Summer equals a renewed appetite for grilled food. Burgers, in particular, are the most popular summer food for any BBQ party. They not only bring family together but are delicious and super easy to make.
While fresh hamburgers are always best, sometimes grilling straight from frozen is your only option. So, how do you go about grilling frozen hamburgers? And can you be guaranteed great results?
Let’s talk how to barbecue frozen hamburgers. We tell you the best way to grill a frozen burger, how to season it, and even the best temperature to get it well-cooked.
- Can I BBQ Frozen Hamburgers?
- How to Barbecue Frozen Hamburgers
- Choose your Frozen Meat Patties
- Grill Frozen Burgers
- What Temperature do you Grill Frozen Hamburgers?
- How long do you Cook Frozen Hamburger Patties?
- Should I Thaw Frozen Burgers Before Grilling?
- How to Season Frozen Hamburger Patties
- Mistakes to Avoid when Grilling Frozen Burgers
Can I BBQ Frozen Hamburgers?
You can BBQ frozen burgers. The only problem is that they take longer to cook. They also tend to cook unevenly, especially if the meat patties are not uniform.
If you are using an outdoor grill, the internal temperature of the burgers should reach a safe internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, you may serve partially cooked burgers because outdoor grills can heat unevenly.
How to Barbecue Frozen Hamburgers
Grilling burgers straight from frozen can be tricky. You want the ease of having easy-to-go-to meat patties, but you don’t want them tasting like your freezer.
Here are some crucial points to keep in mind before you grill frozen burgers.
Choose your Frozen Meat Patties
When buying frozen burger meat, it’s best to go for meat that says it’s 90% lean or more. If you can find 100% lean beef patties, the better. It means you are getting high-quality meat that will cook evenly.
Good quality frozen burger patties usually stack up tightly together because the company does not include any gelling agents to stick the burgers together.
Try to look for beef patties with no added ingredients or fillers.
If you are not up to buying frozen patties, you can make your frozen burgers from fresh ground beef at home.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Toss the meat and seasonings together in a bowl and toss lightly to mix the ingredients.
- Form the meat into uniformly sized meatballs. You can weigh the patties on a kitchen scale for uniform weight.
- Don’t take too long to shape because handling the meat too much can result in a tough patty that won’t taste good.
- Place the meatballs on a wax sheet and press each of them down using a spatula—about ¼ inches thick.
- Make a thumb indentation in each patty. This will prevent doming when the burger cooks.
- Place the patties in a freezer Ziploc bag and separate each patty with parchment paper.
- Store the patties in the freezer until the next time you are ready to grill frozen burgers.
Grill Frozen Burgers
- One-pound, frozen burger patties
- Salt and Pepper for seasoning
- Burger buns
- BBQ sauce
- Your favorite toppings
- Take your hamburger patties out of the freezer.
- Use a flat utensil like a grilling spatula or a butter knife to separate the patties.
- Preheat your grill for about ten minutes on medium heat.
- Once the grill is ready, place the burger patties on the grates and start grilling.
- Flip every 2-5 minutes per side. You can grill with the lid open for a charcoal grill.
- Add salt and pepper on each side after flipping the first time.
- Once the burger juices begin to show, flip again and this time, brush your burgers with BBQ sauce to improve their flavor.
Frozen burgers tend to have flare ups so move them around the grill when they do. Moving them also helps to cook evenly if you are using the indirect grilling method with a hot section and cold section.
- Ensure your hamburgers are cooked through by checking that the internal temperature is 160 degrees Fahrenheit.
- If you are adding cheese, do so when the burgers are still on the grill to melt the cheese.
- You can now go ahead and toast your buns and top with your favorites, including tomato, onions, bacon, etc.
To prevent cross-contamination, wash your hands after handling the raw burger patties.
What Temperature do you Grill Frozen Hamburgers?
To grill frozen patties, heat your grill to about 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you are using a charcoal grill, feel the heat with your hand such that you can hold comfortably over the hot grill for about 5-6 seconds.
325 degrees F is medium-high heat. It sears the burgers on contact while keeping the insides moist. This temperature also prevents the patties from sticking, so you don’t necessarily need to use nonstick cooking spray on the grates.
Searing helps add flavor to the burgers, especially in frozen burgers where you don’t have the chance to input lots of seasonings.
How long do you Cook Frozen Hamburger Patties?
How long to BBQ frozen hamburgers depends on the thickness of your burgers. We recommend grilling frozen burgers for 12-20 minutes to allow enough time for them cook evenly. But it’s best to check the internal temperature with a meat thermometer.
Even if the inside is brown, the meat may still be undercooked. And don’t forget that some meats can still be pink when done, so the longer you cook them, the drier they become.
Should I Thaw Frozen Burgers Before Grilling?
A popular debate going around is whether to grill burgers frozen or thawed.
