Grilled Frozen Steaks

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Author’s Notes

Rather than follow the convention of thawing frozen steaks before grilling them, we discovered that we could get steaks that were just as juicy by cooking them straight from the freezer, no planning ahead required. We took advantage of the steaks’ ultrachilled state and started them over a hot fire to develop a well-browned crust on both sides, and then we slid them to the cooler side of the grill to cook until they reached the desired internal temperature. A big challenge was choosing the right type of steak: It had to be flavorful since a marinade or spice rub wasn’t an option, and it had to be thick so the interior wouldn’t overcook while the exterior was being browned. We found that 1½-inch-thick rib eyes or New York strips were perfect.

Do not substitute thinner steaks for the thick-cut steaks called for in this recipe. Thinner steaks cannot be grilled successfully when taken directly from the freezer. – America’s Test Kitchen


  • 2 (1-pound) frozen boneless strip or rib-eye steaks, 1 ½ inches thick, trimmed
  • Kosher salt and pepper


Prepare the Grill

FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL – Open bottom vent completely. Light large chimney starter mounded with charcoal briquettes (7 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour evenly over half of grill. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.

FOR A GAS GRILL – Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).

Clean and oil cooking grate. Place steaks on hotter side of grill and cook (covered if using gas) until browned and charred on first side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip steaks, season with salt and pepper, and cook until browned and charred on second side, 5 to 7 minutes. Flip steaks, season with salt and pepper, and move to cooler side of grill, arranging so steaks are about 6 inches from heat source. Continue to cook until meat registers 115 to 120 degrees for rare or 120 to 125 degrees for medium-rare, 10 to 15 minutes longer. Transfer steaks to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet and let rest for 5 minutes before serving.