How to Grill on a Salt Block
I am a charcoal guy, but if you prefer gas grill cooking the steps are even more simple.
- Start some charcoal briquets or lump charcoal in your preferred method—for me, that is a chimney starter with some crumpled up newspaper as fuel
- Once the coals are glowing in the starter, spread them across one side of your grill—I like to also add some fresh, unburned coal to the other side of the grill (to be used later), and then place the grill grate on as normal
- Place the salt block over the cooler side of the grill to heat indirectly for 15-20 minutes, sliding the block around on the grill grate once or twice to reposition it so it preheats uniformly indirectly
- Use a set of BBQ tongs to mix the hot and unburned coals together and spread them uniformly under the salt block—heat the block directly for 15-20 minutes, as the extra unburned coals become fresh fuel to extend the burn—for a gas grill, the above four steps are replaced by simply lighting the grill and gradually turning up the intensity of the burners over those same 35-40 minutes
- Test the salt block by sprinkling water on the top of it—it should sizzle quickly away if the block is up to 400-500F, and at that temperature it is hot enough for cooking
- Simply place the item to be cooked on top of the very hot salt block and listen for the sizzle and sear, locking in the juices and flavors after imparting a salty, mineral-filled flavor to the item being cooked
- Cook the item for half the time you would use for “normal” direct grilling on that first side, and then flip the item over and continue cooking on the second side to your desired temperature or degree of doneness
- For grilled cheese, plan on about 3-4 minutes per side and tent with foil to melt the cheese
- For thick burgers, plan on about 6 minutes per side
- For grilled oysters, start with fresh oysters still in the shell directly over the coals, and shuck when they open, fill with desired sauce and finish on the half shell on top of the salt block
- For shrimp and vegetables, use the color change as the food cooks to judge when to flip and take off the salt block
- When done cooking, cover the grill and allow everything including the salt block to cool down (overnight) until it is cool enough to touch—
- I clean mine by gently scraping with a wide blade scraping tool and then dry-brushing with a wide grill brush
- Then just put it away until next use, as the salt will naturally prevent any bacteria or anything else from growing on it—and think of any remaining stains or discoloration as you would a seasoned cast-iron skillet (and always cook on the same side of the block in the future).