Juicy Lucy Stuffed with Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Morel, and Ramp "Velveeta"

So in 2014 TIME Magazine published a list compiled by assorted "burger historians and experts" of what they considered to be the top 17 most influential hamburgers of all time and the Juicy Lucy, a Minneapolis-perfected phenomenon, came in hot at number 10.

Juicy Lucy sous vide

If you’re not familiar, the Juicy Lucy (which has recorded origins that can be traced back to the 1920’s) is a cheeseburger that has the cheese stuffed inside the meat patty rather than placed on top. A piece of traditionally Velveeta cheese is surrounded by raw meat and cooked traditionally on a griddle or grill, resulting in a melted oozy core of creamy cheese hidden within the patties.
Not really considered to be a highbrow burger no doubt due to the use of the more industrial Velveeta product and its imitators, this self-proclaimed "Pasteurized Recipe Cheese Product" allows the burger to truly ooze cheesy love. Granted it could be far tastier if one used a more handcrafted and aged cheese but due to their natural origins when melted they generally don’t offer the proper ooze factor required for the Juicy Lucy.

But dear readers that was then and this is now!

Juicy Lucy ingredients

By using sodium citrate we are able to use virtually any cheese and get the same Velveeta classic like velvety smoothness. Not only that but we are also able to flavor the cheese with virtually anything we like.

I took the opportunity to use an 18 month aged sharp cheddar and flavor it with two of Michigan’s’ most iconic spring treats, morel mushrooms and wild leeks or ramps.

Of course using the sous vide method not only makes the morel and ramp infused cheddar “Velveeta” comically easy but we use the same technique to cook the burger. The gentle cooking waters of the SV1 help keep the cheese from breaking through its meat barrier and only a quick sear for extra flavor and color completes the dish.

Morel and ramps are the perfect spring combination here in Michigan but feel free to experiment and discover other combinations, it’s your burger! 

Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Morel and Ramp "Velveeta":


• 1/2 ounce morels, sustainably foraged, cleaned and diced

• 4 whole ramps, sustainably foraged or farmed, cleaned and diced

• 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

• 1/2 cup whole milk

• 1/4 ounce sodium citrate

• 3 cups sharp cheddar cheese, cubed or grated

• Kosher salt

• Black pepper 

Juicy Lucy Stuffed with a Sharp Cheddar, Morel & Ramp "Velveeta”:


• 2 pounds ground beef 80/20 blend, grass fed, chilled

• 8 ounces Sharp Cheddar, Morel & Ramp "Velveeta" see recipe, sliced into 1/4 inch slices

• Kosher salt

• Black pepper

• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

• 4 brioche buns

• Lettuce

• 1 as needed tomatoes, sliced thin

• 1 as needed red onions, sliced thin 

Cheddar cheese

Morel and ramp mix

Sharp Cheddar Cheese, Morel and Ramp "Velveeta":


1. Preheat the SV1 to 167 °F / 75 °C

2. In a large sauté pan over medium high heat add the olive oil and when shimmering add the morels and ramps.

3. Sauté for 3-5 minutes or until the mushrooms and ramps are tender and fragrant.

4. Season to taste with the salt and pepper, remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, reserve.

5. Using a VacMaster Bag Stand and an appropriate sized VacMaster bag combine the milk with sodium citrate and the cheese.

6. Using a VacMaster chamber machine vacuum seal the bag.

7. Place the bag in the SV1 and cook for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted.

8. Pour the cheese mixture into a suitable bowl and using an immersion blender to blend the cheese mixture until it is completely smooth.

9. Add the cooled morel and ramp mixture season to taste with the salt and pepper and using a rubber spatula fold together until thoroughly

10. Pour the cheese mixture into a suitable sized mold and refrigerate until cold and the cheese is firm.

11. Use as needed

Juicy Lucy Stuffed with a Sharp Cheddar, Morel & Ramp "Velveeta”:


1. Set the VacMaster SV1 to your desired temperature.

 Rare: 120F/49C

Medium Rare: 131F/55C

Medium: 140F/60C

Medium Well: 150F/65C

Well: 160F/71C

2. Portion the ground meat into eight even pieces. Shape each portion into a thin round patty that's slightly larger than the cheese slice.

3. Place a hunk of the morel and ramp “Velveeta” cheese on 4 the patties, covering the cheese with remaining 4.

4. Tightly crimp the edges of the beef together to form a tight seal.

5. Using a VacMaster chamber or suction machine seal appropriate sized re-sealable VacMaster pouches while "empty," when process is complete open the empty pouches and gently place one or two patties inside.

6. Using your thumb and index fingers seal bags, leaving one-inch open at the top corner. Slowly lower bags one at a time into pot of water by holding onto the open corner.

7. Press air out of bag as it is submerged and seal bag just before last corner is submerged.

8. Gently place the burgers into the SV1 and cook for at least 1 hour, no more than 4 hours. If you make them more than 1 inch thick, make sure to leave them in the bath 1 hour per inch.

9. Remove the bags from the SV1 open and gently pat the burgers dry with paper towels.

10. Season to taste with the salt and pepper.

11. Heat a cast iron skillet over high heat, add oil (or use hot grill). When the oil is shimmering, sear the burgers 45 seconds on each side.

12. Garnish the burgers with your favorite toppings and serve immediately.

Putting "velveeta" in Juicy LucyJuicy Lucy in water bath

Finished Juicy Lucy