Can You Grill Frozen Chicken?

Frozen Chicken Legs

Even though we all love grilled chicken, sometimes we forget to take it out of the freezer and don’t remember until we are at work. Wondering what to do, a thought pops into your head: what if I grill the chicken frozen?

Most people have anxiety about grilling frozen chicken, which is completely normal. Undercooked chicken is associated with foodborne bacteria like Salmonella. However, if it is prepared correctly, you can grill frozen chicken that is safe to eat.

Can You Grill Frozen Chicken

Yes, you can grill frozen chicken! However, if you have the time to thaw the chicken, I recommend defrosting it before you fire up your portable pellet grill and cook it.

The drawback of grilling frozen chicken is that the cooking time will be increased by 50%. Therefore, if the chicken usually takes 15-20 minutes to grill, it will take 25-30 minutes to cook in its frozen state.

How To Defrost Chicken 

While you can cook frozen chicken, it’s best to thaw your chicken before cooking it if you have the time. If you do not grill the chicken correctly, it will be raw on the inside. In addition to this, the chicken may be less delicious after grilling if it is cooked in its frozen state.

There are several different methods of defrosting chicken. Some of them require a short time, while others require longer defrosting times.

How To Thaw Chicken In The Refrigerator 

The refrigerator is by far the best method of defrosting chicken. The chicken will remain at a low temperature during the entire thawing process. Therefore, exposure to dangerous bacteria will be limited.

Moreover, the chicken will retain its freshness and will be tender and juicy when you pull it off your kamado grill. To thaw chicken in the refrigerator, remove it from the freezer and place it onto a baking sheet or deep dish to prevent any moisture from the chicken from contaminating your fridge. Place the frozen chicken on a low shelf in the fridge and let it thaw for 20-24 hours.

How To Defrost Chicken In Cold Water

If you don’t have 24 hours to thaw chicken in the fridge, the water method is the next best option as it only takes 1-2 hours. Place the frozen chicken into a ziplock bag.

Place the chicken into a deep container and fill the bowl with cold water. Do not use hot water as it will thaw the chicken incorrectly and create an environment for bacteria to grow. Drain the water and add more cold water every 30 minutes until the chicken is thawed.

How To Thaw Chicken Using A Defrosting Tray

As the name implies, a defrosting tray is designed to defrost frozen foods. This sturdy tray is constructed from aluminum or copper. These metals are excellent heat conductors, so the tray can quickly defrost heat in about 30 minutes. 

Simply place the chicken breast, legs, or thighs onto the defrosting tray and allow it to thaw for 30 minutes. In addition to this, the defrosting tray should have a container attached to it to collect the liquid that collects from the frozen chicken.

How To Thaw Chicken In The Microwave 

Thawing chicken in the microwave is the fastest way to defrost it. However, I must warn you the microwave could start to cook parts of the chicken while others remain raw. Therefore, you must watch the chicken carefully while it is defrosting in the microwave.

Nevertheless, the chicken will be ready to grill in a couple of minutes. Place the chicken into a microwave-safe dish, place it into the microwave, and hit the defrost setting.

Each cut of chicken will take a specific amount of time to thaw. The general consensus is 1 minute per every 100 grams of chicken.

You must grill the chicken immediately after it is thawed. If you leave the chicken at room temperature for too long, bacteria will start to grow.

How To Grill Frozen Chicken 

If you are left with no other option but to grill frozen chicken breast, thighs, or legs, you must do it properly. Although it will be a bit rubbery, the chicken will still be quite delicious, and you will still get a tasty meal on the table in time for dinner.

As I mentioned above, grilling the chicken will increase the cooking time by 50%. However, depending on the thickness of the chicken, it may still take a bit longer than this, so brace yourself for a longer cooking time.

The first rule of grilling frozen chicken is to grill it over indirect heat. Cooking the chicken over indirect heat allows it to thaw and come to the recommended internal temperature. You should never grill frozen chicken over direct heat.

The outside of the chicken will char while the inside will remain raw. In addition to this, always make sure the thin parts of the chicken breast face away from the flame. 

Set up your grill by creating a two-zone fire. Let your natural gas grill preheat for 5-10 minutes. Make sure your grill to a low temperature.

Place the chicken skin-side down if they are skin-on cuts onto the indirect grilling surface. Note, that it may take approximately 30-45 minutes for the chicken to cook, depending on the cut.

Close the grill’s lid and let the chicken cook for 5 minutes, then turn the chicken over and close the dome.

Cook the chicken for another 5 minutes before checking its temperature with a probe thermometer or infrared thermometer.

Move the chicken to the direct zone of the grill and sear it on both sides until it achieves an internal temperature of 165°F.

I cannot tell you how important it is that the chicken thighs have a temperature of 165°F. If the temperature is not at 165°F, the chicken is considered raw. 

Consuming raw chicken could expose you to salmonella poisoning, so make sure you use a thermometer and monitor the chicken’s progress.

Final Thoughts

Grilling frozen chicken is not impossible. But you must cook it properly to avoid exposure to bacteria.

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