Can You Grill Frozen Sausages? A Quick Guide

The sun is shining, and you’re ready to fire up the grill for a backyard barbecue! Burgers and steaks are prepped, but then you remember you have a pack of sausages in the freezer that you completely forgot to defrost. The question is, can you grill frozen sausages?

Yes, you can, but it’s not as straightforward as it may seem. There are a few important tips and tricks to remember to avoid undercooking or overcooking your sausages. To ensure your sausages are cooked safely and taste great, this article will provide all the information you need on grilling frozen sausages.

Cooking times, food safety considerations, and other important information – it’s all here. So if you’re ready to learn how to grill frozen sausages to perfection, keep reading!

Can You Grill Sausages from Frozen?

Wondering if you can cook frozen sausages on the grill without thawing them out first? The answer is yes, it can be done! But there are a few important things to keep in mind.

Cooking Time

Grilling frozen sausages will take longer than grilling thawed ones. According to the USDA, cooking frozen meats takes roughly 50% more time. So if you usually grill sausages for 10 minutes on each side, it’s best to give them 15 minutes on each side when frozen.

Potential Risks

Grilling frozen sausages can be beneficial when you’re in a rush or don’t have enough time to defrost them. However, there are some risks involved that you should be aware of.

1. Uneven cooking

One of the biggest risks is uneven cooking, where the outside of the sausage can char while the inside remains raw. It’s because grilling involves high heat, which can thaw the sausages and cook them simultaneously.

This can cause the sausages to cook unevenly, so using the indirect grilling method is recommended. This method involves putting the sausages on one side of the grill and turning off the burners directly beneath them, ensuring they cook slowly and evenly until they reach the desired temperature.

2. Foodborne Illness

When it comes to cooking sausage, there is a risk of foodborne illness if the internal temperature is not up to the mark. The USDA recommends all sausages be cooked to an internal temperature of 165°F, no matter the type of meat. This is especially important when cooking from frozen, as the center of the sausage may still be frozen while the outside is already cooked.

To avoid any risk of foodborne illness, use a meat thermometer to check the sausage’s internal temperature before serving.

Best Ways to Defrost Sausages Before Grilling

Before grilling sausages, it’s crucial to defrost them properly to ensure they cook evenly and thoroughly. Defrosting also reduces the risk of foodborne illness, as partially frozen sausages can cook unevenly and harbor harmful bacteria.

Here are three of the best ways to defrost sausages:

1. Defrosting in the Refrigerator

The refrigerator is the way to go when it comes to thawing sausages. Simply place the sausages on a plate or tray and put them in the refrigerator.

It’s important to keep the sausages in their original packaging or in a covered container to prevent cross-contamination. Let the sausages sit in the refrigerator overnight or for 6-8 hours before grilling.

Though it takes the longest time, this method is the safest. It keeps the sausages at a constant temperature, reducing the risk of bacterial growth and ensuring that the sausages cook evenly.

2. Defrosting in Cold Water

If you’re short on time and need to defrost sausages quickly, use the cold water method.

Fill a large bowl or sink with cold water and submerge the sausages in their packaging. Ensure the packaging is airtight to prevent water from entering and compromising the quality of the sausages.

Change the water every 30 minutes to ensure that it stays cold. Defrosting time using the cold water method typically takes 30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the size of the sausages.

Once defrosted, remove the sausages from the packaging and pat them dry before grilling.

3. Defrosting in the Microwave

Defrosting sausages in the microwave is the quickest way but carries the most risk.

Place the sausages on a microwave-safe dish, and then set the defrost setting. The time needed will vary based on your microwave’s wattage and the amount of sausages.

It is best to start with 30 seconds, flip the sausages over, and continue defrosting in 30-second increments until fully thawed.

Once done, take out the sausages from the package and cook them immediately on the grill.

Be aware that improperly defrosting in the microwave can cause foodborne illnesses due to uneven defrosting and undercooked sausages.

Therefore, using the microwave for defrosting in emergencies is better than making it a regular habit.

