We all know how to grill a freshly made patty. It’s as simple as throwing it down on the grill and getting the timing right. But did you know you can actually grill burgers straight from the freezer too?
Whilst sometimes it’s best to let them defrost, it’s also possible to grill frozen burgers if you need to.
This applies to homemade burgers you’ve popped in the freezer, burgers you’ve bought from the butcher, or even bought pre-frozen burgers from the supermarket.
But there are several differences between how you grill frozen burgers and fresh burgers, and we’ve written this article to explain what they are and how to get the best out of your frozen burgers, without accidentally burning them, not cooking them enough, or even overcooking them.
You would not grill a frozen burger the same way you would a fresh patty. If you do, they will end up being unevenly cooked, potentially even raw and very dry.
From preparing them to the temperatures you need to the time they take to cook, frozen burgers require slightly more attention than just throwing them on the grill, so let’s dive in and find out just how to make the perfect frozen burger!
Is It Better To Grill your Burgers Frozen or Thawed?
Generally, despite the fact we are going to give you a step-by-step guide on how to grill your burgers from frozen, it’s better to allow your burgers to thaw out before cooking if you have the time.
It’s perfectly safe to grill from frozen, but allowing them to thaw out first will allow your burger to grill more evenly, resulting in a much more flavorsome, juicier burger.
Can You Cook Frozen Burgers Medium Rare or with Pink in the middle?
It is not safe to do either of these. This is because the burgers were previously thawed during processing. Frozen burgers should always be cooked to an internal temperature of 160ºF.
How Long Does It Take to Grill Frozen Burgers?
Cooking your burgers will depend on the recipe, the grill, and a variety of other factors but in general they should take around 15 minutes and you should flip them every 5 minutes. The cooking time will also depend on the size of the burger and how well done you like them.
What Temperature Do You Need To Grill Burgers from Frozen?
When you grill a burger right from the freezer, your grill must be hot enough so that your burger cooks all the way through.
That’s why before we go through the 3 key steps of grilling a frozen burger, you must understand that you need to preheat your grill to 350ºF before even starting.
This should be preheated for 10 minutes and then you can cook them at this temperature until done. Ensure your grill doesn’t get much hotter, however, as if the temperature is too high, this will heat the exterior of the burger too quickly, leaving the inside uncooked.
Specific areas of the grill are also hotter than others and so it is important to move the burgers around the grill according to the degree of cooking.
Avoid smashing them into the grid of your gas grill too to make a fire display as they’ll end up losing their shape and the juices will pour out onto the grill, making your burgers catch the grill fire.
Before serving, you need to make sure the hamburger reaches an internal temperature of 160ºF. This reassures you they are cooked all the way through.
Staying Safe Whilst Grilling
As with grilling any food with high-fat content, this can cause flare-ups. Unless you are cooking meals that contain no fat at all, there is nothing we can do to avoid these flare-ups but you must know how to deal with them.
You need to stay ready by the grill with an empty spray bottle that has water inside to assist you in tackling the flare-ups and avoid any burns or injuries.
Three Easy Steps
Now it’s time for that all-important method. We’ve gone through the 3 simples steps it takes to make the perfect frozen burger, right from preheating the grill to serving up with your favorite toppings.
1. Preheat the grill to 350ºF
As we’ve just mentioned, this is an important first step. Before even preheating though, you need to ensure your grill is clean. As we all know, grills can get dirty easily.
Food tends to stick and when burgers stick, you are sometimes left with a shredded burger patty to clean up off the grill afterward.
If you don’t clean this up, built-up food residue can cause more foods to stick and give off sour flavors to the food you start cooking, and that’s the last thing you want for your frozen burger!
Once you’re satisfied it is clean enough, it’s ready to start preheating.
You need to preheat the grill to 350ºF for 10 minutes and if you are using a charcoal grill or a gas grill that doesn’t have its own thermometer, you can use what is referred to as the ‘hand test’ to estimate its temperature.
You simply hold your hand above the grill at the height of a small glass and if it doesn’t start to burn at 7-9 seconds, the grill is at around 250-300ºF. If it does start to burn at around 6 or 7 seconds, the grill is between 300-350ºF, and any shorter times than this you know it’s above 350ºF.
2. Prepare the Patties
Next, you need to prep and pop your patties onto the grill. To prep them, you need to separate them if they are frozen and stuck together and season generously.
If they are tricky to separate, try using a knife or similar utensil like a spatula, just be careful if you use a knife that it doesn’t slip and cut your hand if it’s sharp.
Seasonings we recommend would be salt and pepper, as well as paprika, garlic salt, onion powder, or mixed herbs. Once you have completed both of these steps, it’s time to get cooking!
3. Get them onto the Grill
To ensure your frozen burgers cook all the way through after you pop them on the grill, you need to flip them every few minutes. Depending on the thickness of the patty, this could range from 3 to 5 minutes.
After flipping the burger the first time, on the side that’s started to cook, you can get creative and add some sauce for flavor. We often go for barbecue sauce but any sauce will work and it will not only add flavor but also keep in the moisture.
If your burgers start to flare up, move them about to stop any scorching as this can ruin the taste entirely. It’s perhaps a good idea to keep moving the burgers around on the grill as this will stop any flare-ups and hot spots that impact the quality of cooking.
Using a thermometer that’s designed for meat, check your burgers have reached 160ºF on the inside. This will reassure you that your burgers are cooked all the way through.
But bear in mind, don’t check the temperature on the grill as this can cause a false reading as the thermometer will pick up the heat from the grill instead of the patty. Instead, remove the patty and check the meat inside.
After all your burgers are cooked and you’ve plated them up, make use of the heat left on the grill and pop your hamburger buns on to crisp them up.
Before placing them on the grill, spread a knob of melted butter on the flat side of the bread and place them face down. Make sure the temperature has cooled slightly so that you don’t burn the buns.
After you’ve done all three steps, you’re ready to assemble and enjoy!
How to Assemble?
This is the fun part. Once the chef has finished grilling, it’s time to personalize. To start with, you want to place a sauce on the buns. Some popular sauces include ketchup, barbecue, mustard, mayo, or burger sauce.
Then place the hamburger on the bottom bun and add any veggies you like. Again, some popular choices include lettuce, onions, tomatoes, and pickles.
Next, add cheese or bacon for a classic American burger or switch it up with some peanut butter, jam or jalapenos. Maybe add a chicken strip for an ultimate burger fusion.
Mistakes Whilst Cooking
The two most common mistakes people make whilst cooking is searing the burgers or making the patties too thin to begin with.
If you turn the heat up too quickly or attempt to cook on an open flame to make the patties cook quicker and melt, this will end up searing and ruining the burger.
The meat should instead be cooked at the correct temperature to avoid burning and make sure it reaches the correct internal temperature to avoid food poisoning.
On the other hand, also ensure you don’t cook the meat at a temperature that is too low for prolonged durations either.
Don’t be deceived by a brown hue. This could mean it’s cooked on the outside but not the inside. If the burgers are also made too thin, the burgers will also melt and be difficult to flip.
This also means you should avoid trying to firm the patties during the cooking process as this will thin them out.
We hope by reading this article you’re well aware of how to cook your frozen patties, as well as how to avoid those common mistakes and ensure your burgers are cooked thoroughly, ready to serve to all your guests at the family barbecue. The process is not too different from