In the world today, a burger is generally understood to be a beef patty on a soft bun, large enough to hold the cake and other condiments. We commonly see burgers sold by fast-food restaurants, but this burger is more than just fast food.
It is a way of life that represents the western culture of middle-classed food. So, the burger is not just some random package cooked meal but rather a lifestyle. At home, we tend to make patties from scratch, often from frozen ground meat, with almost no skills.
But like every food preparation, it requires attentiveness to details for the product to come outright.
Aside from the ingredients which determine the taste of a burger, the cooking process also matters a lot. You can choose to make your burgers taste, grilling them from rare to a well-cooked marinated burger. Therefore, we find it necessary to consider how long it takes to grill a frozen burger.
How to Defrost or Thaw a Frozen Burger?
Many people prefer to bring home pounds of ground beef, make patties, and place them in the freezer. Then, it becomes easier to grab a couple of burgers out of the freezer whenever you need them. Before you eat your burger, you need to defrost them first.
If you cook from frozen, you end up cooking the meat longer, which will result in drier patties compared to when it is thawed. If the patties are thick, the chances are that you’ll have a burnt outside and raw, possibly cold inside if not properly defrost.
Also, the seasonings you use may not penetrate the meat, which may cause the meat to be bland. But when you allow a frozen burger to defrost, it makes much of the moisture frozen inside it become reabsorbed. This allows for a tenderer and tastier burger.
So defrost first to avoid raw or burnt burgers.
Here are some simple steps to follow.
- Remove frozen burger patties you’ll need from the freezer
- Place in a microwave and allow to defrost
- Alternatively, use a skillet or pan and add 1-3 cups of water
- Cook on a low to medium heat for about 3-5 minutes
- Cover with a lid so that the steam can build up as it heats
- Watch closely and allow it to thaw as desired
- Throw away leftover water from the skillet
- When it seems it has softened enough, you can put it on a grill
Can you grill Frozen Burger without Defrosting?
Well, you aren’t supposed to cook them frozen because the outside tends to cook faster than the inside. But there is nothing wrong with all the frozen patties going straight on the grill. You can grill burgers directly from the freezer, which means it is safe to cook burgers unthawed.
Some commercially made burgers are so thin they can be cooked from frozen. Even though cooking from frozen tends to make the burger a bit rubbery, it becomes edible nonetheless. It takes a lot more heat energy than expected.
The reason is that there is a need for additional energy to change the ice in the burger into liquid water.
So if you are cooking from frozen, it means you are raising the temperature from below freezing to safe serving temperature. As the burgers heat up, there may be a dome in the center. This happens when the outside edges are contracting from being cooked.
If you want it browned, you need the meat to come in direct contact with heat across its whole surface.
Just take a spatula, slightly press and hold the center down to flatten the dome against the grill. Flip it once earlier to even out the dooming. If you flip it too often, you may end up with tough patties due to moisture loss.
Steps to Grill a Frozen Burger
You might have probably seen many variations in most burgers you have eaten, making you prefer eating particularly “homemade” ones. Then, there is no reason you shouldn’t cook a burger instead of a quick “food hit” available in restaurants.
It is easy and fast to cook frozen burgers; however, there is no trick to cook frozen burgers. To cook a burger on a grill, here are some few steps you should follow:
Select a quality grill
Grilling on a flat top grill is best for grilling burgers. With it, you have control over the doneness of the burger when you are starting from frozen. A charcoal grill works well but may not be suitable for grilling burgers.
This is because it causes a lot of dripping and flaring up as the meat thaw. As a result, your burger may become overcooked from the outside and raw inside.
Although it takes more time to cook a frozen burger than a fresh one, it will eventually get done. Therefore, it is safer to cook a burger on a flat top grill as the patties thaw and reaches safe internal temperature.
Light your grill to preheat at a medium-high temperature
Properly setting up a grill is the second most important thing after choosing worthy meat. After defrosting your burger, it will cook without burning if you keep the grill at a medium-low temperature.
But you need to heat your grill first for about 5-10 minutes for thorough cooking in and out. Hold your hand above the grill to feel the heat, ensuring you have the right amount of heat you need to get started. When you see some flaming coming off the chimney, this means it is ready.
