You might have had a hard day at work or a long day that consisted of several loads of laundry. Your search for easy dinner options has led to nothing appealing.
If you are thinking about what to cook for dinner and thinking of using that frozen chicken in the freezer, this guide is for you.
You can cook frozen chicken on the grill, but it should come second to some careful steps that can help you avoid a trip to the hospital.
Since chicken cooks relatively fast, frozen chicken can be a great (easy and quick) addition to the dinner table.
But, is cooking frozen chicken on the grill a good idea?
Frozen Chicken on the Grill
You can grill frozen chicken by directly placing it on the grill and cranking up the heat. However, this might mean you are gambling with your health, as risking the consumption of raw chicken isn’t the best idea.
Choose a vegan option for your dinner if you are short on time or order from a restaurant nearby.
It is recommended you grill frozen chicken only if you have no other option left! This is because frozen chicken takes a long time to thaw and an even longer time to cook if frozen.
If you wish to use your frozen chicken, it is best to invest some time and energy into the thawing process. Since it will take a long time to cook, it is best to err on the side of caution and thaw it first.
This won’t take away from any of the time you were hoping to save.
Grilling frozen chicken can lead to a rubbery texture, undercooked meat, and a bad aftertaste. Since undercooked meat can cause salmonella poisoning, it is best to avoid the option (1).
Cook your chicken and test it using a food thermometer before consumption.
Poke the thickest part of the meat with the thermometer. Your chicken needs to have an internal temperature reading of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
A great way to cook frozen chicken on the grill is to thaw it first. However, it needs to be stored well to thaw properly. Better storage can also prevent the chicken from going bad.
Spoiled chicken can also lead to avoidable diseases. You need proper freezing techniques that can help your chicken last much longer.
1. Storing Your Frozen Chicken
According to the USDA, it is important to freeze the chicken to consume it in the future (2). This involves proper procedures without which the chicken might get spoiled.
You might not be able to consume all the chicken you cooked in one meal.
You may not even be able to use most of your chicken when you are cooking. This raises the question of proper storage techniques. Luckily, you can store your chicken in the freezer for future consumption.
You must store your chicken in the freezer using Ziploc bags and airtight containers. This allows the chicken to stay free of contamination from the external environment.
It also avoids cross-contamination.
Keeping the raw chicken in the fridge on the bottom shelf is essential. If the chicken remains in its original packaging, you don’t need to wrap it in a Ziploc bag.
Check the package for broken seals and designate an area of the fridge for your chicken. It is crucial to isolate raw chicken to avoid cross-contamination.
You must maintain an internal temperature of 32 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit inside your fridge (3). This can eliminate bacteria and allow food to stay fresh for longer.
- Ensure that you add the use-by date to the chicken before storing it in your freezer.
- Practice proper thawing techniques before using your chicken. Alternatively, you can also add it to the fridge overnight.
- Look for white spots or a strange odor to check if the chicken has spoiled. Ensure that you cook the chicken through and through before consuming it.
Thawing is key to safe and delicious chicken. Here are some general rules you should follow for thawing your frozen chicken;
2. Thawing Your Frozen Chicken
According to the USDA, it is dangerous to grill your frozen chicken without thawing it (4). Following proper thawing techniques can lead to a better experience.
You can thaw your chicken in a refrigerator, on the counter, using cold water, the microwave, or a defrosting tray.
Thaw the chicken before adding it to the grill. Understand that chicken needs to be thawed a few hours in advance, making it safer to eat than chicken added to the grill immediately after being thawed.
Go through the thawing methods below and pick one according to your frozen chicken size;
A) The Easy Refrigerator Thawing
The easiest and safest method for thawing frozen chicken is to slowly defrost it in the refrigerator.
This gives the chicken time to thaw and increases the time between thawing and grilling. Yet, this method is not for people looking for quicker methods, as it takes 12-24 hours to thaw chicken through this method.
B) The Quick Yet Cumbersome Counter Thawing
It might be best to thaw your chicken on the counter before grilling it.
This is best for times when you need your chicken thawed immediately. However, even this method takes some time. Chicken might take up to 4 hours to thaw.
All you need to do is place your frozen chicken on some paper towels and leave it on the counter. Ensure that the space is large enough to avoid spillage.
C) An Unpopular Method
Contrary to popular belief, thawing chicken in hot water isn’t the best solution. Cool water thawing is much safer and quicker. It takes 2-3 hours and requires a plastic bag, a bowl, and cold water.
Add the chicken to the plastic back and ensure it is sealed to avoid leaks. Prepare a bowl with cold water (use ice cubes if necessary). Direct contact with cold water can damage your chicken, so be very careful when submerging the chicken in the water.
Change the water if needed or keep adding ice cubes.
D) The Easy Microwave Solution
Microwaves can easily defrost your food. They have a defrost setting that can work on the chicken. Ensure that the microwave is placed on the lowest setting as higher temperatures can start to cook the chicken, defeating the purpose of thawing it.
Chicken can be defrosted in around 4 minutes through the microwave. Keep moving the chicken and checking it for burns.
E) The Defrost Tray
This might be a more expensive investment considering you don’t need to use the tray all the time. A defrost tray is built with aluminum which can warm up the chicken by sucking out the cold.
Defrost trays don’t require energy and are cleaner as they collect spillage, which can be disposed of in the future.
3. Grilling the Frozen Chicken
Here’s the final step of the process.
You need to grill your chicken well to avoid raw meat and to experience that flavorful dinner you deserve.
A) Prepare the Grill
You must pre-heat your grill for at least 5 minutes before adding anything to it.
Without a pre-heated grill, the chicken thighs won’t get a proper sear and might not cook through. Brush the grill with some oil before adding the chicken on top.
B) Keep the Heat Low
Once you add your chicken to the grill, lower the heat.
It is important to cook the chicken on a lower heat so it cooks through. High heat can cook the outside of the chicken, leaving the insides raw. You can cook your chicken on two flames through indirect heat.
Attempt to thaw it further before adding direct heat to it.
C) Add a Lid
You can add a lid on top of the chicken so it can cook on medium heat.
The water will eventually evaporate, which cooks it faster. Don’t remove the chicken off the grill until it’s cooked through. You can use a food thermometer to check the internal temperature of the chicken.
Tips for Frozen Chicken on the Grill
- It is important to cook your chicken throughout to avoid consuming raw chicken.
- Try to give your chicken enough time on the grill before you add it to your dinner plate.
- Use a good-quality grill and slowly crank up the heat to encourage thawing.
- Don’t add frozen chicken directly to the grill.
Chicken can be a great addition to the dinner table.
All you need is a few tips to turn your frozen chicken into a feast for the whole family. Thaw your chicken and store it properly to avoid losing a good piece of chicken.
Grill it well and ensure it is cooked through before serving it to your family.