The Optimal Thickness To Grill Steaks From Frozen

Smoky, savory, and juicy, a grilled steak with a charred crust and perfectly cooked interior is a beloved treat at any cookout. But while throwing a steak on the grill is easy, making a good steak great takes preparation and technique. This is especially true for those who love their streaks underdone inside while still charred and crusty on the outside. As steak can be pricey, stocking up when they are on sale can save money down the line. However, you may find yourself asking a good question: Can you take meat from the freezer to the grill?

Fortunately, the answer is a resounding yes, but with the caveat that you must also use the right kind of steak. Out of the myriad types of steaks, thick-cut ones are the best for grilling from frozen — and grilling a frozen steak may result in next-level deliciousness.

The reason behind using steaks that are both thick-cut and frozen is based on heat penetration. For one, starting with a frozen steak on the grill cooks the outside of the steak much more quickly than the frozen inside. This gives you the char you want without cooking the steak too deeply and avoids a thick layer of the dreaded "gray band" of well-done meat that turns off eaters who love rare and medium-rare steaks. Partly for the same reason, you want to use thick cuts at least one inch to one and a half-inch thick since the heat will not penetrate too deeply into a thick cut. By using these thicker cuts, you can get a desirable smoky char outside without overcooking the interior of the meat.

Grilling frozen thick cut steaks

To prepare frozen steaks for the grill, you will need thick cuts such as ribeye, tomahawk, or strip. Wrap the steaks tightly in Saran wrap, put them in a freezer bag, squeeze out all the air (or use a vacuum sealer), and place the steaks flat in the freezer. You can place the bagged steaks on a baking pan to ensure the steaks freeze flat. You can keep your steak in the freezer for up to three months.

Once you have your steaks frozen, it's time to prepare the grill. Set up one hot and one cool zone on the grill. If using a charcoal grill, pile the coals on the side. If using a gas grill, turn on the burners on one side.

In a bowl, mix a generous amount of kosher salt (the end-all, be-all for steaks), ground black pepper, and any other spices you wish to use. Make sure the grill is well heated and place the frozen steaks on the hot side of the grill until there is a nice crust, which should take about 10 minutes. When flipping the meat over, sprinkle your salt and pepper generously on the steak as the seasoning will not adhere to frozen meat thanks to ice crystals on the surface melting. Once both sides are seared, place the meat on the cold side of the grill and let it cook in indirect heat to your desired doneness. If you have compound butter, melt pads of them onto the steaks as they rest before serving.

Other grilling tips

Although it is perfect for steaks, other ingredients can also benefit from the two-zone setup. For example, you can sear chicken breasts and pork chops on the hot side and move them over to the cooler side to finish cooking to prevent dryness. Meanwhile, you can use the cooler side of the grill to keep burgers and skewers of hot dogs warm instead of leaving them to go cold on a serving platter. The hotter side of the grill can be a good way to sear large pieces of meat before moving to the cooler side to cook with indirect heat. Suitable foods include racks of ribs, whole chickens (that have been spatchcocked), and even whole pork shoulders.

Then there are grilled veggies: These should be grilled on the cooler side unless they are thick and sturdy. To pair with all these perfectly grilled meat, you can try grilling these 19 vegetables that stand up well to the grill. For your vegetarian friends who wish to have a burger, serve them a perfect grilled mushroom for a meaty alternative.