Once you learn how to grill frozen burgers the right way, your guests will never even suspect you used frozen patties.
Some diehards will tell you they wouldn’t dare let a frozen burger patty touch their grill.
Don’t listen to those snobs.
Are frozen burgers on the grill as good as burgers made with fresh ground beef?
Honestly, no…probably not. I do prefer fresh burgers myself, but I always keep a bunch of patties in the freezer ready to go at any time.
They’re just so convenient when you have unexpected guests or if you’re working from home and need a quick lunch. Just toss a few frozen patties on the grill and you’re good to go.
And with the tips I’m going to give you in this article, you’ll learn how to grill frozen burgers so good you might just forget they aren’t fresh.
Do You Need To Defrost Frozen Burgers Before Grilling?
There’s no need to defrost frozen burger patties before cooking them. You can take them right of the freezer and put them directly on the hot grill.[/snippet]
I’ve been grilling frozen burgers right out of the freezer for years and I’ve never had a problem. If you read the packaging, some brands like Bubba Burgers specifically tell you not to defrost their burgers before cooking.
If you start grilling with your patties still frozen it will take a few extra minutes to cook, but you’ll save a ton of time by not waiting for them to defrost.
The most important thing is to grill your frozen burger patties at medium, semi-indirect heat.
Aim for a grill temperature of 325 to 350 degrees and start your burgers over a gas burner that’s set either very low or off. If you’re using charcoal, push the coals to one side and start the burgers on the other side.
Cooking them indirectly at first will allow the inside to cook thoroughly without burning the outside. Use an instant read thermometer to make sure they’re cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
When they’re just about done, move the burgers over the direct heat. This will give them those beautiful grill marks everyone loves.
So basically this method is a way to reverse sear burgers like you would a thick steak (though a lot more budget-friendly).
How to Grill Frozen Burgers Step By Step
- Set up your grill for medium heat, around 325 to 350 degrees
- Take your patties out of the freezer. You may need a spatula or butter knife to separate them. Also remove the paper separators
- Place your frozen burgers on the grill
- Season them right on the grill with salt, pepper, garlic powder, or whatever you like
- You’ll know it’s time to flip them when the juices start flowing to the top
- Cook for about 15 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness of the burger) or until the reach a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees
- Add a little butter to your buns and toast them until golden and crispy (this adds soooo much flavor and texture)
- Remove your burgers from the grill and start assembling with your favorite toppings: lettuce, tomato, onion, bacon, cheese, pickles, mayo, ketchup, barbecue sauce…it’s all good! [/snippet]
How about some pictures so you can see for yourself how frozen burgers cook on the grill.
Those are ⅓ pound Kirkland brand Angus burgers from Costco. They’re made from 75 percent lean to 25 percent fat ground beef. That may sound like a lot but fat is flavor baby!
As you can see I didn’t thaw them at all. I just took them right out of the freezer and onto the hot grill.
You can’t really see in the picture but I have the burgers over the middle burner which is set at low. The two side burners are set to medium.
I kept the grill covered most of the time so it would act like an oven. I also kept the middle burner turned down to prevent the burgers from burning before they were cooked through.
This also helps minimize the risks of a flare-up, though you should never take your eye off a lit grill just in case.
Once I could see the juices coming through the top and and I could see nice grill marks I knew it was time to flip my burgers.
Total cooking time was about 15 minutes and when the burgers were just about done and the cheese was added, I threw a couple of buttered hamburger buns on the grill.
Buttering your buns and getting a nice crisp on them adds another layer of flavor and texture and it makes a big difference. If you want to step it up another notch, try using making a simple compound butter with garlic and parsley.
Ok, it’s time to assemble my burger…
Don’t you just want to reach into your screen and take a bite of this perfect burger?
My burger is served on a buttered and toasted potato roll with American cheese, some thinly sliced onions, mixed greens, and a squirt of Chick-Fil-A sauce (my son turned me on to that one).
Let me tell you it was damn delicious, and if all frozen burgers tasted like mine the world would be a better place.
How To Season Frozen Burgers
Some frozen burger patties come pre-seasoned but others are just plain ground meat. A little seasoning and extra flavor can be the difference between an average burger and WOW burger.
The key to seasoning frozen burgers is to not add any seasoning until they’re on the hot grill. If you try sprinkling on salt, pepper, garlic powder, or other dry seasonings while the patties are still frozen, the seasoning won’t stick and you’ll lose a bunch as you transfer them to the grill.
I typically keep my burgers simple with a little kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, or maybe some garlic powder or Montreal steak seasoning. You can also add onion powder, chili powder, paprika, or other herbs or spices you like best.
Barbecue sauce is a great option to kick the flavor up a notch, but be sure to wait until the burgers are almost completely cooked before adding it. Add it too soon and the sugars in most BBQ sauces will burn before the burger is done.
If barbecue sauce isn’t your thing you can can try slathering on some Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, or steak sauce.
Once the burger is cooked you can add an almost infinite combination of toppings including cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, roasted peppers, onions, bacon, avocado, a fried egg…be creative!
How Long To Cook Frozen Burgers On Grill
Once you place your frozen burgers on the grill you can expect it to take about 15 to 20 minutes for them cook. The safest way to know when they’re done is by using a reliable instant read thermometer. You’ll want to cook your burgers to 160 degrees.
Remember to keep your grill’s heat set to medium so the outside doesn’t burn before the inside has a chance to cook through. This is especially important if your burgers are on the thick side.
Don’t leave those burgers alone! They can go from “almost done” to a blackened hockey puck in no time.
You also need to pay attention for flare-ups. When the fat in burger meat starts dripping through the grill grates they can ignite and all of a sudden you’ve got a fireball on your hands.
The best way to prevent flare-ups is to cook your burgers using indirect heat. It’s also a good idea to keep a spray bottle full of clean water handy to help extinguish minor flare-ups.
Frozen Burgers On A Blackstone Griddle
Grilled burgers are classic, but can you also cook frozen burgers on a Blackstone griddle or other flat top?
I have a Blackstone myself and I often use it to cook frozen burgers. The steps are exactly the same as you’d use on a gas or charcoal grill. And since there are no grill grates for oil or fat to fall through you don’t have to worry about flare-ups.
Just make sure you watch the temperature carefully and keep the heat set to medium or you’ll end up with burnt burgers.
Pro Tip – check out my recipe for Smash Burgers on the Blackstone griddle for one of the best and tastiest burgers you’ll ever have!
The Final Word On Grilling Frozen Burgers
Listen: fresh is always best, but there’s absolutely nothing wrong frozen burger patties.
They’re convenient and they’re individually packaged so you can make one or a dozen depending on your needs.
They might never completely replace fresh ground beef, but now that you’ve learned how to grill frozen burgers the right way, you’ll definitely want to keep a package in the freezer from now on.