I’ve had this happen to me a few times now. I plan on grilling Sweet or Hot Italian Sausages for dinner and when the time comes to start grilling I realize I forgot to thaw the Sausages. So naturally I’ve learned how to grill them while there still frozen.
The trick to grilling Sausages while its still frozen is to start cooking them over indirect heat first then move them to direct heat after they have started to thaw. Grilling it this way will let the inside start to thaw and cook with out burning the outside.
Now that you have the basic idea lets break it down in to more detail. This way you can still have great sausages for dinner and not under cook or burned ones.
Grilling Frozen Sausages
Step 1 Make cooking Zones
Before you put your frozen sausages on the grill your going to need to make two cooking zones. First is going to be your indirect heat zone. Second will be your direct heat.
To do this on a charcoal grill your going to need to put all your hot charcoals on one side of the grill. Or all to the front or back of the grill. All you really need is a area of the cooking grates to not have charcoal under it.
If you would like to learn more about making cooking zones on a charcoal grill. Then you should read my article How to Cook with Indirect Heat on a Charcoal Grill.
If your using a gas grill then all you need to do is leave one or two of the burners off. Some times people like to turn them on to heat up the cooking grates then turn them back off after your grill is up to temperature.
It’s up to you if you want to preheat the cooking greats I normally don’t. But you do want to let the grill preheat to around 400F before putting your sausage on the grill.
Step 2 Thaw on Indirect Heat.
Now that you have your zones established and the grill preheated it’s time to put the sausages on the grill. It’s a good idea to brush a little cooking oil on your cooking greats before placing any food on them.
This will help to keep it from sticking to the grates and save you the headache of fighting the food off of the grate later. Place the sausages in the indirect heat cooking zone and close the lid.
Wait about 10 minutes and then open the lid and flip everything over. After you’ve flipped everything close the lid and wait another 10 minutes before opening the lid to move everything to the direct heat cooking zone.
It’s importin to keep the lid closed while your thawing the sausages on the indirect heat zone. You want to trap the heat in the grill so that it can thaw the sausages for you.
Step 3 Finish Cooking with Direct Heat
Now that you’ve started thawing everything with indirect heat it’s time to finish cooking it with direct heat. It’s a good idea to once again brush a little oil on the grates in the direct heat zone before you move the sausages onto them.
After you’ve oiled the cooking grates move the sausages to the direct heat cooking zone and let them finish cooking. Now you should be able to cook them as you normally would have.
Remember it’s always a good idea to check the internal temperature before you take them off the grill. Other wise they might not be cooked all the way through.
Your looking for a internal temperature of at least 160F (71C) for it to be safe to eat.
Why Start with Indirect Heat
If your were to try to just cook frozen sausages on the grill without starting them on indirect heat then your going to burn the outside long before the inside has time to cook.
For most of what your going to be cooking on the grill you need time to let the internal temperature come up. Other wise it won’t be safe to eat.
When you put any frozen meat on direct heat on a grill the outside will start to cook right away. While it’s still frozen on the inside. So it’s going to start cooking, and be done cooking, on the outside before the inside has a chance to even start cooking.
That’s why you should start with indirect most of the time. If your going to try to cook a steak while it’s still frozen then your going to do it the other way around.
Your going to want to start with direct heat and them move it to indirect heat. You can learn all about it in my article How to Take a Steak from Frozen to Done Without Thawing It.
Ways to Thaw Frozen Meats
It’s always best to thaw anything before grilling it. There’s a few quick ways you can do this. I prefer to use running water to quickly thaw just about anything. Here’s a few different ways to thaw frozen meats.
Thawing in the Refrigerator
If you plan your meals for the week this is the best way to thaw any frozen meats. Just place the meats your planning on using in your refrigerator at least a day before you plan on cooking them.
Normally I’ll put all the meats I plan on using throughout the week in my refrigerator on Sunday. The thicker the piece of meat is the longer it’s going to take to thaw.
This is the best way because the meat is going to thaw slowly. There’s no risk of it getting too to high of a temperature and bacteria ruining it before you use it.
Make sure you put everything on a plate or a tray incase any of the juices drip out of the packaging. Other wise you could end up with a big mess in your refrigerator.
But if you forgot to thaw something and your in a hurry this isn’t going to be the way to go. You wanted grilled sweet and hot Italian sausages to night not tomorrow.
Open Air Thawing
A faster way to thaw something is to let it sit out on your counter at room temperature. Thawing foods this way is faster but you need to make sure you don’t leave them out for to long or your run the risk of bacteria growing and ruining your food.
