Dear Doctor. Blonz: Is it acceptable to cook frozen chicken breasts directly on the grill without thawing them? My brother cooks them on a hot grill for about 15 minutes, rotating frequently. He believes the meat will stay moister than if he started with thawed pieces.
I ate his grilled chicken which was cooked well enough and quite moist. But is that a safe method? – SC, Chicago
Dear SC: This method saves you the time it takes for the poultry to defrost; Apart from that, I don’t see the advantage. The freezer-to-grill approach would need to be done with care to tread the line between an overcooked, leathery outside and an undercooked center. The thicker the piece of meat, the smaller the gap between these extremes.
It takes time for the grill’s temperature to penetrate the meat, which happens even more slowly when it’s frozen. A grill that allows indirect heat grilling may allow more time for this process. Timing is critical in most cooking processes, but constant attention and a quick hand with the pinball machine will be the name of this game.
There are, of course, other methods of keeping chickens moist. Marinating before cooking can keep the meat moist and flavorful, and it can also speed up the thawing time. Watering while cooking can also help.
Regardless of your choice, be sure to check the meat before you eat it and cut through the thickest part of the largest pieces. Undercooked chicken has a translucent appearance and a rubbery texture.