Grilling hamburgers in your backyard conjures great memories. Mom or Dad, flipping the meat, asking who wants cheese on theirs. The smell of toasting buns means that you’re just minutes away from that first bite. Home cooking something as simple as a burger is unforgettable. Some of our favorite fast-food joints try to tell us that the best way to enjoy your burger is, “fresh, never frozen”. But the truth is this, frozen isn’t a bad way to make a burger at home.
There are a few important keys to remember when learning how to grill a frozen burger. How long can they stay frozen? Do you need to thaw your burger prior to grilling? What is the safest temperature to serve a burger cooked from a frozen state?We want to address these questions for you so that you will know how to make the best burger, so that it is safe, tasty and a time saving tool which we all need to accomplish in our kitchen.
Required Ingredients and Supplies
Grilling a frozen burger or any other food starts with your ingredients. Put together your shopping list, and pull out the following items from your pantry.
- Ground Beef - 2 Pounds for a Family of 4
- Seasoning - 1/4 tsp Onion Powder, 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder, 2 tsp Kosher Salt, 2 tsp Ground Pepper
- Mixing bowl
- Flat Cookie Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Zipper-Lock Style Bags
- Meat Thermometer
- Quick Kitchen Tip - We like using items like garlic powder instead of garlic salt. Using the powder allows us to monitor how much salt we use overall in our recipes. We can salt to our taste later.
Start in the Kitchen
We have 2 pounds of ground chuck, a 80/20 blend. This is for 4 people, starting out with 1/4 pound burgers, and one burger per person. You can change up quantities according to your family and friends.
A couple of additions that you may want to try when preparing frozen burgers are simple. A few dashes of Worchester sauce, or soy sauce. Dicing up some fatty pieces of a brisket point or uncooked bacon, finely chopped and adding prior to mixing. Some friends have mixed veal or pork additionally, while other friends added freshly diced garlic or seasoned salt. The options are limitless, either way, you are pretty much assured of a great taste when you grill your frozen burger.
Mix your meats and seasonings, divide your burgers into your desired cooking size, 1/4 pound patties are an ideal starting point.
Lay out a clean cookie sheet and line with a piece of parchment paper. Lay out the formed patties you want to freeze on the parchment paper, so that they are not touching.
We have found that making the center point of your burger a bit more concave than the outer diameter of the burger lends to less shrinkage when cooking.
Place a second sheet on top, and slide the cookie sheet of burgers into the freezer. Allow these to freeze for a couple of hours, ideally you should check on these after you are finished eating the burgers that you are cooking that day.
When the burgers are frozen, pick them up and place them into your zipper lock style bag. Once they are frozen they shouldn’t stick together in the bag. You should be able to keep these in the freezer safely for 3-4 months, as long as they maintain a constant freezing temperature.
You should be able to cook your burger whenever you are ready. Another good trick for your freezer is to freeze a plastic or paper cup of water, halfway full. When it is frozen, place a coin on top of the ice. Check it in the freezer whenever you think of it, or specifically, after a power outage. If you see that the coin has dropped to the bottom of the cup, you now know that your freezer food may have been compromised, and it may not be a good day to use the frozen burgers anymore. In fact, you might be prudent and replace any perishables in your freezer.
Grilling Your Frozen Burger
How you decide to cook your burger, is different from how you might cook a frozen steak.
We suggest that when you know that you have a busy day, place the bag of your burgers into the refrigerator before leaving for work. You want allow the burgers to thaw as much as possible.
We have found best luck with taking the frozen burgers out of the bag and placing them on a plate that will catch and moisture that comes off the frozen meat.
Also, cover the burgers with a piece of parchment paper. The separated burgers have a lesser chance of sticking together this way.
An important part of grilling properly a frozen burger is remembering when you froze the meat, and what you put in it. We always write on our zipper lock style bag all this information so we can rotate them in a first in, first out fashion.
How to Best Enjoy Grilling a Frozen Burger
Place the burgers on the grill and cook them to your specific liking. The USDA recommends that you serve your burgers when it reaches an internal temperature of 160°. Using your meat thermometer will help you achieve this.
The best thing about you making burgers when they are frozen, is that your family will be impressed that you can make a great meal in what seems like a short amount of time.
Your budget will expand as you can now save more by buying in bulk, and freezing what you want for later. Everyone will enjoy how you are experimenting with new flavors.
Pull your burgers, and serve them on a toasted onion roll. Garnish with sautéed onions and jalapenos. Warm a thick slice of Cheddar or Muenster cheese. Serve all this along with fried onion rings, corn on the cob and potato salad.
Turn on Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise”, for everyone’s enjoyment. Compliment the meal with Kool-Aid for the kids, sweet or unsweet iced tea or an aromatic brown ale for the adults, but most of all, Enjoy!