Grab your frozen burger and dab with grease
You would need to rub high burning point oil, such as olive oil, and place the seasoned side down on the grill. On the alternative, brush with hot melted butter or a little oil such as bacon fat. Oil helps prevent sticking on the grill, and the extra fat means extra juiciness and flavor.
You can also brush some on during cooking. The trick is that you cook the patties first, on one side of the grill, and then the grease will make it easier to flip the other side without sticking to the grill.
Lace your burger on the grill and allow it to cook
Once the heat is up, toss your burger meat on the grill. Now you need to be patient because the thawing part can take a bit more time. Watch it for about 5 minutes until the meat begins to tenderize. At this point, you can add seasoning on both sides, such as salt and pepper.
Let it continue to cook until a crust forms on the side.
Make sure to cook with relatively low heat to thaw without charring the outer layer too much. Also, ensure that the heat gets to the middle and allow the juices to flow. Using this meat or fat ratio prevents them from burning in their fat.
Turn it over so that both sides cook evenly
It would be nice to flip your burger over for even cooking on both sides. This could be done when the edges have cooked about a quarter inch in. Before you flip your burger, leave it there until you see meat juice on the uncooked side.
Let whatever you are cooking gets a chance to caramelize before flipping; that initial sear is essential. Then you turn it in with your spatula for another 5-10 minutes.
A few minutes sear on the other side after the meat juice shows up is enough. Once your patties have thawed to where you can poke them with a toothpick, crank up the heat and char to hold in the juice. Don’t squish with a spatula!
Freezing dries out the parties, and you would want to save as much juice as possible.
Use a meat thermometer to check the doneness
A good instant-read thermometer will help you to determine if the middle of the patty is cooked to the desired level. Technically, the longer you cook, the dryer and more done burgers will be. Be mindful while cooking that the outside will thaw, cook, and char first.
So the outer part can also help you decide if it is done or not, but this could be very dicey.
Most importantly, never cook them more than medium-rare, and don’t ruin the burger with over doneness. This gives you the perfectly cooked inside and perfect crust. A medium-rare burger would be quite soft to the touch, and it goes up in firmness until well done when it’s pretty stiff.
A medium-rare burger produces pink juice, and this makes a perfect burger.
Add other condiments and Serve
The most common condiments people add to create a juicy burger is buns and cheese. At the last minute, warm burger bun to toast just before the patty is done. However, buns come in different flavors, sizes, and shapes, so choose your bun wisely.
Add other yummy ingredients you have set out and enjoy. If you are a huge fan of unadulterated meat in a burger, that means meat, salt, and pepper are all you need.
What should you avoid when grilling frozen Burgers?
What shapes a culinary prowess is learning about some mistakes that should be avoided when cooking a meal. Almost every cooking skill has already been tried by someone else. So, in our research, we have put together a few mistakes you need to avoid when making a frozen burger.
There are a ton of common mistakes beginners make, but here are a few you should avoid.
The difference in texture between rare to medium, medium-rare to medium, and medium-well to well-done is massive. This is more reason why you should get a probe thermometer to help you know when your patties have reached the temperature you want.
What is the ideal Temperature to Grill a Frozen Burger?
A burger can be cooked anywhere from blue, brown on the outside to charred. Some burgers should only be cooked to medium. This is because it becomes rigid and dry if it cooks more than that. But with portions of ground beef, it is all different because they are more sensitive to bacteria.
Packaged ground beef often comes from different sources and, most times is contaminated.
The act of grinding up ground beef alone disperses the original surface area mostly affected by bacteria. Now when you form a patty, the new surface tends to have bacteria, so does the interior. It means all the ground meat should be heated to a safe temperature both on the surface and inside.
The bacteria on the inside might survive if you undercook it.
Most burger enthusiasts prefer burgers that are cooked medium-rare or fully cooked. The reason is it exposes the outside of all small bites of the beef to sufficient grill heat to kill any germs.
Therefore, the recommended ideal temperature standard is 1600F and 1550F internal temperature. This is what a frozen burger needs though fresh ground meat can be cooked under lower temperatures.
However, for medium-rare, ground beef should be cooked to a minimum internal temperature of 1450F. If you use too-high heat, the outside will have a nice sear, but the inside may be raw. If you use too-low heat, the interior will be well-cooked, but the outside may not have a nice color.
When can you tell a Frozen Burger is Grilled?
