Many times, you forget to take out the chicken from the freezer and then you realize that you are running out of time to cook dinner. In such cases, you may wonder that can you grill frozen chicken? Does it mean that you just take the chicken out of the freezer, all frozen, and put it out to grill?
Well, as per the guidelines of safety and healthy cooking measures, the CDC says that you can do this. But it has its consequences too.
Can you grill frozen chicken directly, without thawing?
You can, but ideally, you should not!
Some important reasons prevent you from grilling frozen chicken directly without thawing first.
- First off, the cooking time will increase. If you cook chicken in normal circumstances at room temperature, it will usually take around 15 minutes or maybe less to cook perfectly.
- As per the experts, the cooking time will increase by fifty percent which is not ideal, and you would not want that especially if you are trying to cook food as quickly as possible.
- Secondly, cooking frozen chicken without thawing it first will release excess water and that will make the texture of the chicken all rubbery and chewy.
- Also, there are high chances that your chicken may cook from the outside but remain cold or frozen for the insides. That is why it is better if you thaw your chicken first and then put it on a grill to facilitate even cooking.
How to prepare the grill to cook frozen chicken?
Although, as mentioned above, it is not an ideal situation, if you decide to cook your chicken without thawing it first and if you are wondering how you can grill frozen chicken, then all you need to do is to take the following steps:
- First of all, start your grill but be prepared that the cooking time will increase, and the texture will be slightly off.
- Now, once you have started your grill, put the frozen chicken pieces on the indirect heat source. This will give some time for the chicken to defrost on the grill. Otherwise, some areas of the inside of the chicken may remain cold or uncooked even if from the outside, it is all grilled to perfection.
- Now, here is an important thing to remember. Your chicken cooks when its inside temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. But when you put in over indirect heat, its temperature starts increasing and when the inside temperature is between 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit, that is when your chicken is considered to be a danger zone.
This temperature range allows bacteria to invade and if the chicken remains in this danger zone for a longer period, it then becomes a growing hub of that bad bacteria which is unhealthy and unsuitable for your consumption.
So, you have to make sure to keep an eye on the internal temperature of your chicken pieces and put them over direct heat as soon as it reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Don’t let the temperature stall in this danger zone by keeping it over the indirect heat source.
If you have a wood pellet grill, you must not grill frozen chicken on it, because in wood pellet grills, the chances of the chicken remaining in the danger zone are increased. The reason applies to other forms of slow cookers and you must avoid cooking frozen chicken on any such cookers where the cooking is slow and the time in the danger zone increases.
- Another important thing to remember is that you should spread your chicken pieces evenly on the grill so that they are not collected or clumped in one corner. This way, they can even reach 165 degrees of internal temperature without getting all dried out.
For boneless chicken pieces, breasts, tenderloins, etc., you must try to direct their thin ends away from direct flames.
- One popular chicken item that is usually put onto a grill directly from the freezer is chicken However, they take around 90 minutes to cook through and through.
Options of defrosting the chicken first before grilling:
As we have mentioned above, it is preferable that you first defrost or thaw your frozen chicken before grilling it.
There are different options available for defrosting or thawing frozen chicken. Some of them are more preferable over the others, but all of them will help you thaw your chicken before you put it on a grill.
1. Thawing chicken in the fridge:
This method is considered the safest. All you need to do is to take out your frozen chicken from the freezer and keep it in the fridge for 90 minutes to almost around 24 hours. Some people say that you can keep the frozen chicken inside the fridge for 48 hours also, but you must keep an eye on it that it does not start to rot.
Also, it depends on your refrigerator’s inside temperature settings so. Anyway, to be on the safe side, it is better to thaw the chicken inside the fridge for a maximum of one day.
Make sure that your frozen chicken is well covered and sealed in a packet so that no bacteria get proliferate inside the chicken while it is thawing.
Usually, thawing in the fridge is preferable because of the same reason that it does not allow the bacteria to proliferate inside the chicken quickly.
2. Thawing frozen chicken in a water tank:
This is a good option too. Fill a small tank of water. Make sure that your frozen chicken is tightly packed in a sealed bag. Then put your chicken inside the water for 3-4 hours.
You must not try to run hot water over your chicken or fill the tank with hot water too, as that will increase the proliferation of bacteria and will quickly make it unsuitable for consumption.
3. Thawing frozen chicken in a microwave:
This is not the most ideal or the most preferable choice. The reason is that when you defrost the frozen chicken in a microwave, excess water starts escaping. This water is going to ruin the texture of your cooked chicken.
Another thing to remember while using a microwave to thaw frozen chicken is that you must make sure that the temperature of the microwave oven is not very high, otherwise, while defrosting, your chicken will start to cook from some places.
This is not something that you want for your chicken.
So, try to avoid defrosting frozen chicken in a microwave oven unless it is absolutely necessary, or you have some major time constraints.
4. Thawing frozen chicken on a counter-top:
Experts suggest that if you want to thaw your frozen chicken on a counter-top, you must try to sanitize it with an anti-bacterial solution first. This is important because it has been researched that the maximum amount of bacterial proliferation in the chicken begins when it is thawed on an unclean counter-top.
Also, make sure that the chicken is all wrapped up nicely and protectively to avoid bacterial infiltration as much as possible.
So, these are some of the most commonly used methods to defrost the frozen chicken. It is always better to thaw your chicken before putting it on a grill.