Can You Smoke Frozen Meats?

Can You Smoke Frozen Meat

This content contains affiliate links.  If you make a purchase after clicking a link on this page, we might receive a commission at no cost to you.

Firing up smoker grills is my favorite way to infuse incredible flavor into meat and other foods. Thanks to some smart tips, it’s actually possible to smoke items directly from the freezer with delicious results! The key is making sure the insides properly thaw and cook through.

For thicker smoker grill recipes like roasts or whole birds, I like to defrost until just the very center stays ice cold before popping onto the racks. Steaks, chops, and other quick-cooking cuts do best completely thawed out first. This helps ensure even smoking and temperatures all the way through.

With the right prep, smoking semi-frozen foods on your trusty grill opens up lots of possibilities! Just imagine batches of frozen chili or homemade ravioli transformed into smoky goodness. Keeping a stash of frozen raw ingredients on hand makes throwing together awesome smoked creations so fast and easy.

No matter what you’re firing up on the grill, always closely monitor the internal temperature and doneness. As long as you stick to USDA food safety guidelines, smoking partially or fully frozen delights can take your backyard barbecue skills to the next level! I’d love to hear your ideas for frozen foods to smoke. Getting creative with recipes is half the fun!


Which Frozen Meats Can You Smoke?

Generally speaking, the smaller the product, the easier and faster it will thaw within the smoker.

You should be cautious about smoking large cuts of frozen meat at lower temperatures because these will be prone to a lot of time in the USDA Danger Zone.

Essentially, when meat is between 40-140ºF it is a prime environment for rapid bacteria growth. Since frozen meat takes longer to get up to temperature, it will naturally spend more time in this range.

So with that in mind, a partially frozen chicken is much safer to smoke frozen than a whole, completely frozen brisket.

Can I Smoke a Frozen Chicken?

Similarly to any other form of meat, chicken is incredibly easy to store inside your freezer. It doesn’t take chicken too long to thaw and thus, you can smoke them from frozen if necessary.

It is recommended that you thaw your chicken for approximately at least hour. You can do this by placing it in cold water. You should smoke your chicken from 30 minutes to a couple of hours depending on the size of the chicken thighs/breast/pieces.

How to Defrost Chicken In a Hurry

How Can I Defrost Chicken In A Hurry

You can defrost chicken in a hurry by placing it in frigid water. This allows the thawing process to take place while ensuring that the temperature of the meat doesn’t rise above 40 degrees for a long period of time.

You should ensure that your chicken is based in a plastic bag or a zip lock bag prior to placing it into the water. 

Chicken wings are safer to smoke than other forms of chicken due to their size. However, be aware that wings thaw quickly in cold water.

Can I Smoke Frozen Turkey?

It isn’t recommended that you smoke an entire frozen turkey or chicken. This is because it will spend a lengthy period of time in the USDA Danger Zone.

Once again, it’s ideal to thaw a completely frozen turkey under cold water for at least an hour before placing it on the smoker.

Can I Smoke Frozen Brisket?

Similarly to other cuts, a brisket will take a lengthy period of time to smoke. Because of this, we would not recommend smoking a frozen brisket.

Not only is it potentially unsafe, it’s going to be an extremely lengthy cooking process and hard to get right.

We’d recommend thawing your brisket in the fridge overnight and giving it a go the next day.

Can I Smoke Frozen Pork Shoulder?

Smoking a hunk of frozen meat like a pork shoulder is not the best idea as the meat will become tough and dry. Alongside all other large cuts of meat, you risk eating dangerous bacteria if you cook it from frozen. 

Can I Smoke Frozen Ribs?

For this one, it depends on which type of ribs we are talking about.

Yes, it’s possible to smoke frozen pork ribs – they are relatively thin and will get up to temperature on the smoker quickly enough.

Beef back ribs on the other hand are probably not a good idea to smoke frozen and would need to be thawed. These are typically a couple of inches thick and would take too much time to get out of the Danger Zone.

Can I Smoke Frozen Sausage?

Yes, it is entirely possible to smoke frozen sausage as each link is not particularly large. This means that it will smoke quicker and thus, you are less likely to cultivate harmful bacteria.

However, you should ensure that you thaw the sausages first and bear in mind that the thawing process will be relatively quick with a smaller cut of meat. 

To conclude, while it is not recommended to smoke frozen meat, it is entirely possible.

As long as you are smoking smaller portions of meat that have been thoroughly thawed prior to cooking, you will still be able to experience the wonderful flavor of smoked meats.

You should also ensure that any meat has been marinated prior to freezing in order to obtain an extra smoky taste when cooked.

It is not recommended that you smoke larger chunks of meat like whole turkeys or chicken as the meat will be allowed to rest at a dangerous temperature for far too long during the smoking process. 

Can You Smoke Partially Frozen Meat?

Yes, it is entirely possible to smoke semi-frozen meat. However, similarly to smoking wholly frozen meat, you should bear in mind that the meat should spend minimal time between 40-140ºF.

Can I Smoke Meat If It Has Been Thawed?

Yes, you can absolutely smoke meat after it has thawed! While it is always preferable to smoke fresh food due to the moisture that is lost from the meat when thawing, you can still smoke frozen meat to a high standard.

Buying meat fresh from your local store doesn’t necessarily indicate that the meat has never been frozen as many processing plants will freeze their meat to allow for small crystals to form within the fibers of the meat itself.