Before you read this, you should probably check out Sandwiches You Will Like, a pretty cool (despite its tepid name) PBS documentary about the regional sandwiches of the U.S. The editing can be incomprehensible at times: Rick Sebak will flatly ask a question like, “So what’s the cheese to put on a philly cheesesteak sandwich?” and the editors will throw in 4 shots of snaggle-toothed Philadelphians exclaiming, “Cheese wiz!!” Sometimes they’ll mix things up with a “Definitely, wiz.” COOL!
Inspired by the IMDB summary of the movie, I decided to make like Slick Rick Sebak and try the Jucy Lucy on a recent trip to Minneapolis with my friend John. Is the Jucy Lucy Minneapolis’ official contribution to the regional sandwich pantheon? My dudefriend Chris, who introduced it to me, really seemed to be into the idea. In some aspects, it could serve as a somewhat snarky portrayal of Minnesotans — or at least, my stereotype-laden perception of them. The burger is, at first blush, just a straight-up burger. It’s distilled to its purest elements: a pillowy white bun, a beef patty, and maybe grilled onions if you want to be fancy. The gimmick is that the patty is filled with cheese, which, upon grilling, forms a molten core of dairy-based fat inside of the burger. There really is no other way to describe it: “molten” is a word that gets tossed around a lot in regard to this sandwich, and it fits. Biting into this sandwich hastily is like biting into Satan’s ass; it will napalm both the inside and outside of your mouth. So are Minnesotans, who are so gosh darn nice all the time, hiding a molten core of hatred for yourself and your loved ones underneath all that flannel? I wouldn’t be surprised.
In the end, this is just a burger filled with cheese. Even so, I think it’s a fitting official sandwich, given the region in question. I mean, come on, if Iowa’s bag is a pile of loose ground beef on a bun, let’s not sweat the small stuff.