Minneapolis taverns are famous for the Juicy Lucy, a moist beef burger stuffed with American cheese. Replicating the Juicy Lucy seemed easy enough, but our burgers, cooked to well-done to melt the cheese inside, were dry and tough or the cheese melted through the meat, leaving an empty cavern where the cheese had been.
To keep the cheese in place, we created a double-sealed pocket by wrapping the cheese inside a small beef patty and then molding a second patty around it. Adding a mixture of bread and milk, mashed into a paste, to the ground beef kept the burgers moist and juicy.
JUICY LUCY BURGERS
Start to finish: 45 minutes
Buy the American cheese from
the deli counter, and ask them to
slice it into a 1/2-inch slab from
which you can cut four big cubes
to fill the center of the burgers.
One or two percent low-fat milk
can be substituted for the whole
milk. The cheesy center of these
burgers is molten hot when first
removed from the grill, so be sure
to let the burgers rest for at least 5
minutes before serving.
2 slices hearty white sandwich
bread, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/4 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1-1/2 pounds 85 percent lean
1 slice deli American cheese
In large bowl using potato
masher, mash bread, milk, garlic
powder, salt, and pepper into
smooth paste. Add beef and lightly
knead mixture until well combined. Divide meat into four equal
portions. Using half of each portion of meat, encase cheese to
form mini burger patty. Mold
remaining half-portion of meat
around mini patty and seal edges
to form ball. Flatten ball with palm
of your hand, forming 3/4-inchthick patty. Cover and refrigerate
patties for at least 30 minutes or
up to 24 hours.
— For a charcoal grill: Open
bottom vent completely. Light
large chimney starter half
filled with charcoal briquettes
(3 quarts). When top coals are
partially covered with ash, pour
evenly over grill. Set cooking grate
in place, cover, and heat grill until
hot, about 5 minutes.
— For a gas grill: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill
until hot, about 15 minutes. Turn
all burners to medium.
Clean and oil cooking grate.
Lay burgers on grill and cook,
without pressing on them, until
well browned on both sides and
cooked through, 12 to 16 minutes,
flipping burgers halfway through
grilling. Transfer burgers to platter,
tent loosely with aluminum foil,
and let rest for 5 minutes before