Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Juicy Lucy: An American Classic

Good evening everyone! We’re continuing our 16 burgers of summer theme with a classic: the Juicy Lucy. A staple in Minnesota (nearly every burger bar in MN has a variant to call their own), a Juicy Lucy is a hamburger stuffed with cheese in the center. This dish may be the most well known “tangent” to the common cheeseburger – that’s why I was so surprised when I searched through the archives of the blog and found that we hadn’t tried to make one yet.

As a side note, while searching through the archives I realized something: we’ve come a long way. 4 years ago we were cooking in a small apartment kitchen that was no bigger than some people’s walk in closets. We had zero counter space, a substandard oven and a very limited range of tools to get the job done. With limited knowledge, limited pan selection and even more limited ingredients (at that time, our local grocery store didn’t carry much in the way of variety – especially fresh ingredients) we forged ahead and taught ourselves to cook. As the years progress our technique was refined, our tools improved and finally our space improved. Now we’re working with a sizeable portfolio of knowledge, quality (still not high end) tools and a plethora of counter space. The blog’s tone and theme, while following the same central idea, has changed and adapted as well. It was almost surreal to look back at our first posts and read the adventures – it makes you appreciate where you’ve been when you can look back like that.

Enough reminiscing, it’s time to cook!

The Recipe: The Juicy Lucy
This is an Out of the Culinary Original Creation

What You’ll Need:
(Serves 4)

1 Crackin’ Burger Recipe
½ Cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
Salt and Pepper
Pickles, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion (Choice of burger toppings)

Begin by mixing up a batch of the crackin’ burger recipe (found HERE). However, instead of breaking the mixture down into 4 separate balls, this time work them into 8 smaller balls. Flatten each ball into a patty and then use your thumb to press the center of the patty in to form a small “well”. Repeat this for all 8 patties. (Be careful not to press too hard or too far, all it takes is a small hole in the patty to create a mess later on).

Once the patties are all dimpled accordingly, take a small pinch of shredded cheese and place it in the center of 4 of the patties. Make sure the cheese is back away from the edges of the patty and try to keep it as centrally located as possible. When you seal the patties later on, any cheese on the edges could cause the whole structure to “fail” and cheese will leak across your grill. (That’s no good).

Take the four patties you didn’t place cheese in and place them atop the patties that have cheese. Carefully pinch the edges together, making sure there are no gaps – this creates a nice tight seal. I found that after pinching, you can improve the seal even more by picking up the patty and rolling it gently between your palms. This forms the mixture into a large ball once again, but it evens out the edges nicely. Once sealed to your liking, return the ball to the cutting board / countertop / plate and press the ball back into a patty (these will be thicker patties than you’re used too – they’re stuffed with cheese, after all).

Once all the patties are formed, preheat your grill to 500 degrees, clean the grates and reduce the temperature to medium. Place the patties on the grill and cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until the beef is cooked through and the juices run clean. Once finished on the grill, place the burgers on a bakery fresh bun and top with your choice of toppings. Enjoy!

The Results:

The classic Juicy Lucy picture is the burger sliced in half, with the cheese oozing all over the plate. While we do love you, dear readers, we don’t love you so much that we were willing to sacrifice our own burger for the shot (and we certainly weren’t going to make a third burger just for a picture) – so what you’ll have to use is the shot above and trust us when we say that melty gooey cheese was, in fact, inside this delicious, moist burger. Until you’ve had a Juicy Lucy, it’s hard to explain why the cheese on the INSIDE of the burger tastes different than simply melting cheese ON TOP of the burger – but it does. It inherits some of the beef juices and just becomes…”one” with the flavors of the burger. All in all, this is one classic burger that you simply have to try at least once at home.

That’s all we have for you this evening. We’re back tomorrow night with a brand new recipe featuring some of Maggie’s favorite foods – all in one dish. (Long time readers may be able to guess what this recipe is already). Until then,


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