Monday, June 15, 2009
An Upper Midwest Delicacy
In the Land of Ten Thousand Lakes, in the Twin Cities along the Mississippi, the once and current homes of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charles Schultz, Garrison Keillor, and Kirby Puckett, there is a burger that they have laid claim to as their own. They call it a "Juicy Lucy." the spelling of the last word being spelled in various ways. It is a simple stuffed burger that one may find in other places, I imagine. I recall being treated to something called a pizza burger at one of my mother's co-worker's son's (wow, that is a lot of possession going on in that there last phrase) tenth birthday party back in 1970-whatever--a burger stuffed with mozzarella and topped with Dom Pepino's finest.
However, the delicacy on the shared banks of Old Man River is remarkable for its simplicity and flavor. Everybody disputes St. Louis's claim to the origin of the ice cream cone, but no one is fighting Minneapolis-St. Paul on the Juicy Lucy (although I think they might be fighting each other, but, I digress--imagine that).
I bring this up in order to regale you with another story of aventure de cuisine, as Monkey and I made our own Upper Midwest burger delicacies, last night.
The burger itself is simple: a pound of ground beef with minimal additives. I prefer an 80/20 blend, but Monkey thinks that is too much fat, so we went 85/15. To the beef we added three tablespoons (or so) of mushed red onion and garlic (thanks for the suggestion, Chef Ambassador), about a tablespoon of Worcestershire Sauce, and generous amounts of salt and pepper. After mixing that up good, we divided the meat into three equal portions. Each of those portions is worked into two separate patties, large and thin. Onto one patty is placed one slice of American cheese, broken into four squares. Atop the layered patty is placed the other patty and the two are well-sealed together through the time-honored pressing together method.
Then, it's off to the grill. Eight minutes on one side (on a charcoal grill), about four-five on the other, and you should be ready to go. It is advised that after flipping the burgers, you poke a hole in the top of the cooked side (for steam to escape). I don't really see the logic in this step, but we erred on the side of caution. The burgers were delicious; however, a cautionary tale on sealing the two patties really well: as I bit into my burger, about half the melty, cheesy goodness squirted out the other end. I managed to reintroduce the cheese to the patty, but it was a good learning experience.
It's so simple and so good. Do yourself a favor, either go to Minneapolis-St. Paul and order up a Juicy Lucy (we'll tell you where to go), or whip up a batch in your own kitchen!