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How To Cook Frozen Steak On The Grill [COMPLETE GUIDE]

How To Cook Frozen Steak On The Grill [COMPLETE GUIDE]

Are you planning for a last-minute barbeque and trying to grill a frozen steak on the grill? For years it was believed that thawing meat is indispensable before cooking. But do you know that modern culinary science has a different take on this? Unlike the traditional way, frozen steaks that are grilled directly turn out to be more evenly cooked and are more flavorful in taste.

Traditionally, thawing or defrosting is the first step to grilling a steak. This is followed by searing, seasoning, and grilling until the steak is evenly cooked in the interiors and caramelized on the exterior. The internal temperature of a well-done steak is ~160°F. You can also successfully cook a frozen steak directly on the grill. Frozen steaks are juicier and have less chance of overcooking. 

Steaks are one of the easiest foods to cook. But what is the correct method of grilling frozen steaks? How do you check the doneness of grilled steaks? This guide will help you learn about how to perfectly cook frozen steak on the grill.

frozen steak cut in cubes

How To Thaw Frozen Steak For Grilling?

The way steak is prepared makes all the difference in the flavor and tenderness of the meat. In traditional grilling style, the first step to prepare a steak is ‘thawing.’ Thawing is the process to free the meat from accumulated ice. Two of the best methods to thaw frozen steak are:

  • Thawing in the Refrigerator – In this method, you transfer the vacuum-packed frozen steak to the fridge for about 12-14 hours prior to grilling.
  • Quick Thaw Method – In a large bowl, fill some cold water and dip the vacuum-sealed frozen steaks into it. The individual steaks would be thawed in less than an hour.

If the steaks are stacked together, it will inevitably take longer to defrost. Watch this video to learn more about How To Grill a Frozen Steak.

Can You Cook A Frozen Steak Without Thawing?

Defrosting before cooking is recommended for most kinds of meat; however, steaks may be an exception here. Many pitmasters have discovered that when frozen steak is seared on a hot skillet for at least 90℉ per side and then transferred to a 275℉ warm oven until the internal temperature reaches 145℉ – the result turns out to be outstanding. However, do remember that frozen steaks may take a little longer to cook (about 15 to 20% more time) and lose less moisture (about 9%) than thawed meat.

While the outside of the frozen steak is getting seared, the extremely low temperature on the inside cooks the meat just at its optimum temperature. Such steaks have a uniform pink interior with little or less gray banding.

How To Grill A Frozen Steak

Here is a detailed guideline on how to grill a frozen steak:

Choice of Steak

Choose a thick-cut steak. Steaks that are 1 to 1 ½ inches thick (porterhouse,  t-bone, and rib eyes) work the best for grilling frozen steaks. Thinner steaks like flank and skirt may not be an ideal choice.

Preparing Steaks

To grill straight from the box, steaks must be frozen individually. You can arrange the steaks on a baking sheet and freeze them overnight. If you are storing for a longer duration, freeze the steaks on a flat surface and store them in resealable freezer bags.

The process of grilling steaks involves three steps – ‘Searing,’ ‘Seasoning,’ and ‘Cooking.’ Once the steaks are ready to cook, you can grill, sear, reverse sear, broil, sear roast, or sous vide.

Sear – In this method, introduce the frozen steak to a pre-seasoned hot skillet and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes on each side  or until both sides are golden-brown in color. The heat should be relatively high, and the internal temperature should reach above 90 degrees Fahrenheit during the process. Searing gives a nice and crispy texture to the meat.

Next, season with minimum salt (preferably kosher salt), pepper, and oil to preserve the umami taste of the meat. Once the steak is seared, cook under indirect heat for about 15-20 minutes or until the target internal temperature is reached.

  1. Reverse Sear – Here you bake the steak first and then sear them on a pan. In reverse searing, it is not only easy to cook the meat to perfection, but the process also imparts an exceptional brown crust on the steak.
  2. Grilling – Place the frozen steaks on a hot grill and cook them until golden brown or slightly charred. Season and turn the steak. Grill each side for about 3 to 5 minutes or until the desired texture is obtained. In the next step, cook the steak in an oven until the internal temperature reaches at least 160 degrees Fahrenheit (or about 20-30 minutes for a 1-inch thick steak).
  3. Broil – Broiling and grilling are very similar, the major difference being when you grill, the heat source is underneath the steak, while in broiling, the heat source is above the meat. Frozen steaks are not recommended for cooking in a broiler.
  4. Sous Vide – In this method, steak is packed in a vacuum-sealed bag and dropped into a water bath for a prescribed time about 1 to 3 hours at a temperature of 156℉.

Checking the Steak’s Doneness

The doneness of steak can be estimated by measuring the internal temperature of the meat. Here’s a reference for the same:

Internal Temperature of Steak  Color of the Meat Inside Doneness
125℉ Very red Rare
135℉ Red Medium Rare
145℉ Pink Medium
150℉ Slightly Pink Medium Well
160℉ No pink or light brown Well

The ‘pull temperature’ of grilled steak is about 5 degrees lower than the desired temperature. To fully cook the meat, make sure to let it rest for at least 5 minutes before serving. The practice of resting gives the time for the juices to redistribute in the steak. This prevents the meat from drying out and keeps it juicy and flavorful. Once done, cut the steak and serve with the preferred choice of side dish and bread.

frozen steak

Some Points To Consider For Grilling Steak From Frozen

  • The best way to grill steak is to follow the ‘two-zone cooking technique.’ In this method, one side of the grill is hot (2,500 to 3,000℉) where you can sear the steak, while the other side is relatively cooler (500 to 700℉) with indirect heat that cooks that helps in cooking the meat evenly. The technique not only cooks the meat properly but can also handle large volumes.
  • Frozen steaks can be grilled directly only when they are stored right. Freeze the steaks on a completely flat surface. This makes the steaks get exposed to a maximum surface area on the grill grates. Store the steaks in vacuum-sealed resealable freezer bags. Don’t keep the steaks for too long in the freezer, as it can lead to freezing burn. Raw steaks can be kept in the freezer for about 3 to 6 months.
  • Always use thick steaks so that both the interiors and exteriors are cooked properly.
  • Avoid thawing steaks at room temperature as this could encourage rapid bacteria growth.
  • You can use charcoal or a gas grill.
  • Lump or briquette can be used for smoking.
  • When searing, do not keep the steak on an open flame for too long as there are high chances of overcooking or burning.
  • Seasoning of the meat should be done right before cooking; otherwise, it will draw out moisture from the meat.

More like this: Cooking Steak on a Pellet Grill 

So next time when someone asks for a surprise BBQ party, steaks should definitely be the preferred choice on the menu.

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