a pepper jack juicy lucy burger cut in half on a plate

Great news, friends! Tillamook is now in the Twin Cities and to celebrate, I’m sharing my new favorite burger recipe: this Pepper Jack Juicy Lucy. Thick-cut Pepper Jack cheese slices are stuffed inside burger patties, then cooked until the beef is done and the cheese inside is OMG-melty. Top it with a spread of jalapeño cream cheese, buttery caramelized onions, juicy fresh tomato, crispy bacon and leafy lettuce on a toasted brioche bun and dig in to the burger you never knew you needed all your life.

This post is a sponsored collaboration with Tillamook. All opinions are my own.

a pepper jack juicy lucy burger cut in half on a plate

Tillamook is in the Twin Cities!

Hello, friends! It’s been a bit. As you may have read on Instagram, I took the month of July (and coincidentally, part of August) off from posting any new content on the good ol’ blog so that a) I could take some time to update older content that you know and love and b) take a breather and just enjoy this stunning Minnesota summer. It was much-needed and well worth it and now I’m back with fresh eyes and a happy spirit that’s excited to get back into the swing of things. Especially since we’re swinging right in, head-first, with the ultimate burger recipe.

But before we talk about that, let’s talk about the best news, which is that Tillamook is now available in the Twin Cities! I know — I’m pumped, too. If you don’t know, Tillamook produces the most amazing cheeses and dairy products I’ve ever tasted. Their cheese is flavorful and perfectly packaged (hello, thick-cut cheese slices and shreds!) and you can taste the quality in every bite. I am able to buy Tillamook at my local Target, but you can use their Where to Buy tool to find it at a store near you.

a close-up image of a pepper jack juicy lucy burger cut in half on a plate

What is a Juicy Lucy Burger?

OK, about this burger! This burger, you guys. I don’t know if you know, but burgers are my all-time favorite meal. I will almost always choose the burger on a casual restaurant menu and come grilling season, a burger beats out any other food option for me. This Juicy Lucy variation is no exception.

But what is a Juicy Lucy, you ask? Great question. A Juicy Lucy is a Minnesota tradition, and a genius one at that. Instead of topping a burger patty with cheese, the cheese is stuffed INSIDE the burger so it gets all melty and oozy and extraordinarily cheesy. You can get them in various diners and dives around the cities, but if you’re not local, I am here for you with a DIY version, Pepper Jack Juicy Lucy-style, that’s super easy and just as tasty.

two hamburger patties and cheese slices on a baking sheet

How to Make a Pepper Jack Juicy Lucy

For my twist on the Juicy Lucy, I used Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Pepper Jack Cheese slices, which are officially my new favorite of all the cheese slices. I cut each slice into quarters, then stuffed them between two patties that I sealed along the edges to keep the cheese nice and safe inside. The burgers are then grilled or pan-fried (whichever you prefer!) until the meat is fully cooked through. And here is the most important part — you gotta let that burger take a breather for a few minutes after cooking so the cheese can continue to melt but also not shoot out of the sides in the form of hot molten cheese lava. Trust me — this is for the good of your face but also for the best possible Juicy Lucy experience of your life.

an overhead shot of Tillamook Pepper Jack cheese slices, tomatoes, cream cheese, bacon, onions and lettuce on plates

Of course, no burger is complete without toppings, so I topped mine with creamy jalapeño cream cheese for extra spiciness, fresh tomato and green leaf lettuce, buttery caramelized onions and crispy bacon all on a toasted brioche bun. This burger does not mess around, and I am here for it.

Tillamook Melty Fest Celebration of the Juicy Lucy

tillamook melty fest menu

This week, Tillamook and Handsome Hog in St. Paul were kind enough to invite me to a special tasting of Tillamook cheeses and cheese-stuffed dishes, including Chef Justin Sutherland’s spin on a Juicy Lucy burger. I sampled a cheeseboard (the 2012 extra-sharp cheddar was mah fave), powered through cheese-and-bacon-stuffed croquettes and cheesy gougeres, and about lost my mind when the Juicy Lucy arrived–a pimiento-cheese-stuffed patty topped with bourbon onions, BBQ mustard and bread & butter pickles (with a side of three-cheese mac and cheese topped with hot Cheetos!). It was all so truly amazing and I am still in a happy cheese-induced food coma.

cheeseboard
pimiento stuffed juicy lucy burgers at handsome hog

Lucky for you, Handsome Hog is keeping that insane Juicy Lucy burger on their menu next week (August 12-18) as part of Tillamook’s Melty Fest, so scoot on over there and give it a try yourself! You will not regret this choice.

Friends, I hope you love this burger as much as I do. And seriously, get yo’self to the store and try Tillamook cheese when you can. It’s a game-changer and I’m so excited it’s here in my hometown.

P.S. Need more cheesy goodness? Check out these recipes:

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a pepper jack juicy lucy cut in half on a plate

Pepper Jack Juicy Lucy

  • Author: Stephanie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 6 burgers 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Grill
  • Cuisine: American

Description

If you’ve never had a Juicy Lucy burger, now’s the time! Melty cheese is stuffed inside a burger patty and topped with all your favorite fixings. It’s the best (only?) way to eat a burger!


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter, divided
  • 6 brioche hamburger buns, split
  • 2 lb ground beef
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 Tillamook Farmstyle Thick Cut Pepper Jack Cheese Slices, quartered
  • 6 tablespoons jalapeño cream cheese
  • 1 large tomato, thinly sliced
  • 12 slices cooked bacon
  • Green leaf lettuce, for topping

Instructions

  1. In a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat, combine onion and 1 tablespoon butter. Heat and cook, stirring occasionally, 30-35 minutes or until onion is well caramelized. Set aside.
  2. Meanwhile, heat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Spread remaining 1 tablespoon butter on split sides of brioche buns; place buttered side-up on baking sheet. Bake 5-8 minutes until buns are lightly toasted.
  3. Make the burgers: In a large bowl, mix ground beef with a few generous pinches of kosher salt. Divide beef into 12 equal-size balls. Place one ball on a cutting board. Press into a large, flat round, about 6 inches wide. Top with 4 pieces of cheese (1 slice cheese total). Take another ball of beef; press into a thin, 5-inch-wide round. Place on top of larger beef round; fold and seal edges of larger beef round up over smaller beef round to fully encase cheese within patty. Repeat with remaining beef and cheese to form 6 patties.
  4. Heat grill or clean and dry cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle tops of patties with salt. Grill or pan-fry patties on each side about 5-6 minutes, until deeply browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in center of each patty reads 160°F (use caution to avoid cheese from spilling out of hole from thermometer; I inserted mine in the center, top-down). Transfer to a plate; let sit 5-10 minutes to allow cheese to cool slightly.
  5. Meanwhile, assemble burgers. Spread cream cheese on tops and bottoms of buns, about 1 tablespoon for each whole bun. Top with burger patty, then 1 slice tomato, 2 slices bacon, a leaf of lettuce and a generous spoonful of caramelized onions.

Notes

  • I know you just wanna go all in on that burger right after it’s cooked, but it’s really important to let it rest for at least 5 minutes before eating. Otherwise, the hot cheese could ooze/explode out of the patty. Seriously. Be patient and you’ll end up with the best Juicy Lucy experience.
  • Feel free to play around with your own favorite toppings. You can also swap the cheese out for your favorite variety of Tillamook cheese slices. Some other great choices: Tillamook Sharp Cheddar Slices and Tillamook Swiss Slices!

Keywords: cheese stuffed burger, cheeseburger, caramelized onions, brioche burger