It’s best to use fresh, thawed beef patties. Defrosting them, even for a short time, helps to speed up the cooking. It also comes in handy to allow the meat to take seasoning because frozen patties are not receptive to salt, pepper, and dry spices.
Here are the three methods that the USDA has approved for defrosting beef to avoid food borne illnesses.
Thaw in the Refrigerator
This method takes the longest time to thaw the meat.
Place the Ziploc bag on a plate and put it in the refrigerator. The plate helps to contain any drippings and keeps the condensations from transferring to other food in the fridge.
It takes around 12 hours to thaw ½ pound of frozen ground beef when the refrigerator is set at 40 degrees F.
The Cold-Water Method
If you only have 30 minutes, you can defrost burger patties under cold water. With this method, your burger patty will be safe to grill in only ten minutes.
Put the leak-proof plastic bag in a bowl of cold water. Make sure it’s completely submerged and wait for the patties to thaw entirely or until the outer layer is soft and ready for seasoning.
Important- Thawed food in cold water must be cooked immediately.
The Microwave Method
If you have only five minutes, the microwave oven is the fastest way to defrost frozen beef.
Remove the patties from the resealable bag and place them in a microwave safe container.
Place the plate in the microwave, then use the defrost setting to thaw the patties for 2-3 minutes, flipping the patties until they have properly thawed.
Watch the patties closely because microwaves heat unevenly and the burgers can start cooking.
Grill frozen hamburger patties after thawing immediately.
Also, avoid refreezing the patties after defrosting using the microwave and cold-water method. If you have to refreeze some of the patties, it’s best to cook them first.
How to Season Frozen Hamburger Patties
Yeah, we’ve heard it before. Frozen burgers can leave you wanting for more. That’s why you want a nice combination of spices to give you a flavorful burger. Remember to sprinkle the seasoning when the burgers are cooking since that’s when they are most receptive.
You will need:
- 1tbs Paprika
- 1tsp onion powder
- 1tsp salt
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1.5tsps garlic powder
To Make the Spice Blend
- Collect the spices in a small bowl and mix well.
- Sprinkle the spices on the burgers as they cook.
Other best herbs and spices for frozen beef burgers include basil, thyme, parsley, marjoram, garlic, and chili powder.
If you can’t find the right combination of spices, you can create a great-tasting burger by choosing topping flavors that maintain the integrity of the burger.
Intense Flavor Toppings
Cheese is the number one burger topping, thanks to its intense flavor. It captures the elements of a burger, especially when it’s properly melted on the burger.
Other intense flavor toppings include pickles, relish, chutney, bacon, onions, and tapenade.
Condiments always find a spot on buns. From spicy to decadent, you can always find the perfect addition to your toasted buns.
Ketchup is a must-have on my burgers. But I also like to mix up regular mayonnaise and Japanese hot sauce and slather the mixture on my buns.
If you don’t like my style, go for mustard and Thousand Island dressing on your burgers.
Mistakes to Avoid when Grilling Frozen Burgers
Cooking on a Low Flame
Grilling frozen burgers on a low flame means they will cook for a long time before the inside is done. This will likely cause the patties to lose moisture and give you the much-dreaded dry burgers. They will also lose their flavors and become tough to chew.
Grilling on High Heat
If you grill frozen burgers on high heat, it sears the burgers on contact. But the outer layer will quickly get burned before the inside is cooked. It can resort to an undercooked burger that’s not tasty at all. High heat is also the reason behind bitter charring, especially if your meat has a high-fat percentage.
Under-Seasoning the Meat
When grilling frozen burgers, you will notice that they don’t accept seasoning like fresh ground meat. That’s why you should season generously when the burgers are cooking.
Use Kosher salt instead of Table salt. Kosher salt has large crystals that allow the flavor to soak in better than Table salt.
Overcooking the Burgers
All foods continue to cook after it’s taken off the heat. To avoid a soggy bun, rest the cooked burger for a few minutes to allow any juices to drip away. It can also help to distribute the juices better in the burger.
Pressing the Burger When it’s Cooking
Pressing a burger while it’s cooking releases the juices. It lets out the flavors, which end up under the grates or hot coals, causing a spark that gives your burgers a carbon flavor.
It’s best to resist the urge to press down on the burger, and flip them as little as possible.
Not Preheating the Grill
Placing the burgers on a cold grill or before the grill reaches grilling temperature will give you an overcooked burger on the outside and undercooked on the inside. To ensure that your burger cooks evenly, always preheat the grill before you place the burgers on the grates.
Now that you know how to barbecue frozen hamburgers, you can prepare a delicious meal within no time. Whether plain or piled with your favorite toppings, grilling frozen burgers can give you great results just like fresh ground meat. Remember to choose high-quality, lean burger patty, and you can wield the tongs with confidence.