Home From Erika's Kitchen Step-By-Step Photos: The Almighty Juicy Lucy Burger

Step-By-Step Photos: The Almighty Juicy Lucy Burger

by Erika Nicole Kendall

So… let’s talk about the Jucy Lucy Burger. This thing is awesome.

A Jucy Lucy is a burger with the cheese stuffed inside the burger as opposed to laying on top… and while it’s quite easy to screw this up, it’s also even easier to make an extremely juicy and delicious burger.

I happened to see this on Cook’s Country (of which, I must admit, I am a gigantic fan), and I decided to grab some quality ground turkey and tweak the recipe a bit to make it my own.

There are a few things that are – flat out – central to making this recipe work. The bread and milk (you’ll see in a minute) give the burger its juicy nature. The cheese stuffed in the center, and the process you use to get it in there properly… you can’t change that, either. You can, however, add in different liquids (honey mustard, worchestershire sauce, BBQ sauce, a touch of tomato paste, balsamic vinegar, who knows what), different seasonings, and use different kinds of cheese. Those are absolutely fair.

For example – I used a “New Zealand Cheddar” in this recipe, and paired it with Worcestershire sauce, garlic, a little smoked paprika (just a shake) and some pepper. Doesn’t take much. A little goes a very long way. I have no doubt that a Mexican, Italian or even a French (?!) version of this burger could be made with the right spice/cheese combination. Totally up to the cook.

Take one whole sandwich bun – top and bottom – and tear ’em up. Thoroughly. Use whole wheat buns, or at least avoid buns with “refined white flour.” Add in 1tsp of garlic powder, 1/2tsp of salt, and 1/4tsp of pepper.

Take 1/4 cup of milk, toss it in the bowl, and try to drench every crumb you’ve created. Stir it up and blend your milk and bread so that it looks like a soggy, soupy mixture.

Grab 1.5lb of ground turkey, toss it in the bowl, and blend it in with the milk/bread mixture. Blend it up some more. Then some more. Drop a tablespoon of Worchestershire sauce in the bowl, and stir some more. Let the meat sit in the fridge for a half hour. Don’t worry about it drying out – the milk and bread will keep the burger juicy.

Grab 1/4th of your bowl’s mixture, and lightly shape it into a burger shape.

Then demolish it– er, I mean grab most of the center out of the top of the burger. You’re doing this to create a pocket in the center of the burger. You’ll then use that same top to cover the burger again, so don’t lose it.

See that? You do kinda demolish it a bit with the center gone.

After you’ve set the removed chunk to the side, grab the sides of the burger and push them up a bit, so that it looks more like a pocket and less like a destroyed masterpiece. Your piece of cheese should fit perfectly inside.

See that? Your cheese chunk should be approximately one inch tall, one inch wide, and one inch long. Mine is longer because I’m greedy.

I cannot stress the importance of using quality cheese in this recipe. Meaning… it probably will not come in individual slices. Get a block. Also get a cheese that isn’t “processed cheese food.” I don’t even know what that means.

From here, grab your center piece that you removed, and place it back on top of the burger, covering the cheese.

The meat is moldable, so do what you can to cover it completely, including pinching and re-molding the portions where the removed chunk of meat and the “pocket” meet.

Do one last patting and molding job with the palms of both hands, and voila! Early stages of a Jucy Lucy.

Two down… two more to go!

I don’t have pictures of the cooking part because my hands were disgusting and my designated picture-taker left me to go to the mall (and how dare she? “I’ll be back in time for the burgers, though!”), but you’ll cook the burgers on medium heat, flipping them often – like every two minutes – to prevent them from sticking to the pan. If they stick, and you go to flip them, it’s very likely that you’ll tear the burger and expose the cheesy center. You cannot let them stick.

Meanwhile, grab your burger decorations (decorations?) and start prepping. Whatever kind of lettuce (or any leafy green, really.. don’t be afraid to get gourmet with it) you choose, tomatoes, onion, pickles… go ballistic. I used a little bit of honey mustard at the top of my bun, too.

Check out my burger, baby. Yum, yum.

Yes, even with the cheese oozing out of the side, it is still sexy. And delicious. Om nom.

This one’s mine. Go make your own!

1 whole wheat sandwich bun , torn into rough pieces
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 pounds lean ground turkey
1tbsp Worchestershire sauce
1 slice deli cheese (1/2-inch-thick), cut into quarters

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Chellbellz November 11, 2010 - 10:29 AM

licking lips….at the computer

Tiffany R. Paige November 11, 2010 - 11:08 AM

I absolutely LOOOVVEEE burgers so I will def be trying this one out.

Lisa November 11, 2010 - 11:14 AM

I’m gonna make this today! Thank you!

Jubilance November 11, 2010 - 11:22 AM

Shoutout to Minneapolis!

This burger, the Jucy Lucy, was created here in Minneapolis…2 bars both claim to have created it, but that’s ok.

Kanguru November 11, 2010 - 11:30 AM

I love the recipes that are “from erika’s kitchen”, on a lot of your post, you have pictures of meals that you have prepared, however the recipe, even if a simple one is not posted. Do you think you will be posting more “from erika’s kitchen” recipes! Some things that you make look soooo yummy 🙂 just asking!

Erika November 11, 2010 - 11:34 AM

I guess I never think about the simple ones, to be honest, but I can definitely share the little guys if y’all want!

Nicole November 11, 2010 - 3:51 PM

I will be making this tonight. Thank you!

Nicole November 12, 2010 - 4:50 PM

Made it…it was delish! I used Feta cheese.

Nicole November 12, 2010 - 4:51 PM

I forgot to mention, I made a side of brussel sprouts, and corn on the cob (in the oven–the recipe you posted a while back). Yay me!

Reese1908 February 5, 2011 - 8:53 PM

I just made these tonight. Can’t wait to try them out! Quick question, can you freeze the left overs?

Thanks for the recipe and I LOVE this site!

Tonya May 29, 2011 - 3:19 PM

I will try this recipe … sounds yummy… and I love cheese. Thanks!

CO July 10, 2011 - 9:46 PM

Absolutely delicious! Made this burger for dinner tonight and I am full and satisfied. Great recipe!

Debra July 1, 2012 - 1:44 PM

Sounds delish and where can I find the “corn in the oven recipe” at? Thanks…can’t wait to make this burger!

Nakita February 11, 2013 - 10:07 PM

How many calories? This looks amazing! I want to make it my recipe of the week for my weight loss page.

Erika Nicole Kendall February 12, 2013 - 9:54 AM

You’ll need to run the individual numbers through your own calorie calculator using the ingredients you choose in order to have the most accurate caloric and macronutrient value. I fully recommend SparkPeople.com’s calculator.

Myraneisha May 1, 2013 - 11:18 AM

Can you use a regular whole wheat sandwich bread instead of a bun to add to the meat? Also what about using tofu or soyrizo instead of ground turkey?

Erika Nicole Kendall May 1, 2013 - 11:42 AM

On the whole wheat bread, yes. I used the bun because I’d just used an extra bun from the ones I’d bought for the burgers.

As for the tofu or soyrizo, absolutely not.

Steve June 13, 2013 - 10:19 AM

Hello Erika, Great job on describing how to make a Jucy Lucy. I too am a big fan of America’s Test Kitchen. One of the best burgers is a takeoff from the Jucy Lucy. It’s called a Jucy Blucy and is made with bleu cheese. I am going to make mine today with swiss, mushroom and onion(sautéed) on the inside and tomato and pickle on a buttered bun.
Thank you. Steve

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