The better quarter-pounder

The quarter pounder is an underrated burger. Everyone’s talking about the Big Mac, but you and I know the quarter-pounder is the better burger at McDonalds. And yet we think we can improve this iconic burger.

We use ground beef with a fat percentage of 20 to 25%. You could even use half and half if you like. In any case, do not use lean minced meat because the fat ensures that a hamburger gets its taste.

McDonald’s does not flavour their minced meat; you can taste it if you eat the burger separately. That is a missed opportunity. Of course, we want to keep tasting the minced meat, but with this spice mix, we get the hamburger taste we are looking for.

There is no salt in a spice mix for hamburgers. Salt would dissolve the proteins in the meat, allowing them to stick together and make for a tougher burger.

The quarter-pounder is originally a half American pound, and that is 113 grams. McDonald’s quarter-pounder is 120 grams, and we want a burger that is also a quarter pound in Europe. That’s why we make these burgers from 150 grams of minced meat. After cooking, they will be approximately 125 grams

We shape the quarter-pounders in a hamburger press to give them the perfect shape. Then we put them individually on a baking paper sheet so they do not stick together.

After we have formed the burgers, they go into the fridge. Due to the relatively high-fat content in the minced meat, the hamburger has a high chance of falling apart on the barbecue because that soft fat melts quickly. Allowing the fat to firm up in the fridge gives the burger time to form a crust and not break into pieces.

Hamburgers can be grilled on the grates, but the quarter-pounder must be on the griddle. Our Kamado Joe has a half cast iron grill plate that fits into the divide-and-conquer system. Get the griddle hot before the burgers go on it. Now is the time to sprinkle the burgers with some salt. We use smoked sea salt to give the burgers an extra barbecue flavour.

How do you get a nice toasted hamburger bun

The trick is to spread your sandwich with a bit of mayonnaise. The oil in the mayonnaise provides the golden brown crust. You can also brush the bread with sunflower or olive oil, but that would soak into the bread much too quickly. Mayonnaise is thick enough to stay on the bread without running off.

Do not spread too much mayonnaise on the bread. A thin layer is really enough. That thick layer only ensures that the bread gets wet, and then it takes too long before you have a nice toasted side.

Now you put the bread on the grates for a short while to put some excellent grill marks on it. If you want to provide the entire bun with a golden-yellow layer, place them next to the burgers on the grill plate.

When do we flip the burgers

On the side of the burgers, you can clearly see when a crust has formed on the bottom. You can also see the brown colour slowly creeping up. You can flip the burger when the meat stops sticking to the griddle. Then you wait again until a crust has formed. When the core temperature of the burger is 60ºC (140F), the slice of cheese is added. Only if you want a cheeseburger, of course.

We prefer to use a nice slice of aged Gouda cheese. It may take a little longer to melt, but the result is much tastier than the American cheddar.

This is our better quarter pounder that we dress up with some pickle relish. If you like tomato and onion, you should do that too. If you will make this quarter pounder too, let us know in the comments below. Or better! Please take a photo and post it on Instagram. Tag @bbqhelden and @kamadojoe so we can see what you made.


  • 500 grams of ground beef for 4 large quarter pounders
  • Smoked sea salt
  • 4 slices of mature Gouda cheese
  • pickle relish

For the hamburger spice mix

  • 2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp granulated onion
  • 1 tsp ground coriander seed
  • 1 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 1/2 tsp ground celery seed


  1. Mix the spice mix and add a heaping tablespoon to a pound of ground beef. Mix this well and then form 4 large burgers slightly larger than the balls you bought.
  2. Let the burgers set in the fridge for an hour while you prepare the barbecue.
  3. Heat a cast iron griddle or skillet until it is nice and hot. Pour some oil on the plate and place the burgers on the plate.
  4. Cut the hamburger balls in half and brush them with a thin layer of mayonnaise. Then roast them next to the burgers until they are golden brown.
  5. Turn the burgers when a crust has formed and do that again when the other side has a crust as well.
  6. When the burger has a core temperature of 60ºC (140F), place a slice of cheese on the burger and close the lid to let the cheese melt.
  7. Top the burger with a generous scoop of the pickle relish and enjoy.

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