How to Grill Frozen Sausages

Grilling frozen sausages or hot dogs can be tricky, but it is possible to do it correctly with the right techniques. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to grill them.

1. Preheat the Grill

Start by preheating your grill to medium heat. This step will help you achieve even cooking and prevent the sausages or hot dogs from sticking to the grill.

2. Use Indirect Heat to Thaw

Place the frozen sausages on the cooler side of the grill, away from the direct heat, and close the lid. The indirect heat will help thaw them slowly, ensuring they cook evenly. Depending on their sizes, this step may take approximately 10 to 15 minutes.

3. Move to Direct Heat to Cook

Once thawed, move them to the direct heat side of the grill. This step will give them a crispy and charred exterior, making them more appealing. Cook the sausages for about 1 to 3 minutes, flipping them occasionally until fully cooked.

4. Check the Internal Temperature

To guarantee your sausages or hot dogs are safe to eat, it’s important to use a meat thermometer to ensure they reach the required internal temperature. Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of the sausage or hot dog, and make sure they have reached 165°F.

5. Serve and Enjoy

Once they have reached the desired internal temperature, remove them from the grill and let them rest for a few minutes. This step will help the juices distribute evenly, making them more flavorful. Serve and enjoy!

Additional Tips

  • Avoid overcrowding the grill, as this can lead to uneven cooking.
  • Don’t puncture the sausages or hot dogs, as this can cause the juices to escape, leading to dry and tough meat.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly before and after handling raw meat to prevent cross-contamination.


Grilling sausages or hot dogs from frozen is possible but requires more time and carries potential risks. To ensure that the meat is safe and cooked properly, it is important to defrost the sausages beforehand using the refrigerator or cold water methods.

When grilling frozen sausages, it is essential to use indirect heat to thaw them, followed by direct heat to cook them properly. A meat thermometer must ensure the sausages reach the ideal internal temperature to prevent foodborne illness.

Following these tips and methods, you can cook frozen sausages and hot dogs perfectly for your next cookout. Enjoy your delicious grilled meat with peace of mind!


Do Frozen Sausages Taste Different?

Frozen sausages can taste different than fresh sausages due to the freezing process. The texture may change, and the sausages may become dryer or tougher. However, if frozen and thawed correctly, the taste difference may not be noticeable.

Can You Eat Sausages That Have Been Frozen for 2 Years?

Frozen sausages can last forever, but the USDA recommends eating them within a month or two to get the best quality.

After two years, they may not taste the same due to freezer burn or other quality issues. It’s up to you to decide whether or not to consume them. Take a look and see if they are okay to eat.

Can You Defrost Sausages Twice?

It is not recommended to defrost sausages twice. Repeated thawing and refreezing can cause bacteria to grow and increase the risk of foodborne illnesses.

If you need to defrost sausages in batches, it is best to separate them into portions and defrost only the amount needed for each meal.

Is It Ok to Defrost Sausages in Hot Water?

Defrosting sausages in hot water is not recommended as it can lead to uneven defrosting and the risk of bacteria growth. The safest way to defrost sausages is to use the refrigerator or cold water method.

If you are in a rush, you can use the microwave defrost setting but monitor the sausages carefully to avoid cooking them.

How Long After Defrosting Sausages Should You Cook?

After thawing, you should cook sausages within one or two days post-defrosting if they are ground meat, poultry, or fish. If they are red-meat cuts such as beef, pork, lamb, or veal (roasts, steaks, or chops), they should be cooked within three to five days.

If the sausages are not cooked within the recommended time frame, they should be discarded to prevent any foodborne illnesses. If you’re not planning to cook them within the specified time frame, you can refreeze them, but their quality might be impacted.

Do You Grill Sausage Open or Closed?

Grilling sausages with the lid closed during the initial cooking period is the way to go. This is because it generates a convection effect: the hot air circulates around the food, ensuring it is cooked evenly.

After the sausages are almost done, you can move them to direct heat to bring out a nice char and brown them. Monitor the heat though, and adjust it as needed to avoid burning.

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