Based on your eating preference and customs, you can decide what “grilled” mean to you. If you want a medium-rare burger, there are different ways you can tell if it is done or not. Pink in the middle with nice medium brown all around the outside is perfect!
For some people, fully-cooked is ideal. Here are some simple ways to tell you to have a grilled burger.
Observe for changes: For some good reasons, you need to observe and put a watch on your burger while it grills. The more cooked it gets, the more you notice the changes in all sorts of ways. The outer parts of the patties get more brownish and firm as the moisture goes up in smoke.
The meat shrinks as the fat melts and drops away. If you’d instead get a faster read, an instant-read thermometer is best, but you can also use scale types. Just poke the burger in the center and take its temperature.
Juice test: The juice is another way to check after all the juice enhances the flavor of your burger. The raw meat conserves lots of fluids. As you grill, it undergoes a chemical reaction and not able to retain as much moisture. The liquid gradually leaves the burger when getting cooked.
If you see red juices running around or draining from meat or collecting in the skillet, then you are getting close to what you want. Please don’t press the juice out of the burger. It makes it dry. If there are no juices, you kill the burger.
A juicy burger tastes better than a dry, well-done burger.
Check the color: You should also monitor the color it brings out. Solid brown is medium to well done. Pink is medium-rare, and red is rare. The pinker your patties get, the more it gets moist. And the softer it gets, the tastier it becomes.
How long does it take to Grill a Frozen Burger?
Depending on how thick your patty is, or the moisture content, a 3/4 -1-inch thickness takes about 7-10 minutes until browned and crispy. When you flip to the other side, 5-10 minutes at medium heat is enough to give you the perfect burger.
This time and proximity to the heat will produce a medium-rare burger.
For a perfect medium to a medium-well burger, cook it until it is brownish-grey halfway up to the whole side. Generally, the best time to flip is when the first side reaches the color and degree of doneness you aim for.
However, don’t think about cooking a burger to a specific amount of time. Think about cooking by the way it looks. The easiest way to know if it is done is to check the sear and crispy. Here are some other factors that determine how long frozen burgers should be cooked.
- Do you want it cooked medium-rare, well done, or somewhere in-between
- Are the frozen burger defrost and thawed or going straight to the grill
- The internal temperature and the heat your grill produces
- The thickness of the parties
What are the Tools you need to Grill Frozen Burger?
Different grilling accessories are widely used while cooking frozen burgers. For a better grilling experience, here are the tools you need:
- Grilling machine: If you want to grill a burger, one of the essential tools you need is a quality grilling machine. There are built-in grills made just for home or indoor cooking. These grills are lovely and are made with high-performance. However, if you want to get super elaborate, some grills are suitable for outdoor and indoor.
- Spatula/Flipper: A spatula is needed for flipping burgers after cooking to the desired doneness. You can also use a spatula to smash your burger into a flat state, depending on its thickness.
- Thermometer: To operate a thermometer is quite simple. A thermometer uses a heat flow rate to measure temperature and ensures you are not under or overcooking.
- Grill pan/Skillet: A pan is needed to cook frozen beef patties with health and safety in mind. A non-stick griddle is the best for patties, which means no extra unhealthy fats are required to keep the burger from sticking to the griddle. There are indoor grill pans you can get too. Most are non-stick and have distinct ridges along the top so you can get the grill marks while cooking indoors.
How long should you keep Frozen Burgers?
Generally, keeping food frozen prevents foodborne illness and food spoilage. When you thaw and refreeze frozen burgers, it disrupts the bacteria that may likely grow in aging food. Foods frozen at 00F for months are still edible, but you may not like the tastes.
So long the freezer has not failed, and the food within it has been kept frozen, it is safe to eat. However, when you freeze food for too long, it loses nutritional value, texture, and overall quality. In no time, the taste and flavor changes or gets damaged by freezer burn, which dries out food.
No matter how long a freezer preserves your burger, you still have to follow safe food handling and cooking practices. According to USDA, ground beef keeps its quality for not more than four (4) months, so burger patties are not expected to stay longer than that.
If you refrigerate your cooked ground beef or patties very well, they should still maintain their quality for four (4) months.
That does not mean that cooking to a lower temperature is necessarily unsafe. Therefore, prepare your burger, sear each side for about 5- 10 minutes, pop it a bit over for a few minutes, and your burger is ready.