Grilling Frozen Steak: How to Go From Freezer to the Best Steak Ever in Record Time

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It’s Saturday evening, and you’ve got some unexpected dinner guests coming over for a barbeque. You hurriedly walk to your freezer only to find the steaks frozen and that there is no way you can get the cuts defrosted in time. Worried your get-together will be ruined?

Don’t be!

What if I told you to grill those frozen steaks in its solid-state, and that you will be getting results that might be better than any homemade steak.

You heard that, right! You can cook the solid frozen steak, and end up with a perfectly grilled steak. When I heard about this method, I couldn’t believe it at first, until I’ve made my first steak from a frozen state. It is fantastic, and I am recommending it.


Is Grilling Frozen Steak Safe?

grilling frozen steak fries

In fact, when you grill your steak in its frozen state, you will solve one of the most common steak problems: “an interior banding that is grey” – the price you have to pay if you want a charred crust. When you grill a frozen steak, you will end up with a pink interior with little or no gray banding beneath. This means tenderer, juicier steak.

And if you are wondering if this method is safe, the USDA has to say that it is perfectly safe to cook food from the frozen state. The only thing is that this process will take approximately 50% longer than the recommended time for fresh meat.

Before diving into the processes, let’s consider the pros and cons of grilling frozen steak.

1. The Pros of Grilling Frozen Steak

  • Help you avoid grey bands commonly observed on grilled thawed meat. The grey bands are usually a result of protein fibers contracting. This force water out of the meat, and with it all hopes of a tender steak fade.
  • Lower loss of moisture. When the steak is in a frozen state, the moisture is held as solid ice during the early stages of cooking. As a result, there will be less loss of moisture during the cooking process.
  • More flavor. It is easier to develop a really flavorful Maillard crust when there are less fear and chance of overcooking the center.
  • No wait time. Although it takes longer to cook a frozen steak compared to a thawed steak, the overall cook time from the freezer is just a fraction of the time it takes to defrost the meat before the cooking process.
grilling frozen steak recipe

2. The Cons of Grilling Frozen Steak

  • It takes longer to cook compared to thawed steak. Frozen steak requires more time to reach doneness, as the meat gets heated from negative temperatures.
  • Icy layer. If you didn’t wrap and store the steak properly, during the cooking process, an icy layer would form on the outside. This layer will drip into your grill, causing flares that may potentially burn you.

Materials and Ingredients For Grilling Frozen Steak

The following are the ingredients and materials you will need to grill frozen steak.

  • A frozen steak to grill. The ideal cut should be at least 1” to 1 ½ “in thickness.
  • Black pepper and kosher salt, 2:1 ratio.
  • Charcoal, briquettes, or lump. If you will be using a gas grill, ensure your propane is filled.
  • Grill - charcoal or gas.
  • Thermometer.

How to Prepare your Grill

grilling frozen steaks time

For a seamless grilling process, it’s advisable to get the fire going while you prepare your meal.

You can ignite the charcoal in a charcoal chimney, to hold the coals over a gap. Light some newspaper under the coals, to ignite the coal. This will take about 10 minutes.

Wait till the coals start turning gray, and then pour them into your grill.

Divide the grill into two halves, one for indirect contact, and the other for direct heat.

Using a chimney to start your fire helps eliminate the need for lighter fluid. This can taint the taste of the meat if it doesn’t burn off completely before you begin to grill.

You do not need to worry about tainting your meat taste if you use a gas grill, as most top-quality gas grills have been developed to cook your food without passing any flavors from the gas into your food.

How to Prepare a Frozen Steak for Grilling

If your steak is already in a frozen state, then it’s prepared, you don’t need to read this step.

If not, continue reading.

Freeze your steak by laying it uncovered on a heavy cookie sheet, then place in the freezer. This method is beneficial in two ways.

  • First, it helps to create a flat surface that is ideal for grilling. And second, it draws out the moisture. During grilling, if there is less moisture on your meat, there will be less splattering.
  • After freezing the meat cuts, place in a zipper-type freezer bag until it’s time to start grilling.

How to Grill Frozen Steak

grill frozen steak medium rare

I assume you have already prepared your side dishes by now, and that your favorite bottle of wine is ready, chilling somewhere, and your fire, ready. You will know your fire is ready when your lit coals start to turn gray.

Having divided your grill into two halves, the ideal temperature for the direct side should be 500° or higher, while the indirect heat side temperature should be between 325° to 350°.

Before cooking, place the shiny side of a tin foil on the grill for sixty seconds. After sixty seconds, remove it with tongs, brush your grill, and make it clean to cook on.

Take your frozen steak out, and place it on the direct heat side.

Allow it to grill for three to four minutes. Give the steak a quarter turn to sear the bottom side with grill marks.

After cooking one side for five to seven minutes, flip to the other side. Cook the second side for five minutes.

It is advisable to check the internal temperature with a thermometer.

At this stage, the internal temperature of the steak should be at 75° to 90°. Both sides of the meat should have a beautiful crust seared on it.

Remove the semi-grilled meat cut off the grill and season it. Season with kosher salt and pepper, 1:2 ratio.

After seasoning, place the meat on the indirect side of the grill. Allow it to cook for 10 minutes.

There are two reasons why you should season at this stage; first, it is very difficult to stick seasoning to a frozen meat cut. Second, if you pepper your steak before searing at high temperatures, the pepper will become burnt bits which may taint the flavor of the meat.

To prevent this from happening, season the steak just before you move it to the indirect heat side of the grill.

After grilling to your preferred doneness, take it off the grill, and allow it to rest for five minutes. This will help the juices to settle down and stop flowing. If you cut the meat before allowing it to rest, the juice will escape, and cause your meat to dry quicker.

Now it’s time to sit with your dinner guests, have a good conversation, and enjoy a delicious grilled steak.

You can serve with sautéed string beans and garlic, some grilled onions, fried potatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Enjoy the moment with an iced tea, a brown ale or porter, Pinot Noir, or just a refreshing glass of ice water.

Final Thoughts

You can grill your frozen steak and get delicious results. Have you ever cooked your meat cut straight from frozen? Would you like to do it again? How was the experience like?

Share with us in the comment box.

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