Our tips for using lava rock for your gas barbecue
Do you have a gas barbecue or an electric barbecue and can’t get that good taste of grilling that you find with charcoal models?
No problem, there is a solution: lava rock. Once deposited in the bottom of your barbecue, these volcanic stones will give off a pleasant aroma of smoke while avoiding toxic fumes.
Let’s discover our advice for using lava stones for a gas barbecue and thus find the braised taste that we love so much in our cooking.
What are lava rocks used for?
The alternative to charcoal
Lava stones are an excellent alternative to charcoal when cooking on a barbecue.
100% natural, they have all the characteristics without the harmful effects that coal can have on health.
Coming from volcanoes, these rocks have a tremendous refractory power to capture heat.
In other words, they can store a large amount of heat and then redistribute it with a lovely aroma giving flavor to your meats.
They also make it possible to offer an excellent uniform cooking.
Ultra-efficient, these volcanic rocks rapidly heat up: it only takes between 10 and 15 minutes to reach their maximum temperature.
A significant thermal advantage!
And if you are used to using ceramic briquettes, these do the same job while having the advantage of being all the same size and format.
Healthy and non-toxic cooking
As their structure is very porous, the lava stones also can collect the fats that flow during the cooking of meat and thus avoid the release of toxic fumes.
Usually, on the charcoal barbecue, these greases fall on the charcoal, which creates a harmful emanation that goes up to the heart of the food.
It is what can cause serious health problems.
These fumes are captured and trapped with volcanic stones, and your burners are well protected.
You can therefore wholly barbecue indoors without the risk of toxic fumes.
And that is a real plus!
How to use lava rock for a gas barbecue?
A modification of the structure of the barbecue is necessary.
At the heart of your barbecue, your lava rocks should sit on a metal grate between the cooking grate (cooking surface) and the burners at the bottom.
Usually, gas barbecues include heating tents to protect the burners.
You will then have to remove them to place the new grid to accommodate your lava stones.
Be careful; by modifying the structure of your barbecue, it will lose its guarantee.
Therefore, it is crucial to think beforehand if this is really what you want to do.
Once you decide on the conversion of your barbecue, it’s child’s play: you will need to get a metal grid and a bag of lava stones.
You can find these different items in specialty stores, such as Rona, Canadian Tire, or Home Depot.
We advise you to keep your heated tents well; they could be used again at the appropriate time.
Finally, if you have a Weber gas barbecue, tinkering will not be necessary: these models are designed with porcelain enamel bars, which act like lava rock.
A real bargain!
The arrangement of volcanic rocks in the barbecue
Once the various elements have been removed from your appliance, you have the space to install your new barbecue grill, made of stainless steel, for better heat capture.
On top, evenly arrange the lava stones.
You have to make sure you leave enough space between them for the air to circulate, but not too much either: the burners must also be well covered to catch the grease and not let the rain pass through.
To make the operation as easy as possible, choose a grill that perfectly matches the dimensions of the frame of your barbecue.
It’s even better if it can rest on the heated tent’s supports.
Once in place, preheat your barbecue for 10 minutes “empty” before placing your food on it until the rocks reach their maximum temperature.
Buy a gas barbecue with lava stones.
If you do not wish to modify the structure of your gas or electric barbecue, know that it is quite possible to choose a bbq or grill specially designed to receive lava rock.
There are models around $1,000, often with an integrated plancha.
If you choose to buy only the stones for your gas or electric barbecue, a refill in a bag of stones costs around $8 to $20.
How to clean lava rocks?
Once your cooking is finished and your guests are satisfied, it’s time to clean the barbecue and lava stones.
As these are porous, it is strictly not recommended to treat them with washing-up liquid or bleach.
These substances could evaporate during the next cooking and end up in your food.
To carry out maintenance, let your barbecue run for 10 minutes after cooking; this allows the stones to free themselves from the grease.
When finished, rub your stones while still warm with clean paper towels to remove the excess on the surface.
Once they are dry, you can always treat them with a pressure washer or simply the water jet of your garden.
Another technique is putting your stones in the dishwasher in a protective net.
The rocks retain the toxic fumes produced by meat fats.
By being used, they can lose effectiveness or even become harmful to health.
They are also given a lifespan of about three years, the date from which they will have to be replaced with new ones.
If you use your barbecue very regularly, it is best to change them after about ten uses.
What you must remember
- Lava rock produces the same smoky taste like charcoal, without the ill effects of toxic fumes emanation. It is therefore great for electric or gas barbecues;
- It is the best alternative, with ceramic briquettes, for healthy and non-toxic outdoor cooking;
- Cooking with lava rock will require either making simple modifications to your barbecue or investing in a lava rock barbecue grill;
- Maintenance is simple: a wipe with a paper towel on the still-warm rocks, and you’re done! Remember to change them regularly.
The taste of the barbecue with volcanic stone has nothing to envy its cousin, the charcoal barbecue. You enjoy a delicious smoky flavor without the drawbacks of toxic fumes. Everything for a good outdoor meal!