Missing Minneapolis: The UC Jucy Lucy

by Sarah on July 16, 2012

This time last year, my sons and I vacationed in Minneapolis, MN where we sampled our first Jucy Lucy’s.  And yes, the spelling is incorrect on purpose. This cheese-stuffed burger was invented in South Minneapolis sometime in the ’50’s, but there is some controversy to which bar actually invented it.  Matt’s Bar says “If it’s spelled correctly you’re in the wrong place”.  At the 5-8, the employees wear shirts that proclaim “if it’s spelled right, it’s done right”.  Not to take sides or anything, but I think Matt’s is the original.

We totally had a blast in Minneapolis and the burgers were great.  We didn’t go to either Matt’s or the 5-8–we ended up at another good dive, one near my cousin’s place.  They (and seemingly everywhere else in town) had their own rendition of the Jucy Lucy, along with cheap pitchers of beer, pull-tabs to win a side of beef and plenty of pool tables.

I was reminiscing about last summer’s vacation recently–probably when it was reaching 108 degrees here in Sacramento, I was dreaming of all of those glorious cool lakes–and got to thinking about this burger.  It was a perfect storm one day last weekend when I happened to have all of these ingredients all together and ready to go.

I started with some premium ground beef mix that I bought at Corti Brother’s grocery.  I’m sure your local butcher has a premium ground beef mix–it seems to be the trend these days, but if not, a good 80/20 ground chuck will be great. (That’s 80% lean, 20% fat).

I messed with the cheese mixture inside the burger, too.  Usually it’s just straight American.  I started with my favorite American, Land O’Lakes (it tastes great and has a lovely melty quality) along with an extra-sharp cheddar to punch up the flavor.  Bacon?  Why not?  Just one slice per burger–but why not go ahead and get some lovely thick-cut applewood smoked bacon?

Grill the burgers (flip gently!) over high heat, or in a hot cast iron pan.  The patties are thin so cook them quickly if you want medium-rare.  I think it was only a few minutes on each side.

Of course, toast those buns too, just a little, and layer on plenty of Best Foods mayo.  Dress ‘em up with some heirloom tomato slices, onion slices and the lettuce of your choosing.  I’m not lying when I say this may be the best burger I’ve ever made.

The UC Jucy Lucy


  • 1 1/4 pounds premium ground beef (80/20) (I used "Mike's Mix" from Corti Bros)
  • 3 slices good quality American cheese (I prefer Land O' Lakes)
  • 1/4 cup good quality extra-sharp Cheddar cheese (I used Tillamook's Reserve Extra Sharp Cheddar), grated and divided into three piles.
  • 3 Tbsp Heinz Chili Sauce
  • salt, pepper, garlic powder
  • 3 slices good quality thick bacon (I used Corti Bros' Applewood Smoked platter bacon), cooked and cut in halves
  • 3 slices ripe heirloom tomato
  • 3 slices onion
  • 3/4 cup lettuce mix
  • 3 good quality hamburger buns
  • Best Foods mayonnaise


  • Light coals in charcoal grill. (If you don't have one, use a cast iron pan on the stove, or if you must, your gas grill).
  • Lightly mix the chili sauce into the ground beef.
  • Divide the ground beef into three balls, then divide it half again so you have six equal amounts of beef. Flatten into thin patties.
  • Break the American cheese slices into four squares.
  • Place one small square American cheese on three of the patties. Place 1/3 of the grated cheddar on top of each American cheese square. Place the remaining American cheese squares on top of the cheddar.
  • Gently place the remaining burger patties on top of the ones with cheese. Seal the edges and pat them all over lightly so they don't fall apart.
  • Season on both sides with salt, pepper and a little garlic powder.
  • Place burgers on a hot grill.
  • Let cook approximately 3 minutes on each side for medium rare. Take care when flipping the burgers so they don't break.
  • Drizzle a little olive oil on each burger bun if desired. Place cut-side down on a cooler part of the grill and let toast for a minute.
  • When burgers are done, dress the buns with Best Foods mayonnaise. Place the burgers on the bottom bun and layer on the bacon (one slice per burger), then the tomato and onion slices and lettuce mix. Top bun on top.
  • You might need a skewer to keep it all together.

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