Turning a Cheeseburger Inside Out: Minnesotans Did It First, and They Call it the Jucy Lucy

I make them at home when the Vikings win. We don't eat many cheeseburgers during football season.
I make them at home when the Vikings win. We don't eat many cheeseburgers during football season.
Dave Lieberman

It's great to see new twists on familiar foods, particularly ones that don't smack of douchebaggery ("no ketchup for you! here, eat our artisanal tomato, piloncillo and cardamom coulis that tastes like a curry dump!"). I love the creativity we're seeing with that quintessentially American meal, the cheeseburger.

Now that sliders have gone the way of all flesh, the big trend in LA and OC has been to put the cheese and onions on the inside, resulting in a greasy bomb that will burn your lips back to the Stone Age if you don't let it cool first. Awesome. Seriously and unironically: awesome.

But chefs and food writers of Southern California, please, for the love of George McGovern, please stop acting like this is some new thing. Gosh, someone turned a cheeseburger inside out and put the cheese and onions on the inside! What a novelty!

No, you fools, it isn't. It's called a Jucy Lucy (or, if you insist, a Juicy Lucy) and it's been a specialty of Minneapolis since the mid-1950s. If you're a fan of Matt's Bar in Powderhorn, you misspell it deliberately. If you get your burger on at the 5-8 Club down the street in Nokomis, you spell it the normal way. I'm a Matt's fan, and have been ever since I got lost on the way to Brooklyn Park from the airport and stumbled in, starving and clueless. Jucy Lucy, 1/2 order of fries, and a Primo; I've gotta have it every time I go back to the Cities.

The Jucy Lucy is more Minnesotan than hotdish, bars, women with oddly short haircuts, or refusing a cup of coffee three times. ("Oh, now don't ya go ta any trouble on my account!") I'm glad it's landed in Southern California; it's about time Minneapolis got its due props.

But I'm telling you, if I have to read one more wide-eyed account of the epiphany some bright-eyed blogger or Yelper gets when they get squirted with boiling hot yellow cheese grease, I'm going to raise one eyebrow, retrieve from the mists of time the Upper Midwestern accent I once had, and say very firmly, "Please stop doing that."

Then you know you're in trouble.

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