Why Don’t Gas Grills Use Lava Rocks Anymore?

Whenever the word “grilling” pops up, the first instance that occurs to everyone’s imagination is smoky food. It will not be an exaggeration to say that smoke is the traditional essence of this form of cooking. From taste to the aroma, from appearance to touch, every element gets enhanced when grilled perfectly. Resultantly, the customary gas grills were designed to involve a bed of lava rocks where the food was supposed to be cooked. When fell onto the rocks, sauces, oils, and other drippings would produce excellent smoke and add yummy flavor. These rocks were truly the foundation of the whole grilling process. But why don’t gas grills use lava rocks anymore?

Are Lava Rocks Still in Use?

It can be quite puzzling to observe that such miraculous rocks no more a part of the barbeque system. The number of people who use this traditional method even now has significantly gone down. If lava rocks were so good, then why have they been discontinued in today’s cooktops? Yes, there were umpteen good points, but after some length of time, they became troublesome. Hence, the need of the hour was to look for a better and more efficient alternative that eventually led to fading away of lava rocks.

Reasons Behind Not Using Lava Rocks in Gas Grills

Any keen foodie or zealous cook would be highly curious to know why gas grills don’t use lava rocks anymore. There have to be some convincing reasons behind this break-off. Also, it is always good to stay informed about the cooking methods to prevent kitchen mistakes and accidents. Read on to add more knowledge about this topic.

Piled Droppings

Yes, people from the other side would argue that lava rocks rather led to vaporization of drippings converted into smoke for food. But this fact is true only in the initial phase. It worked favorably as long as the drippings were thin and less. In such a scenario, the rocks would turn every marination into smoke, making the burgers, pork, steaks, and everything else a lot more flavorsome.

However, with every grilling session, the food leftovers or sauce dribbling became more recurrent. This, in turn, led to a huge pile-up with every round of roasting. Disappointingly, this repetition invited problems, and lava rocks could not handle them. Thicker layers of bread crumbs, oil brushing, stuck meat skin, sauce coating, and other ingredients became difficult to get vaporized. Hence, it started to look like a dense spread of some unwanted material.

Food Poisoning

It is an unsaid and understandable thing that when a utensil or container has residual food, it becomes a home to germs and bacteria. Resultantly, serving or eating meals in such crockery would make every food unfit for consumption. And if such toxic food is eaten, it can further worrisome diseases like acidity, stomach ulcers, throat pain, nausea, and others. And nobody eats food only to fall ill due to infective serving.

The same principle of hygiene applies to using lava rocks in a gas grill as well. When leftovers and drippings begin to accumulate, the grill becomes unsafe for both the food and the foodie. The grill becomes unhealthy due to germs and bacteria being fed on the leftover foods and liquids. Also, the fat buildup can be another consequence that makes the served meal a reason for excess weight gain.

Over Smoking

Another debate between the opponents and proponents would be the smoke factor produced by lava rocks. Undoubtedly, these rocks are appreciated for producing wowing smoke from whatever edible fell on them. The fantastic smoky aroma and flavor from these stones are worth drooling over. But again, the long-term reality of using lava rocks can be appalling on the other side.

Lava rocks are surely fancy and promising for a tasty grilling time, but reality may hit hard later. Food and sauce pile-ups being the primary culprits, can lead to over smoking. It is rightly said that excess of everything is bad. The idea of more smoke may seem to be tempting, but sadly, it is not so. Excess smolders rather lead to charring of food that spoils the taste and texture badly. And bad food is not what people ever wanted.

Chancy Flaring

A lot has been said about safe kitchen practices. It is alarming to know that most fire accidents in the housing colonies are majorly due to unsafe cooking. The number of grilling accidents is shockingly high, according to genuine published stats. Cooks are advised and encouraged to take every precaution while cooking especially grilling. Hence, it is vital to be able to have control of heat while operating gas.

As understood, lava rocks being porous can hinder heat flow. Negligent handling or missing to clean them before and after using can lead to mishaps. Such clogged stones not only affect the heat distribution adversely but can also worsen the scene. Blocked heating for too long can end up as harmful blazing. It can be highly risky to use cluttered lava rocks as they are more prone to sudden flaring.

Easily Dirtied

This point can be very relatable to every tangible thing owned. All new items are easy to maintain, but they turn into a tiring task after a short span. Be it fresh furniture or just-painted house, a kitchen wok or just-bought laptop, and everything looks spotless. Thus, fresh things often require less upkeep. However, everybody knows that after some duration, dust settles down too hard to be removed.

As mentioned earlier, these rocks stopped or became less efficient at converting food drippings into delicious smoke. Grease accumulation sticks rigidly. Dirt set up at unreachable spots. Porous rocks allow easy accumulation of such unwanted, unhealthy elements. Hence, cleaning the gas grill became such a problematic and painful task to do. Their maintenance became unhealthy, tiring, and time-consuming.

Frequent Cleaning

It can be an intriguing example but must be cited here. Brushing teeth and bathing is a routine followed by everyone daily. It is so because everyday exposure to the sun, dirt, dust, pollution, sweating, etc., needs a regular cleaning schedule. Skipping cleansing for too long can be awful and detrimental to one’s health or even surroundings. So, people want easy and affordable ways of cleaning.