But once again its going to be hours before it’s fully thawed so if your looking to cook now it’s not going to work. Also if your like me no ones home during the day besides the cat and dog.
Leaving food on the counter isn’t a good idea when you have animals in the house alone. It’s not going to be there when you get home. I have found away around this for when I need to do it.
If I’m going to let food sit out to thaw I put it inside my microwave or oven. Don’t turn them on just put it in there to hide it from the animals so they don’t eat it on you.
Again make sure you put something under it to catch anything that might leak out of the packaging.
This is my preferred way of thawing food in a hurry. First you need to clean out your sink then put what your trying to thaw in the sink and let room temperature water run over it.
Even water that’s colder to the touch will thaw food as long as it’s flowing. The flowing water will thaw much faster then still water will. Let the water run over for 15 to 20 minutes.
Turn the food over every so often so the water hits all the sides. This will help speed the thawing along. I like to go outside and get my grill ready while the foods thawing.
If you stand there and watch it it’s going to feel like it’s taking forever to thaw. So it’s best to go and start preheating the grill and give the cooking grates a quick cleaning.
Thawing in a Microwave
So I’m sure you’ve been wondering why I didn’t just say thaw it in the microwave. That’s because thawing meats in a microwave tends to dry them out.
In that case you mine as well use indirect heat on your grill to thaw and cook your frozen meats. At least then your some what in control.
Best Instant Read Thermometer
Here’s a list of the best instant read thermometer I’ve used. This way you don’t get over or under cooked food.
Inkbird Waterproof Instant Read Thermometer IHT-1P
This ultra fast thermometer responds in 3-5 Seconds. It also locks the readout when probe is removed from the meat. This thermometer is highly calibrated and is accurate to ± 1℃/±2℉. It’s temperature range is -58℉ to 572℉ (-50℃ to 300℃). It will keep it’s high precision even after a long period of using.
The 250mAH rechargeable lithium battery of this digital thermometer last up to 11 hours with backlight once fully charged. Another amazing design is magnets that make the cooking thermometer easily stuck to the oven or refrigerator securely when not being used.
This food thermometer can be washed by running water directly on it without fear. The 180 degree foldaway probe design and the internal magnets make storage easy and convenient.
Deiss PRO Digital Meat Thermometer
This digital meat thermometer is manufactured with sturdy ABS plastic. It will not weaken with time, even if you accidentally drop it. It also features a LCD backlight display, auto switch-off which increases battery life and a button to switch between ºC and ºF.
This digital thermometer features a long 4.5 inch probe which’s is 180 degrees foldable. It lets you measure the temperatures safely from a distance.
It’s IP67 certification allows you to fearlessly wash it under tap water. It comes with a built in magnet and a hook for convenient storage.
This device determines the temperature in 2 to 3 seconds. It can precisely measure the temperature from -58°F to 572°F range. It’s memory functionality will come in handy to observe the past minimum and maximum temperatures.
Fenvella Meat Thermometer
This instant read thermometer comes already calibrated but gives you the option to recalibrate it yourself. It will give you a reading in 3-4 seconds. The 1.7mm diameter needle tip is easy to insert into food and is accurate to ±1 degree.
The range of this thermometer is 58℉(14℃) to 573℉(300℃). This cooking thermometer probe tapers up to 3.5mm in diameter and it can rotate 180° to support accurate and safe temperature measurements.
This grill thermometer comes with a bright LED screen that makes it easy to read at night. The IP67 rated waterproof design means it can be washed under running water. It’s 3 minutes auto-off design is perfect for saving battery life and its handle was even designed with a bottle opener in it.
This thermometer is made of heat-resistant and sturdy ABS plastic. The probe is made from 304 stainless steel. The thermometer can withstand accidental drops or other impacts.
With it’s big hanging hole and internal magnet you can hang it on a hook or attach it to the refrigerator.
Alpha Grillers Instant Read Meat Thermometer
Hold this food thermometer in any orientation and the screen will flip around so you can read it easily. As soon as you flip out the probe, readings are quickly displayed in 2 to 3 seconds on the large display. Battery and instructions included in the box.
Accurate to +/-1 degrees with a total range of -58℉-572℉. Comes pre-calibrated for your convenience, but you can recalibrate it easily if needed with the simple calibration feature.
It’s large display is brightly backlit with blue number so you can always read the temperature, whether you are grilling in the dark or baking in your brightly lit kitchen. IP67 rating lets you wash it under running water.
As Always, Happy Grilling!