How to Grill a Frozen Steak

Who knew that grilling frozen steak was a thing? Yes, you really can grill frozen steak, contrary to what many people think.

This time-saving grilling technique is easy enough to do and good to know for those times you need to feed your guests something delicious at the last minute.

Read on to learn how to grill frozen steak easily (and safely) for those last-minute cookouts.

Can You Grill Frozen Steak?

Yes, you can grill frozen steak – and safely too.

The process may take longer than grilling steak from room temperature, and you may need to change your cooking technique a little, but the results are just as juicy, tender, and delicious with the perfect crisp crust.

The low temperature of the frozen beef keeps a steak’s interior from heating up too quickly while the outside is searing. This prevents that typical gray band of overcooked meat that often develops around a steak’s edges during grilling, making it more likely for you to get a perfectly grilled, all-pink, moist steak.

Grilling Frozen Steak Tips

When you’re preparing to grill frozen steak, pay attention to the cooking technique to avoid getting a dry and inedible piece of meat.

Here are our top tips for grilling frozen steak to get delicious results:

Choose the Right Type of Steak: Use Thick Cuts

As much as possible, use thick-cut steaks when grilling frozen meat. This is essential because grilling steak from frozen takes longer than grilling meat at room temperature.

If you grill a thin-cut steak such as skirt, flank, flat iron, or hanger, the interior will overcook before the exterior forms a crust, which typically occurs at 350°F.

Steak cuts that do well when grilled from frozen should be at least 1 inch thick. Pick a tomahawk, Porterhouse, New York strip, or ribeye when cooking with this method.

Freeze the Meat Properly

An essential consideration for grilling frozen steak starts when you decide to freeze the meat. It must be frozen correctly. The following steps should help you do just that:

  • Wrap each steak separately in at least two layers of plastic wrap, sealing each steak as tightly as possible. Do not use aluminum foil or butcher paper because these do not achieve an airtight wrap.
  • Place the steaks in a resealable freezer bag.
  • Press as much air as possible out of the packaging. Use a vacuum seal machine, if one is available, for best results. Air exposure in the packaging can lead to freezer burn, which causes steak to take on an unappetizing gray-brown color, lose moisture, and, consequently, lose flavor.
  • Make sure the freezer temperature is set at 0°F or lower.

Keep an Eye on the Temperature

When grilling steak from frozen, you should keep a careful eye on the temperature to achieve your desired results. The best way to do so is to use a meat thermometer.

Recommended steak doneness temperatures:

  • Blue: 115°F             
  • Rare: 120°F            
  • Medium-Rare: 130°F          
  • Medium: 140°F
  • Medium-Well: 150°F          
  • Well-Done: 160°F

Because meat continues to cook after being removed from the grill, remember to remove your steak when it is 5° to 10° below your desired doneness temperature to avoid overcooking it.

Sear the Steak and Then Season It

When cooking steak from room temperature, it is customary to season it with salt and pepper before searing it.

However, for cooking steak from frozen, we suggest just the opposite – searing and then seasoning your steak. This is because seasoning frozen steak is counterintuitive. The seasoning won’t stick to a frozen piece of meat, so it’s best to season a steak after it has warmed on the grill.

Alternate Direct and Indirect Heat

When you’re planning to grill frozen steak, you have to consider the cooking technique. One of the best methods to use is the two-zone cooking method, which uses the hot and cold sides of a grill.

Boost one area of the grill – whether the grill is charcoal or gas – with a higher temperature. Place your frozen steak on the hot side of the grill to achieve a good sear. (The Maillard reaction, a chemical reaction that creates the exquisite flavors of searing, occurs at approximately 350°F.) Then move the steak to the cooler side of the grill to gently cook the interior to perfection.

Rest Your Steak Before Slicing

Resting your steak after cooking ensures it reabsorbs the flavorful juices, making for a delicious meal.

When a steak cooks, the juices flow to the outer edges of the steak due to the sudden exposure to high temperatures. If you cut this meat immediately after grilling, the juices will run onto the cutting board, leaving you with a dry piece of meat. That’s why resting grilled meat is essential; resting prevents moisture loss and reduces the risk of ending up with a dry and less flavorful steak.

Resting times vary depending on your steak cut, but typically steaks should rest 3 to 5 minutes for small cuts and 10 to 20 minutes for large cuts.

Bonus Tips:

How Long Does Raw Steak Last in the Freezer?

According to the FDA, steaks frozen at 0°F or lower should last 4 to 12 months. These storage times, however, depend on the quality of the meat, the way you wrap the meat before freezing, and, of course, the good fortune to avoid experiencing a power outage that could accidentally defrost your steaks.

If you suspect your frozen steaks may not be fit to eat, look for these danger signs:

  • More than 12 months have passed since freezing.
  • The meat looks and feels dry.
  • The meat smells off and cheesy.
  • The surface of the meat is viscous with a yellow film.

Best Way to Defrost Steak

If your steak is OK to eat, and you don’t want to grill it from frozen, you can defrost it in a safe manner.

The best way to defrost a steak is to remove it from the freezer and its packaging and place it on a baking sheet to catch any fluids. Thaw the meat in your refrigerator until it is fully defrosted. Before cooking the steak, bring it up to room temperature and then cook it immediately for the best flavor.

How to cook frozen steak on grill

Fire Up Your Grill to Temperature

Fire up your gas or charcoal grill to create a hot and cold zone. This takes approximately 5 minutes on a gas grill and 15 minutes on a charcoal grill.

Sear the Frozen Steak

Place your frozen steaks on the hot zone of your grill, and cook for approximately 5 to 7 minutes on each side. As you cook, check the internal temperature, which should not go above 90°F.

Season the Steak

Season both sides of the steak with salt, pepper, and any steak rub you desire.

Use Indirect Heat to Cook the Interior

Move your steak to the cooler side of the grill and cook over indirect heat, using a meat thermometer to monitor your desired doneness.

Rest the Meat

Remove the meat to a cutting board. Let it rest for 10 to 12 minutes. Then enjoy!

We hope these tips have given you the know-how and confidence to avoid any panic when you have a last-minute need to grill meat. As long as you follow these tips and the proper cooking techniques, you’ll get safe and delicious results.

Photo of author

Written by: Adam Wojtow

Adam is the founder of Steak Revolution. He loves sharing his knowledge of steaks with everyone, ensuring you get the perfect steak every time.