Quarter pound burgers are ubiquitous on menus at restaurants. Sometimes they’re served in double-sized portions, but the measurement is often mentioned as a serving size for a single patty. How many ounces of meat is that? Let’s do the math.
How Many Ounces is a Quarter Pound Burger?
Since 1 pound equals 16 ounces, a quarter—or 1/4—of a pound measures 4 ounces. To make a half-pound burger, portion out 8 ounces of ground beef. Bear in mind that these numbers refer to the weight of the meat prior to cooking, so the actual patty will weigh slightly less once it’s served.
About Portion Sizes
The general consensus is that a serving of meat should weigh 3 to 4 ounces. If you’re having trouble visualizing what that would look like, it’s about the size of a deck of playing cards, or the palm of an average-sized person’s hand.
The next time you’re portioning out a serving of meat, hold your hand over it. Does the meat make a border around your hand, or is it completely covered? If it’s the former, your portion size may be too large.
You don’t have to rely on visuals, however. A kitchen scale is a small but useful investment for the home chef. They come in particularly handy if you entertain often and want to stretch the portions out as far as they’ll go.
How Many Ounces is a Quarter Pound Burger?
To begin, you’ll need to know how many ounces there are in a pound. The answer is 16. That’s the same amount of ounces that are in a pint of liquid. Here’s a rhyme to help you remember this: A pint’s a pound the world around.
Since a pound of ground beef equals 16 ounces, a quarter—or 1/4—of a pound is 4 ounces. Therefore, a quarter pound burger would weigh 4 ounces.
Want to double it up? Two quarter pound patties stacked together will weigh in at a total of 8 ounces. You can also start with a single half-pound patty, but the burger will take longer to cook (see separate section below).
The Shrinkage Factor
It’s interesting to note that 4 ounces typically refers to the weight of the burger before it’s cooked. After all, no one takes out a kitchen scale to weigh the meat prior to serving—the measurement is taken when the burger is still raw.
Why does this matter? All meat shrinks down when it cooks. That’s partly because the cooking process causes the protein fibers to expel their natural moisture, but with ground beef, rendered fat accounts for a great deal of the shrinkage.
In order to make a great, juicy burger, you should start with beef that’s at least 85 percent lean. A protein-to-fat ratio of 80 to 20 is preferable. As you can tell, this means that fat makes up a significant percentage of the burger’s total weight.
You can expect a burger made from 80 percent lean ground beef to shrink by as much as 25 percent by the time it’s ready to come off the grill. The 4-ounce patty, therefore, will shrink to 3 ounces.
If you want the burger to weigh roughly a quarter of a pound when you serve it, make the patty a little bit larger. If it weighs 5-1/2 ounces before cooking, it should finish off at about 4 ounces once it’s reached the ideal temperature.
How Long To Cook a Quarter Pound Burger
Speaking of the ideal temperature, the USDA recommends cooking ground beef to 165 degrees Fahrenheit. That will ensure that any hazardous pathogens will be wiped out, rendering the burger safe to consume.
Some folks prefer to take the risk of eating their burgers medium rare. That’s harder to pull off with a quarter pound patty, though. The burger is on the smaller side, so it will probably be well on its way to 165 degrees by the time you flip it over.
After seasoning the meat, grill the burger for 3-1/2 to 4 minutes on one side. If you want to make impressive-looking grill marks on the patty, rotate it by 180 degrees after the first 2 minutes. Don’t try to move it too soon, or the meat may fall apart.
Flip the burger, then continue to grill it for another 3 minutes or until it’s cooked to 160 degrees. Remove it from the heat and add cheese, if desired. Let the patty rest for 3 to 5 minutes before serving.
If you want to make a quarter pound burger, weigh the ground beef before forming it into patties.
A burger that weighs 4 ounces before cooking is technically a quarter pounder, but it will weigh just 3 ounces afterward. Keep this in mind when you’re forming the patties and make them a little bit larger if you prefer.