Something Like a Juicy Lucy Burger

Originating in Minneapolis as pub food, this messy mutt of a burger has been perverted by yours truly. I found the recipe for JLBs in the NYTimes Cooking thing. But as good as it sounded I couldn’t leave it alone…so now its even “Mo Betta”!!




2- 2 ½ pounds ground beef, at least 15 percent fat
6-8 slices American cheese
2 Tbs unsalted butter per panful of burgers
1.5 large yellow onion (about 1 pound), peeled, sliced 1/4 in and separated into rounds 1 1 tsp granulated sugar
6-8 slices of “Tamed” jalapeño, one per burger
1 tsp Tajin spice
1 to 2 Tbs canola or vegetable oil
6-8 of your favorite fresh hamburger buns, split
Bread-and-butter pickles, for serving


  1. In a small bowl, stir together 2 teaspoons salt, 1 tsp Tajin spice and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper. Divide the beef into 6-8 equal portions, then halve each of those portions. Gently roll each portion into a ball using the palm of your hand, then flatten each into a disk shape on a large cutting board, pressing with your fingers and palm until just over 4 inches wide and 1/4-inch thick. Repeat to form patties. Season both sides of each patty with the Tjin, salt-and-pepper blend.
  2. Add one slice cheese to the center of one patty, folding any overhanging corners of the cheese inward. Place the “Tamed” jalapeño in the middle of the cheese. Using a spatula place a pattie on top of the cheese, pressing gently to connect both patties. Gently pinch the edges of the patties together to thoroughly seal, then use your fingers to round the edges by pressing and patting along the perimeter. Repeat with the remaining patties and set aside.
  3. In a large cast-iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add onion; sprinkle with sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, adding 2 tablespoons water about every 5 minutes to prevent burning, until tender and caramelized, about 20 minutes. Once the onions are caramelized, transfer them to a bowl.
  4. Wipe out pan with a paper towel. Add the oil to the skillet to lightly coat the bottom and heat over medium-high until scalding-hot, about 2 minutes. Makes sure the pan is very hot…almost smoking. Add the burgers and cook until seared and dark brown on the outside, 4 to 6 minutes per side. (You’ll want to let the burgers cook undisturbed as long as possible to develop a crisp sear and to prevent them from splitting. Set aside to rest while toasting buns.
  5. Scrape up and remove from the pan any cheese that may have leaked, leaving a thin layer of accumulated fat in the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Working in batches, toast the buns cut-side down until warmed and toasted in spots, about 1 minute. Build your Lucy: Layer pickles, patties, then caramelized onions on buns. Serve immediately.