What You Didn't Know About The Juicy Lucy, Minnesota's Favorite Burger

If you're not from the Upper Midwest, you may have never even heard of the Juicy Lucy before now. Thrillist states that the Juicy Lucy (also spelled Jucy Lucy) is a regional special native to Minnesota, created by surrounding a ball of American cheese with two thin hamburger patties and sealing the sides together. As the patty cooks, the cheese melts inside the center of your burger — oozing out in a glorious, cheesy goop when you bite in. When ordering a Juicy Lucy, your server will very likely warn you to wait a few minutes before you tuck in, otherwise you could be burned by the molten cheese concealed inside.

Originating in South Minneapolis on Cedar Avenue, there is a bit of a disagreement between two historic establishments over who created the Juicy Lucy. Matt's Bar claims they first made the creation in 1954 after a customer requested two hamburger patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. After biting into the burger, the patron allegedly proclaimed "That's one Juicy Lucy!" The other restaurant claiming to be the birthplace of the Minnesota classic is the 5-8 Club. They don't really offer up any origin story for the burger, instead choosing to focus on their history as a speakeasy during the 1920s on the about section of their website. The 5-8 Club does, however, assert to be the "Home of the Juicy Lucy" of which they state "rivals imitate, but no one duplicates."

Try making your own version of the Juicy Lucy at home

Want to try creating your own Juicy Lucy at home? There are many recipes available with tips and tricks for making an authentic recreation of this unique, tasty specialty. The New York Times states that this burger can take a bit of practice to get right, as you can easily end up with a huge mess instead of perfect, gooey burgers if the sides of your patties are not fully sealed around the cheese. In their recipe, they opted to top their burger with caramelized onions and pickles, similar to the one from Matt's Bar. Food Network Magazine chooses to go au natural with their recipe, suggesting the cheese-filled patty be served without toppings on a soft bun.

Chowhound's recipe is the only real outlier among all the ones we looked at while searching for an at-home replica of the Juicy Lucy. They state that they feel the best version of the Juicy Lucy can be found at neither of the Cedar Ave. haunts battling for recognition as the regional favorite's birthplace, but at Blue Door Pub in St. Paul, Minnesota. While they agree with Food Network Magazine that this burger is best served on a soft bun, they state that you can cook your Juicy Lucy in a skillet (as both other outlets recommend) or on the grill. Chowhound also suggests experimenting with other melty cheeses, such as mild cheddar or pepper jack, instead of the standard American.