Juicy Lucy is not just any cheeseburger, it’s a burger with its own self-contained cheese.
It’s an American reinvention of the classic hamburger, which itself was derived from the city of Hamburg in Germany. Hamburger has been erroneously thought to contain ham, but now the term burger has become a self-standing word to mean a meat or meatless patty served between a bun.
Juicy Lucy is claimed to have been invented in Minneapolis with two restaurants competing for the rights of origin. One spells it Juicy Lucy and the other Jucy Lucy. Although the rivalry between the two restaurants is longstanding, other restaurants in the area have been encouraged to produce their own variations, each claiming to be superior to the originals.
The burger is prepared by sealing cheese inside a burger patty where it will melt as the burger cooks and in effect keeping the meat in the centre moist and juicy. It’s said that the burger was thus named when a customer took a bite of the burger and remarked, “Ooh, that’s one juicy lucy.”
If you are wondering about the extra virgin olive oil that I’ve added into the marinade, it not only contributes to the flavour, it also helps tenderise the meat. Depending on the fattiness of the ground beef that you get, you may need to adjust the amount of olive oil accordingly. Our local beef tends to be leaner than American so I use more oil, which also means I can grill the patties without any oil in the skillet.
Juicy Lucy is usually not served with additional cheese on the bun but may be dressed with lettuce and tomatoes, and other toppings such as onions, pickles and condiments such as ketchup and mayonnaise. As in any American meal, burgers are usually served with a side of fries and soda pop.
- 750g ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ tsp worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp salt to taste
- 1 tbsp black pepper to taste
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper to taste
- 100g cheddar cheese, shredded
- 6 loaves hamburger buns
- 6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 head romaine lettuce
- 1 bulb red onion, sliced
- 1 pod ripe tomato, sliced
- Blend garlic and olive oil into a fine paste in an electric mill and mix together with worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper and cayenne pepper into the ground beef. Allow the meat to marinate for about 30 minutes before shaping into patties.
- Divide the marinated beef into six equal portions and compact together by slamming each ball of meat from one hand to the other until smooth. Then gently form the meat into a cup shape and fill with a handful of cheese. Pinch the edges of the meat together to seal the cheese in, then gently flatten into a burger patty making sure to reseal any split edges as the patty is being pressed down.
- Split the hamburger buns across the middle and spread soft butter over the exposed faces of the bread.
- In a non-stick skillet, place the bread face down to melt the butter and toast until crispy and lightly golden. Set aside until ready to assemble.
- In the same skillet, cook the patties for 4 minutes per side for medium or less for medium-rare.
- When ready to assemble, spread mayonnaise over toasted bun if desired, then dress with a few lettuce leaves. Place patty on top of lettuce, and top with red onion and tomato slices and the other half of the toasted bun.
- Serve immediately with fries and ketchup on the side.