Make Your Own Jucy Lucy

The Heavy Table’s Katie Cannon along with Jucy Lucy Restaurants’ Ed Kohler make their own Jucy Lucys, a Minnesota-original burger filled with a pocket of melted cheese. Production by Adam Voreis. Video available in HD on MN Stories, on Vimeo and YouTube.

Jucy Lucy

Heavy Table’s “Local Lucy”*

serves 6

2 lbs ground beef (80-85 percent lean)
6 slices American cheese
6 hamburger buns
steak seasoning
Optional toppings: pickle slices, fried onions

Preheat grill to 400°F.

Divide beef into six portions. Roll one portion of meat between hands, working it together to create a tightly formed ball (the beef should not be crumbly). Divide ball in half, forming one half into another ball and then flattening it into a large circle on a cutting board (should be larger than the bun size, as the beef will shrink a bit during cooking).

Fold one slice of American cheese into quarters and arrange the cheese in the center of the beef, overlapping the slices a bit to leave the beef edges exposed. Roll the other half of the beef into a ball and flatten into a circle the same size as the first, then lay it onto top of the cheese. Pinch the edges of beef together, sealing all holes. You will have a lump in the top of the patty where the cheese lies inside. Repeat with the rest of the beef to create six lucy patties into total. (Burger patties can be made in advance and then refrigerated until ready for grilling.)

Place burger patties on grill, pocket of cheese side up. Sprinkle each patty with steak seasoning. Close lid and grill for 8-9 minutes, then flip burgers. Pierce each patty once with a sharp knife to let out the steam from the melting cheese. Close lid and continue cooking 7-8 minutes longer. At this point, you can either move the patties to a low heat on the grill to keep until ready to serve or pull them off onto a clean plate and cover with foil.

To assemble: If serving with optional toppings, lay pickle slices on bottom half of bun, followed by fried onions and then one jucy lucy patty and the top of the bun.

WARNING: The cheese inside a jucy lucy is extremely hot. Let burgers rest for a couple minutes before eating.

*Heavy Table’s Local Lucy Ingredients:
Ground Beef: Hill and Vale Lean (80% lean) ground beef, purchased at Seward Co-op
Hamburger Buns: PJ Murphy’s Bakery – St. Paul, MN


  1. justin

    Nice! I have never made a juicy lucy on my own before, but always understood the fundamentals. This helps telling me I was on the right path with the thinking. Also craving some now. FIrst nice bit of weather is going to demand it.

    Nice kitchen, and the overhead camera looks slick with the overhead camera.

  2. Iron Balls McGonigle

    I’ll grant you I got bigger holes to fill, but I’m really not intuitively appreciating the contributions of this Kohler dude here. I’m understating by a mite my bewilderment at his inability to provide a meaningful contribution to this otherwise informative vignette.

    1. Katie Cannon

      Ed shared a lot of great background on the jucy lucy and stories that will definitely be included in the longer cut of this video. With limited time, this is a “how-to” version.

      You should also check out his website – it is THE guide to jucy lucy information including where to find jucy lucy restaurants in the Twin Cities.

  3. matt

    Reminder: You can use a piece of cheese to patch any blowouts which may occur on the grill. This is a technique as venerable as Matt’s Bar itself.

  4. Tim Bartram

    I live in Dallas but recently visited the twin cities and went to Matt’s to try the Jucy Lucy. I was very impressed. Now I have developed my own version. I fry up several strips of bacon nice and crisp and then crumble it up and add it to the cheese between the patties. This adds the great bacon flavor and also helps keep the cheese inside if you should happen to lay it down. I’ve also put chopped jalapenos with the cheese and bacon.

  5. Adam

    Something isn’t right here, there’s no way in hell you should have a hamburger on the grill for 15+ minutes.

  6. Grady


    Due to the cheese a Jucy Lucy needs to cook longer than your standard hamburger. They do indeed need to be on much longer than you would expect. They also should be cooked through unlike your standard burger. They won’t dry out thanks to the pocket of love on the inside.

  7. Mia

    I have never had the original in Minnesota, but saw them on Triple D. Thanks for this recipe and all the tips. I added crumbled bacon with the cheese, much easier to eat than putting the bacon on top of an already thick burger and the cheese did not run out like my past attempts. Also, I sauteed sweet onions and chopped jalapeno in the bacon drippings and served on top. Really yummy way to celebrate July 4th!

  8. Gabe

    i saw this on the food network and thought this was the best idea ever, so i tried making one with no instructions. FAIL!!!!! Now that i found these instructions, im not gonna mess up again. thanx

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