Sunday, April 26, 2009

Jucy Lucy

Lately I’ve seen several references to the Jucy Lucy popping up in my food magazines. I also recently saw it written on the back of some dude’s softball t-shirt. A Jucy Lucy is a burger that originated in the Twin Cities. My mom would make it for me occasionally. It reminds me of home.

It’s nothing fancy, or even overly creative. But it is overly delicious and indulgent. It is a big burger with cheese that oozes out of the middle when you bite into it. Anything I make for my husband that can be smothered with BBQ sauce, and requires rolls of paper towels for chin clean-up, seems to be a hit.

The choice of cheese is a key step. My English Stepfather, bless his good intentions, once tried to make a Jucy Lucy with good quality, sharp English cheddar. I think it actually disintegrated into the meat somewhere in the grilling process. American cheese is a great choice. While I would pick English Cheddar over American Processed in many cases, this is not one of them. I actually like to use both American and Monterey Jack Cheese, for extra gooey melted goodness.

Recipe for a Jucy Lucy (4):

  • Four soft rolls, cut in half, buttered
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 4 slices of American Cheese
  • 4 slices of Monterey Jack Cheese
  • Salt/pepper/beef seasonings of choice
  • Ketchup/mustard/toppings of choice

Heat the grill, or skillet, or whatever you are using to cook your burgers. Toast the rolls/bun a little on the inside where they have been halved, until golden toasty brown. Mix the ground beef with egg, and whatever seasoning you like. My personal favorite all-purpose seasoning is the Sandwich Sprinkle (aka, crouton seasoning) from Penzeys Spices. It is a blend of salt, pepper, garlic, basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme and marjoram. Divide your meat into fourths. From each fourth, divide in half, leaving one half bigger than the other. Press out the bigger half into a large thin patty, and place one slice of each cheese in the middle. The meat should extend beyond the cheese. Press out the smaller half into a thin patty and place on top of the cheese. Take the extra meat along the edge of the bottom half, and curl it up around the cheese, pressing it into the top half, and totally encasing the cheese. Repeat for the other burgers. Cook to desired doneness. Dress to your liking. Eat with caution – the cheese will be superhot. Don’t forget the paper towels.

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