A friend asked me if I've ever heard of grilling on a Himalayan Salt Block. I responded with, "what!?" I had never heard of this. However, after watching a few videos online and reading up on it I bought one. It arrived in 2 days and I grilled some amazing steaks. Check this out.
Enormous salt boulders are harvested from salt mines around the Himalayan Mountains. From these boulders, blocks are carved out and used for grilling and many other things. The use we will enjoy here is grilling. The salt blocks retain heat wonderfully and when they are slowly heated up they turn into a fantastic cooking surface. Since you are cooking your food on a hot plate of salt with some other trace minerals, there is a subtle flavor that is introduced into the food. It's awesome.
I bought my salt plate from Amazon.com at this link.
I've seen a few examples on the web about a salt plate breaking while being heated. I believe this is happening because the block is being heated too quickly. Just like a brand new baking stone (pizza stone), you need to slowly introduce them to heat to remove any internal moisture. The plan I followed was rather easy and only took about an hour. I used my gas grill for this since I didn't want the block to get too hot too fast. I have a 4 burner gas grill. I laid the block on the grill grate above burners 3 and 4. I then did a slow increase in heat by setting the gas burners the following way:
3:00 pm - Place salt block over burners 3 and 4 and turn on burner 2 on high.
3:10 pm - Turn on burner 4 on low.
3:20 pm - Turn on burner 3 on low.
3:30 pm - Turn burner 4 to medium.
3:40 pm - Turn burner 3 to medium.
3:50 pm - Turn burner 4 to high.
4:00 pm - Turn burner 3 to high.
After this process the stone was 358 degrees. I was aiming for somewhere between 350 and 400 degrees F.
If you think about it, 358 degrees is not that hot. But that's ok. My plan was to grill the steaks at this temperature for 15 minutes on each side.
I read that a subtle but rich salt flavor is added to the food so the rub that I used for these steaks was a light drizzle of olive oil and black pepper. That's it.
When you place the steaks on the salt plate you hear SIZZLE. After 15 min I flipped.
After another 15 minutes....
I also spent a few minutes with the sides of the steaks in contact with the salt plate.
I used my Thermapen to check the internal temperature. When the steak was about 140 degrees I pulled them off. This is about a medium/medium rare after a rest.
Yes, I think this was not only fun but it imparted a unique flavor. Considering that I only added oil and black pepper I had a richness added into the steak that certainly came from the salt block. It makes sense because when you touch one of these there is a fine dusting of salt that comes off, so I can easily see how when a steak is sizzling on this salt block for 30 minutes that it takes up some of the flavor. I highly recommend this if you want to try something new.
Of note, I didn't try this on my charcoal grill because I was afraid it would heat up too fast and crack. The gas grill seemed perfect because I could slowly increase the temperature by varying the burners. Also, I did this entire cook with the lid open. I have read that closed grills can cause too much moisture to accumulate leading to a cracked salt plate.
The Himalayan Salt Block supposedly can also be used on an indoor gas range. One other thing I saw was that you can heat up the salt plate and bring it to the table for table side cooking. This could be fun with some sliced steaks being quickly grilled at the table. The stone retains heat for a long time so I think this could work. If anyone does it, please let me know.
The instructions provided by the company where I bought my plate say to wash the block under warm water and lightly scrub with a soft brush to get rid of any stuck food. You are not supposed to submerge the stone in water. I did the light rinse and I used a brush to quickly push off any of the steak leftover and it came mostly clean. Is it perfect? No. But, I'm sure i'll be able to grill on this salt plate again with no problem. When I posted some pictures on Twitter, a lot of people were skeptical and confused. I looked at it this way: the salt plate costs about $25. If you use it 3-4 times you have gotten a pretty good use out of it considering what you put in. I wouldn't expect this block to last a lifetime but it seems quite easy to order another one if something goes wrong.
Give it a shot, I think you will find that this Himalayan Salt Block is a cool new way to grill a fantastic steak.
Disclaimer: I received no compensation for this post but if you buy a salt plate through this affiliate Amazon link I get a small % of Amazon's sale, with no extra cost to you.
Try it out and let me know how it goes.