I can’t even count how many times I had unexpected guests or a craving for some red meat, but all my steaks were in the freezer.
I talked with a friend chef who suggested cooking frozen steaks. He said the results were even better than grilling thawed meat.
I gave it a try and discovered he was right.
I experimented with grilling different frozen steaks for the last year until I found what worked best. Here are all my tips and tricks on how to cook frozen steak on the grill for juicy, delicious meat.
- To cook a frozen steak on the grill, preheat the grill to high, sear the steak for about 1-2 minutes on each side, then reduce the heat and continue grilling until it reaches the desired level of doneness.
- Grilling frozen steaks can achieve better results than grilling fresh ones.
- Make sure your frozen steaks are thick enough to be grilled.
5 Steps to Grill Frozen Steak
Ensure you follow these five steps to get the best results.
1. Heat up the Grill
Turn on the grill and get the fire going. As I mentioned above, you should divide the grill in half and have an indirect heat side and a direct heat side. Check that each side has the correct temperature.
Also, keep in mind you’ll have to wait about 10 to 15 minutes for a charcoal grill to heat, but only about 5 minutes for gas grills.
2. Sear the Steak
Place the meat on the grill and grill frozen steaks for five to seven minutes per side to get a good sear. You should check the internal temperature during this step. Make sure it doesn’t go beyond 90 degrees.
Searing is an important step when grilling frozen steaks to get a golden exterior and a crispy texture.
3. Season the Steaks
Once your steaks are seared, you should season the meat with pepper and salt. Seasoning doesn’t stick to the frozen steak as well as on fresh ones.
This is why Kosher salt is a great choice. It adheres to the meat better and dissolves faster compared to table salt. Use a 2:1 ratio of kosher salt to pepper.
You can add spices when you grill a frozen steak if you prefer a stronger flavor.
Note: Make sure not to season the steaks before searing them on direct heat, or the seasoning won’t stick. Always season after searing.
4. Move to the Indirect Heat Side
Next, it’s time to cook the interior using indirect heat. Move the steaks to the cool side of the grill so indirect heat can cook the interior.
Once again, use a meat thermometer to check the temperature and get the level of doneness you want.
Generally, you should grill frozen steaks on indirect heat for 15 minutes.
5. Rest the Steaks
Once you’re done grilling to your desired cooked steak doneness level, remove the steaks from the grill. Loosely cover the steaks and let them rest for about five minutes so the juices can redistribute.
Note: Don’t forget about carryover cooking, so remove the steaks a few minutes before they reach the desired temperature.
“You can cook a frozen steak without thawing it first. It’s not quick, but it’s very easy, and the results are arguably better than conventional cooking.”
- Adam Ragusea, YouTube Channel
Also Read: How Long Should Steak Rest?
4 Tips on How to Grill Frozen Steaks on the Grill
Here are four things you need to keep in mind before and during the grilling process.
1. Freeze Right
Freezing a steak right is the key to grilling success. You should freeze the steak on a flat surface to make sure the frozen steak is flat.
This ensures as much as possible of the surface area is exposed to the grill grates when you grill frozen steak.
Wrap them in plastic wrap, put them on a tray or a baking sheet, and freeze until the frozen meat becomes solid.
Once you freeze the steak on a flat surface, transfer it to a freezer bag. Push out all the air, and seal.
Your steaks should be tightly wrapped or stored in a sealed container to avoid freezer burn. It’s generally best to keep steaks in the freezer for three to six months.
2. Cook Thick Steaks
Grilling frozen steak works best if you have thick steaks. Ideally, the steaks should be 1 to 1/2 inches thick.
Avoid grilling frozen steak that’s thin, such as a skirt or flank. Their interiors can overcook before the exterior turns browned.
3. Indirect Heat
Another crucial step to grilling frozen steaks is to set up a two-zone fire. You need direct or high heat and indirect or low heat.
This lets you sear thick-cut steaks until they are nicely caramelized. Then, move the frozen steaks to the other side so it cooks through.
The direct heat should be between 500 to 700 degrees on the surface, and the indirect heat should be between 300 to 350 degrees when cooking frozen steak.
If you’re cooking frozen steak on quality gas grills, you should turn the burners to high while the grill heats up. Once it reaches the target temperature, leave the main burner on high and turn off the others.
If you’re cooking steak on a recommended charcoal grill, distribute the coals evenly on one half of the grill. Start cooking on high heat until the steak turns brown all over.
Then move it to the cooler side so that the interior can cook as well.
4. Track the Temperature
Cooking frozen steak is different from cooking fresh ones, so the best way to check what’s happening inside is to use a thermometer.
For example, a steak may look done on the outside, but it’s still frozen in the middle. The interior rises to temperature more slowly, so you should check it several times to get the steak cooked to your preferences.
Ideally, you should grill a frozen steak to its pull temperature, which is five degrees lower than the final temperature.
This is because of the carryover cooking, which means the steak will continue to cook after you remove it from the heat .
Here’s the steak’s temperature according to the level of doneness:
- Rare — 115 to 120 degrees
- Medium-rare — 120 to 125 degrees
- Medium — 130 to 135 degrees
- Medium-well — 140 to 145 degrees
- Well done — 155 degrees and above
Note: The difference between rare and medium rare is only ten degrees, so keep a meat thermometer close by to check thick-cut steaks quickly.
How Do You Cook Frozen Steak on a Gas Grill?
You cook frozen steak on a gas grill using a two-fire zone setup, searing the steak, seasoning, and finishing it on lower heat.
Why Does Frozen Steak Taste Different?
Frozen steak tastes different because freezing forms ice crystals in the meat, which makes the fibers break down. This results in some of the meat’s natural flavors being lost when thawed.
What Is the Best Way to Cook Frozen Steak?
The best way to cook a frozen steak is on the grill. You can also cook a frozen steak in the oven using a reverse-searing method. Start at a low temperature first and then increase. Finally, you can cook in a hot pan with oil and butter.