Food & Drink | June 14, 2022 7:00 am

The “Inside-Out” Cheeseburger Guaranteed to Make You King of the Grill

Chef Larry Kramer on mastering a Midwest staple

The Juicy Lucy cheeseburger
The Juicy Lucy

When Larry Kramer took his first bite of the Minnesota staple known as the Juicy Lucy, he was, in a word, “hooked.”

“I love innovation and am passionate about the culinary arts, so seeing a dish literally turned inside-out was inspiring to me,” he says. “Plus, it’s completely delicious!”

The “inside-out” cheeseburger is certainly no novelty for natives of Minneapolis, from whence Kramer took his inspiration when he first put it on the menu of his Whitmans restaurants over a decade ago. He was specifically inspired by Matt’s Bar and Grill, one of two restaurants purporting to be the first to serve up the molten-centered burger in 1954 (the other, located just up the street, is a former speakeasy known as the 5-8 Club).

At Whitmans, Kramer’s team has taken a few liberties with the original recipe, notably with the use of pimento cheese in place of the more traditional plain American, made by seasoning two types of cheddar cheese with pimentos and McClure’s Spicy Pickle juice for a kick that cuts through all that luscious richness.

“While we love the classics, we wanted to create a creative and elevated Juicy Lucy for our customers,” explains Kramer. His play on the classic certainly conquered hearts at the original Whitmans in New York City, and now, with the arrival of an outpost in Miami, it’s converting even more palates to the Minnesota staple.

“I feel like New York and Miami are the places to be if you want to consistently experience creativity when it comes to food,” Kramer says. “From fine dining to street carts, each option offers its own unique tastes and styles.”

And Miami is perhaps an even better spot for this iteration of the Juicy Lucy to find its way into the hands of some of its most stalwart fans.

“We actually have a lot of Juicy Lucy fans that visit from the Midwest in the winter months,” Kramer says. “It gives them a little taste of home while happily surprising others with something they might not have tried before.”

Juicy Lucy

Serves 2


  • 6 ounces freshly ground short rib blend 
  • 1 burger bun
  • Boston lettuce, tomatoes and pickles
  • 16 ounces sharp white cheddar, grated
  • 16 ounces extra-sharp cheddar, grated
  • ½ onion, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 (2-ounce) jars pimentos
  • ¼ cup cream cheese 
  • ¼ cup mayo 
  • Salt and pepper, to taste 
  • McClure’s Spicy Pickle juice, to taste


  1. Divide the beef into two equal patties. Set aside.
  2. Combine all of the ingredients for the pimento cheese in a bowl until smooth.
  3. Measure out 1 ounce of the pimento cheese mixture, and place in the middle of one of the patties. Top with the other patty, and pinch the edges to seal until the surface is smooth. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
  4. Preheat a flat top or cast iron skillet to 475/500 degrees. Cook the patty 3 minutes per side, then lower the heat and cook for another 3 minutes to finish the burger for a total cook time of 9 to 12 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, toast the bun. Place the patty on the bun and garnish with lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. Serve hot.