The Art of Grilling Frozen Steaks: Unleash the Flavor!

We’ve all been there. Picture this: an unexpectedly sunny day, your grill eagerly beckoning you to cook up some juicy red meat. The only problem is that your steaks are safely tucked away in the icy depths of your freezer, and you don’t have the luxury of time to defrost them. But fear not! What if I told you that you could take those frozen steaks, throw them directly onto the grill, and still end up with a perfectly cooked, tender, medium-rare steak in just 40 minutes? Yes, it’s possible—and we’re here to show you how.

Can you really grill a frozen steak?

In a word: absolutely! While it may require some adjustments to your usual cooking routine, grilling a steak from frozen is entirely feasible and can yield exceptional results. Surprisingly, cooking a frozen steak might even give you better outcomes than thawing it beforehand. The extreme coldness of the frozen meat prevents the interior from warming up too quickly, thereby minimizing the risk of the dreaded gray band of overcooked meat around the edges. Instead, you’re more likely to achieve a glorious, consistent pink perfection throughout.

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Will it dry the meat out?

One of the initial concerns when exploring the idea of cooking frozen steaks is whether the extended cooking time would result in dry meat. However, fear not! The folks at Cooks Illustrated conducted a comprehensive test and found that there is no significant difference in moisture loss between steaks cooked from thawed and steaks cooked directly from frozen. In fact, thick-cut steaks that were grilled straight from the freezer were just as juicy as their thawed counterparts, despite requiring double the cooking time. So rest assured, your frozen steaks won’t be devoid of succulence.

Tips for grilling frozen steaks

While grilling a steak from frozen is entirely possible, there are a few tips and tricks to ensure the best possible outcome. Here’s what you need to know:

Use indirect heat

The secret to successfully cooking a frozen steak lies in employing the two-zone cooking technique. This means setting up your grill with a hot side and a cool side. On a gas grill, crank up one burner to high heat and leave the other on low. If you’re using charcoal, pile up the coals on one side to create a higher temperature zone. By starting your frozen steak on the hot side to get a good sear, then moving it to the cooler side for indirect heat, you’ll achieve a beautifully cooked steak with a crusty exterior and a perfectly cooked interior.

Opt for thick steaks

When working with frozen steaks, it’s crucial to choose thicker cuts. Cooking from frozen takes longer than cooking thawed meat, so thinner steaks run the risk of overcooking on the inside before achieving the desired sear on the surface. Aim for steaks that are at least 1 inch thick, such as Ribeye, Porterhouse, or New York Strip, for the best results.

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Use a meat thermometer

Accurate temperature control is key when grilling any steak, and this holds true for frozen steaks as well. Keep a reliable meat thermometer on hand to monitor the internal temperature of your steak. Pull it off the grill when it reaches about 5-10°F below your desired doneness to prevent overcooking due to residual heat.

Sear, then season

Ordinarily, we’d advise seasoning your steaks in advance or right before cooking. However, when it comes to frozen steaks, seasoning them beforehand won’t have the same effect. Instead, sear the surface of the steak first to lock in the juices, then season generously with salt and pepper before transferring it to the cool side of the grill to finish cooking.

Step-by-step guide to grilling frozen steaks

Now that you’re armed with the knowledge and techniques for grilling a frozen steak, let’s walk through the process step by step:

1) Bring your grill up to temperature

Using the two-zone cooking method mentioned earlier, preheat your grill to the desired temperature. Allow about 10 to 15 minutes for a charcoal grill to reach the right temperature and approximately 5 minutes for a gas grill.

2) Sear your frozen steaks

Once your grill has reached the optimal heat, it’s time to get grilling! Place your frozen steaks directly on the hot side of the grill. Sear each side for around 5 to 7 minutes, ensuring the internal temperature remains below 90°F.

3) Season your steak

After achieving a satisfying sear, generously season both sides of the steak with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. These simple seasonings will enhance the natural flavors without overpowering the steak.

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4) Cook the interior using indirect heat

Once seasoned, move the steak to the cool side of the grill, where indirect heat will gently cook the interior to perfection. Use an instant-read thermometer to gauge the steak’s doneness, and remove it from the grill when it reaches about 5°F below your desired temperature. This will allow for the perfect carryover cooking, resulting in a succulent, tender steak.

5) Relish the flavors!

Voila! In less than an hour, you’ve transformed a frozen disappointment into a delectable masterpiece. With each juicy, perfectly cooked bite, you’ll savor the satisfaction of grilling a frozen steak to mouthwatering perfection.

From frozen to fantastic

Cooking steak from frozen may have once seemed like an outlandish notion, but now you know the secret: it’s simple, rewarding, and can yield even better results than cooking thawed meat. So, the next time you find yourself in need of a spontaneous BBQ gathering, don’t fret if your prized beef is in the freezer—it won’t be a problem at all! Embrace the art of grilling frozen steaks, impress your friends and family, and relish in the incredible flavors that await.

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