Meet the Jucy Lucy

Meet the Jucy Lucy, a burger that breaks the rules: cheese on the inside?! And no “i” in the word “juicy.”

Ladies and gentlemen, can you imagine a world without sandwiches? That would mean lunchboxes lacking PB&Js, delis deficient in turkey-and-Swiss, Cuban lunch counters lacking the Cubano—in short, a life not worth living. Luckily, that long-ago innovator took knife to loaf, slicing bread and paving the way for centuries of handheld edible innovation, which is proudly on display in Susan Russo’s sumptuously photographed The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches.

In this chunky cookbook, the San Diego–based author and brains behind  Food Blogga delves deep into the sandwich universe. Smartly, she sprinkles in equal measures of history and trivia alongside the hundreds of recipes for double-handed delicacies ranging from New Orleans’ olive salad–slathered muffuletta to Chicago’s hot, juicy Italian beef—and even the Fluffernutter too.

While I consider myself sort of a resourceful, freeform sandwich maker (whatever’s in my fridge goes between two slices of bread), I was most captivated by the stories of regional delicacies such as the chow mein sandwich popular in New England and the spiedie. While the name may recall a tight-fitting swimsuit, the spiedie has its roots in spiedini: the Italian word for grilled skewered meat, seafood or vegetables. Slide the skewer into a submarine roll, and you’ll soon be eating the pride of Binghamton, New York.

Hungry yet? Try this easy, tasty recipe for one of my favorite calories-be-damned indulgences: the inside-out Jucy Lucy cheeseburger, which is the joy of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

2 pounds ground chuck, preferably 85 percent lean
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 slices cheese, preferably American or cheddar, cut into quarters
6 hamburger buns
Garnishes, such as lettuce, tomato, pickle slices and fried onions


1. Preheat grill to medium. Season meat with salt and pepper. Divide into 12 equal patties, being careful not to overwork meat.

2. Neat stack four quarter slices in the center of each patty and top with a second patty. Using your fingertips, seal patties together. (The patty will have a small bump in the middle from the cheese.)

 3. Place patties on the grill, with the cheese-bump side up. Cook six to seven minutes, flip and pierce sides with a knife to let steam from the cheese escape. Cook another six to seven minutes. Remove burger from grill. Serve on buns and top with your choice of garnishes. Let cool slightly before eating.

Makes six.


8 responses to “Meet the Jucy Lucy

  1. One word for you my friend: Burnside. It’s on Grand and Union in Williamsburg and they have Juicy Lucys. And while I’m at it, here are three more words for you: Fried Cheese Curds. And a fantastic beer list.

  2. Pingback: Jill Silverman Hough / Great Cookbooks for Holiday Gifts

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  4. Spiedies! I went to college in Binghamton, and they were EVERYWHERE. There was even jarred spiedie juice (marinade?) in the supermarket.

    But I’m not stopping to comment about that–I own Susan’s book and I love it. Who knew reading about sandwiches could be that much fun?

  5. Now I have to go research about spiedies! Never heard of it. And Susan’s cookbook is gorgeous. I love the flutternutter too.

  6. Sounds like a super-fun, and finger-lickin’-good, book, Josh – thanks for sharing about it, and for making me hungry for lunch when it’s only 10am. 🙂

  7. I love reading about food trivia. Who knew there was a such a thing as a chow mein sandwich? Thanks for enlightening me, Josh. I’m going to have to buy The Enc. of Sandwiches to read up about the Fluffernutter and spiedies!

  8. You know what would be awesome with that Jucy Lucy? A beer.

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