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Salt Rock for Grilling

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What is a Salt Slab?
A salt of pink salt on a metal tray.

A salt block is a slab of pure salt. Himalayan Pink salt is a popular option for a salt rock. Himalayan Pink salt comes from millions-of-years-old crystallized chunks of salt from mines in Pakistan. It's considered the one of the purest of salts in the world and is loaded with health benefits. Himalayan salt is said to contain about 84 minerals, like calcium, chloride, iron and zinc that are reputed good for your health. Grilling on salt slabs will infuse many of these minerals into your food.

How to Choose a Salt Rock for Grilling
Two types of salt rock with food on top.

There are several factors that go into selecting the best salt rock for cooking. Salt slabs come in different sizes, thicknesses and textures. Decide if you want to use your Himalayan Salt Block for cooking or as a serving plate. 

For Grilling, you will need to select a salt slab with these characteristics:

  • At least two inches thick.
  • Consistently translucent; opaque or milky coloration is often an indication that the salt crystals are not densely packed.
  • No visible large cracks or fissures. Any moisture trapped inside the slab will expand while heating or cooling, causing it to pop or crack. 
  • Salt blocks that are opaque or have impurities are still lovely and make excellent plates for serving room temperature or chilled foods.
Tempering Salt Rocks for Grilling
A hand on the surface of a salt slab.

Proper seasoning and tempering a salt block is important in order to avoid cracking, breaking or shattering. Perform this process slowly and carefully before the salt is used for any cooking or grilling. 

  • Place the block on the bottom rack of the oven on the lowest heat setting (around 120 to 170 degrees). 
  • Allow the block to remain at this temperature for about 30 minutes.
  • Increase the temperature of the oven 50 to 75 degrees at a time, allowing the block to remain at each heat setting for roughly 30 minutes before increasing the temperature each time. 
  • Continue the tempering process until your block has reached 550 degrees.
  • Turn off the oven and allow the block to cool slowly. Keep the oven door closed until the block is completely cooled to room temperature.
  • Salt blocks to develop visible cracks while heating.
How to Use a Salt Rock for Grilling
A salt slab with food on top in a oven.

Himalayan salt blocks are perfect for salt block grilling. They are incredibly dense and conduct heat slowly but efficiently. The slab retains heat and seasons food evenly. Slabs can crack if they are heated or chilled too quickly. To ensure success, follow these simple tips for grilling on a salt block.

  • You can use salt rocks in the oven, on an electric burner, on a gas grill, charcoal grills, pellet grills or kettle grills
  • Be sure the block is completely dry before use. The block needs to rest for at least 24 hours after each use. 
  • Heat the block slowly. Placing the block on a hot grill will cause it to crack. 
  • To help regulate the heat on a charcoal grill, use indirect heat to slowly heat the block. 
  • Once the salt slab has reached the perfect temperature, grill or sear your food as you would is cooking directly on the grates.
  • After cooking, leave the salt block on the grill to cool back to room temperature before you remove it. 

Tip: A salt block will retain a hot temperature for longer than you might expect. Be careful when handling a salt block that has been heated.

How to Clean and Care for Salt Rocks for Grilling
A person cleaning a salt rock.

Cleaning and caring for a salt block is easy. It's a low-maintenance, natural plate that requires very little when it comes to cleaning.

  • If food, cooking oil or butter residue is stuck onto the salt when grilling, scrape off any residue with a knife scraper.
  • Rinse quickly in warm water without using soap or any cleaner.
  • Allow the slab to fully dry before you use it again. It needs to rest for 24 hours between uses to ensure it fully dries. 
  • After multiple usage, it's common for the surface of your salt block to develops pits or depressions. Use fine grit sand paper to carefully sand the surface flat. 
  • Even with proper heat tempering, use and care, the salt block will eventually get thinner and smaller. At this point you can break up the remaining salt and grind or shave it onto your food.

A salt slab is fun addition to your grilling arsenal. Visit your local The Home Depot for the latest selection in salt rocks for grilling and all the tools and accessories you will need for a great backyard barbecue.