recipe in place, we created a double-sealed pocket by wrapping a chunk of cheese inside a small beef patty and then molding a second patty around the first. Grilling the burgers over medium heat fully cooked the burgers and melted the cheese inside. Adding a panade—a mixture of bread and milk mashed into a paste—to the ground beef kept the burgers moist and juicy.


** Straight from the grill, the cheesy center of the Jucy Lucy will be molten hot. Be sure to let the burgers rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. **


  • 2 slices hearty white sandwich bread, torn into rough pieces
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 pounds 85 percent lean ground beef
  • 1 slice deli American cheese (1/2-inch-thick), cut into quarters


1. Using potato masher, mash bread, milk, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in large bowl until smooth. Add beef and gently knead until well combined.

2. Divide meat mixture into 4 equal portions. Following related photos, mold each portion of meat around 1 piece of cheese. Transfer patties to plate and refrigerate for 30 minutes or up to 24 hours.

3. Grill burgers over medium fire until well browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes per side. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.


Prepare Grilled Jucy Lucy Burgers through step 2. Heat 2 teaspoons vegetable oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until just smoking. Add patties and cook until well browned, about 6 minutes. Flip burgers, cover skillet, and continue cooking until well-done, about 6 minutes. Transfer to plate, tent with foil, and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.


To avoid a burger blowout, it’s essential to completely seal in the cheese. Don’t worry about overworking the meat-adding milk and bread to the ground beef ensures tender, juicy burgers every time.

1. Using half of each portion of meat, encase the cheese to form a mini burger patty.

2. Mold remaining half-portion of meat around the mini patty and seal the edges to form a ball.

3. Flatten the ball with the palm of your hand, forming a 3/4-inch-thick patty.