grilling frozen steaks

How to Grill Frozen Steaks

Last Updated on November 26, 2021

If you’ve got two good ButcherBox steaks in the freezer, you could be well on your way to a quick and delicious steak dinner. Yes, tonight. No, you don’t have to thaw them.

Are you wondering how? It’s all about the grill. It turns out grilling frozen steak is actually an ideal way to prepare the meat, provided you follow a few key steps. It yields perfectly seared exteriors and juicy pink interiors. We’re serious about this: Grilling frozen steak might be better than cooking it fresh.

That’s because frozen steaks can sear at high heat without overcooking on the inside, then gradually cook to medium-rare perfection on a grill’s indirect heat.

We’ve got all the details on how to grill frozen steak and why you’d want to below. Keep reading for more.

Why Grill Frozen Steaks?

It may sound like the last thing you want to do to a good steak, but it turns out, grilling frozen steaks might just be the best way to cook them.

This is because freezing the steak actually helps keep it from overcooking. When you sear a frozen steak on direct heat, only the surface is caramelized. The interior remains relatively untouched. According to ThermoBlog, this protects the interior of the steak from tightening, losing its moisture, and developing a “gray band.” These are all tell-tale signs of overcooked steak.

When the steak is frozen, you can easily sear the outside, then move it to indirect heat to gently and gradually cook the inside. This results in less gray band, and more pink edges: A perfect juicy pink steak!

5 Tips for Grilling Frozen Steaks

Opt for thick-cut steaks.

You’ll want to use your nice ribeyes (or porterhouse steaks) for this type of grilling. While you may think that thin cuts like flank steak or skirt steak would thaw faster and be more amenable to cooking from frozen, they’re actually more prone to overcooking and growing tough. Thick steaks, on the other hand, won’t overcook as readily.

Plus, thick steaks taste better with simple spices like salt and pepper, while thinner cuts take better to a marinade. You can’t really marinate a frozen steak.

Freeze the steaks properly.

The trick to grilling frozen steaks is making sure they’re frozen properly in the first place. It’s imperative to protect them from freezer burn and ice crystals. ButcherBox steaks are frozen at peak freshness, so they taste great and are perfect to cook from frozen or thawed and cooked. But if steaks aren’t already frozen, try wrapping them tightly in plastic wrap and freezing them flat on a baking sheet. Then, move them to freezer bags until you’re ready to cook them.

Create two heat zones on your grill.

Here’s the most important step to grilling frozen steaks: Make sure you set up a two-zone fire on your grill. If you’re using a gas grill, that means turning the fire high on one side and keeping it lower on the other side. For a charcoal grill, you’ll move your lit coals to the hot side of the grill.

Either way, you’ll need high, direct heat to sear your steak and develop delicious caramelization and crust. You’ll need lower, indirect heat to finish cooking the inside to your preferred doneness.

frozen steaks cooking on two hot zones

Season after searing.

No matter how hard you try, seasonings like salt, pepper, steak seasoning, or garlic powder will not stick to a frozen steak. Here, you’ll want to season each side after you sear the steak. So, sear one side, flip it, and season it generously. Repeat with the other side.

Use a good instant-read thermometer to track temperature.

It’s important to use a good instant-read thermometer to gauge the internal temperature of your steak for doneness in any situation. When grilling frozen steak, it’s especially key. You don’t want your steak to be raw on the inside, nor do you want it to be overcooked, and you definitely don’t want to undo your hard work and cut into it to check before it’s ready. So, use a good instant-read thermometer to check the internal temperature of your steaks.

You’ll want to take your steaks off the grill at their “pull temperature,” which is about five degrees shy of your final intended temperature. This is because they’ll continue to cook slightly while resting.

We recommend pulling steaks between 120°F to 125°F for medium-rare perfection.

How to Grill Frozen Steaks

  1. Set up a two-zone fire on your grill, with a section for direct, high heat and a section for lower, indirect heat.
  2. Sear the steak on high heat for about five minutes per side, until it has developed a good crust. Once seared, season each side with your preferred seasonings. A healthy hit of kosher salt and pepper is always a good choice.
  3. Move the steaks to the indirect heat side of the grill. Cook them to your preferred doneness, for about 10 minutes or more. Use a good meat thermometer to gauge the internal temperature. We recommend cooking them to about 120°F. They’ll continue to cook a bit as they rest.
  4. Let the steaks rest for at least five minutes. Enjoy!

Feeling inspired to try grilling frozen steaks for your next steak dinner? We love the convenience and delicious results of this method and hope you love it too.

Courtney Hamilton is a writer and editor with over seven years' experience in journalism, blogging, communications, and other media. She has written for publications like PaleoHacks, PaleoPlan, The Center for American Progress, OC Weekly, and more. 
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