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The Jucy Lucy

So my sister-in-law, Sara, and I are both currently pregnant. She is 35 week along and I am 25 weeks, she is also temporarily living with us. It all started on a Saturday morning, it was early and we'd just eaten breakfast. Since there is not much on tv on Saturday mornings we were watching this show on the Travel Channel. If you've never heard of Food Wars, don't worry, I hadn't either. However, on this particular Saturday morning they were having a "food war" over who had the best Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy). Normally this would mean nothing to me but the day before my co-worker had told me about this burger and pretty much had my mouth watering at the thought of it (of course, it doesn't take much to get a pregnant woman all riled up over food). The war was between Matt's Bar and 5-8 Club in Minneapolis, MN. From the beginning the burger at Matt's Bar looked best, and after all was said and done and the war was over, Matt's Bar won! Next time I'm in Minneapolis I am making it a point to taste the REAL Jucy Lucy!

I tell Sara a little about this burger and convinced her to watch the show with me. Not even 10 minutes into the show and both Sara and I looked at eachother and silently decided that we would conquer and devour this burger. That was 10 days ago. Finally, tonight, the conditions were perfect for making this burger. We had a beautiful and sunny day, it was still nice outside, my husband Kurt agreed to grill it for us, and we had all the ingredients. I Googled the recipe for the Jucy Lucy (it's also permanantly saved to my DVR as well) and went to work.

The Jucy Lucy is an amazing wonder of hamburger and gooey, melty cheese. It is two separate thin burger patties with a piece of American cheese (the Kraft singles type) quartered and placed in between. The patties are then sealed on the edges and grilled. This burger is served on a soft bun with ketchup, mustard, pickles, and fried onions (I left the onions out thanks to some killer heartburn these days). Whatever you do, DO NOT cut the burger in half to eat, you will lose all the gooey cheese and miss out on the messy fun The Jucy Lucy will bring to your table.

**I did adapt this recipe a little. I didn't have Worchestershire so I used A-1. I used 2lbs. ground beef and it was 90/10, and we cooked the burgers about 7 minutes per side.

The Jucy Lucy
- makes 4 burgers -

You'll need an unlikely piece of equipment to prepare this burger, but you should have it on hand already—an ordinary standard-issue toothpick. You'll want to quickly prick the distended patty after flipping it to allow steam to escape.

And, hey, YOU! Yes, you with the cheddar. Put that down. You MUST use American cheese on this. According to Mr. Edge, "Only those orange squares of vaguely plastic texture will achieve proper fluidity."

1 1/2 pounds ground chuck (AHT recommends no leaner than 80%)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
3/4 teaspoon garlic salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
4 slices American cheese (NOT cheddar; see note above)
4 buns

Your favorite condiments and toppings

1. Place beef, Worcestershire sauce, garlic salt, and pepper in a bowl; mix well. Portion into eight even units. Shape each portion into a thin round patty that's slightly larger than the cheese slice.
2. Fold cheese slices in half twice so you have a little stack of quartered cheese slices. Place a folded cheese stack on 4 the patties, covering cheese with remaining 4 patties.
3. Tightly crimp the edges of the patties together to form a tight seal.
4. Did you make a tight seal? I hope so, because it needs to be TIGHT to avoid a blowout as the cheese melts, creates steam, and tries to find its way out of its meaty prison.
5. Preheat a cast-iron skillet or heavy-bottomed pan to medium heat (or fire up a medium-hot bed of coals on your backyard grill), and cook burgers over heat 3 to 4 minutes on first side. Burger may puff up due to steam from melting cheese. This is normal. Do not be alarmed.
6. Flip, and using toothpick, prick top of burger to allow for steam escape. Allow burger to cook 3 to 4 minutes on this side.
7. Remove patties from pan or grill. Bun those suckers, slap some condiments on, and dig in.

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