The same goes for lava rocks on gas grills. Naturally, something that is getting greased and dirtied so often would need to be cleaned repeatedly. It would be too much to ask for if the owner has to spend half the time grilling and wiping off the lava rocks and the grill impeccably. Also, deposition on the rocks would prevent heat distribution that again calls for frequent scrubbing. It indeed eats the owner’s time a little too much in the longer run.

It can be easy to say that lava rocks can be easily cleaned by boiling or other methods. And when cleaned, all the problems as mentioned above will not arise. But, let’s face it; people nowadays are too busy to dedicate time around the grilling setup. Sometimes they forget to clean and become too casual about taking care of such precautionary things. The problems and accidents might have become so often that sums up why gas grills don’t use lava rocks anymore.

What Are the Benefits of Using Lava Rocks?

There is no denying that people may still admire the conventional way of lava rocks for grilling purposes. After all, the pleasing fragrance, smoky appearance, and succulent taste infused by lava rocks cannot be matched by any other alternative. So, those who still choose to stay in this team may want to know the positive sides. The benefits of using lava rocks on a gas grill are many as follows.

  • Retains Heat - During grilling, it is highly imperative to keep the heat intact for proper cooking. Grills tend to cool down quickly that leaves the food undercooked. Lava rocks can help in heat retention to grill everything perfectly.
  • Reduces Time - The surface area can be expanded by spreading the rocks wisely for grilling. Also, a lot of time gets wasted when the grill keeps on losing heat. Therefore, more time and energy are consumed for reheating. But, lava rocks can eliminate this time wastage and speed up cooking.
  • Enhances Flavor - One of the primary reasons to use lava rocks has always been to add the oomph factor. It is inexplicable how these rocks can add such an irresistible flavour to the whole dish. In addition, perfect grilling can be achieved by using these goodies.

About Lava Rock Grill Converter

After seeing both the up and downsides of using lava rocks for grilling purposes, there was a need to find a balancing technique. The occurrence of related difficulties discussed above led to an urgent desire for a safer substitute. Thanks to the cookware engineers who put plenty of thought and skills into designing lava rock grill converter. Some of the relatable things to know about this concept are as below:

  • The converter may be found online or even at offline stores.
  • It usually comes as a kit containing tools and other apparatus that can help to convert a pre-owned gas grill into a lava rock griller.
  • A person can easily order this converter and fit the same on own.
  • The benefit is that the user does not have to discard the prior cooktop and still enjoy lava rock flavor.
  • Lava rocks are usually included in the kit and do not need extra effort to find them.
  • Around five minutes will be needed to prepare this arrangement once brought home.
  • Buy a kit with the ability and tools much flexible to be used in any of the previously bought grills.

Look for some videos as a tutorial to get more clarification.

How To Place Lava Rocks in a Gas Grill?

Well, those who wish to extract the best benefits of lava rocks would seek a way to accommodate the same in the current gas grill they already have. So, the next point of curiosity would be how to put down lava rocks inside a gas grill. Get excited because it is no rocket science and can be done easily.

  • Buy a high-quality converter kit from a reputed seller.
  • Remember to match the size of the kit with the grill at home.
  • Assemble the metal grate found in the kit as per the manual.
  • Remove the originally-fitted heat tents or other barriers in the setup.
  • Fit the compiled mesh onto the grill precisely and carefully.
  • Please take out the lava rocks and spread them out on the metal grate.
  • Voila! It was this easy to convert a regular gas grill into a lava rock griller.
Keep in mind the right way to lay down the rocks on the burners. They should neither be placed too tight nor too loose. Congested placement traps both the air and the heat, which leads to mishaps; whereas, not covering the burners well will reduce the grilling efficiency.

How To Clean Lava Rock?

It is sufficiently understandable that the basis of all problems related to using lava rocks lies in the fact that they are not cleaned properly. So, it is wise to eliminate the basis and enjoy only the perks of this fantastic grilling technique. Therefore, check the following steps to ensure thorough cleaning of these cooking jewels.

  • It is a recommended practice to immerse the dirtied rocks in warm salty water. Then, leave them there for a couple of hours. If they look and feel better, this method has worked. But if grease or dirt is still there, try another way, as mentioned in the next point.
  • Many users have tried this second option and found success at cleaning lava rocks. First, let the grill cool down. Next, turn over the rocks meaning that the dirty surface is touching the grill. Next, turn on the gas and let the heat melt away any unwanted substances onto the rocks. Repeat if required for other sides.

Barbeque experts say that do not scrub the lava rocks vigorously with the wire brushes. Doing so may ruin the surface and affect the grilling adversely. So, try either of these talked methods to clean lava rocks gently.

How Frequently Should Lava Rocks Be Replaced?

It is incorrect to presume that something as solid-looking as lava rocks can be in use till eternity. Sorry to prick this bubble, but it is a false belief. Rather these natural products are much fragile that have a decent but a fixed shelf life. Every user must know when to change those else worn-out pieces may lead to inefficient grilling and even heat flare-ups.

  • Ideally, a pack of lava rocks should be changed every season. But if grilling is less frequent, the same set can be used for another term. But the maximum duration should not be more than two seasons at any cost.
  • Another indication will be if the rocks have started to break down. If cracks turn up, it is an alarm that they need immediate replacement. Such damaged rocks reveal that it is time to replace them rather than wiping them hard in vain.

Do not put things at risk by overusing lava rocks when they need to be replaced urgently. Clogged pores of lava rocks lead to heat traps and flare-ups. Timely swapping with newer ones would keep up the grilling efficiency and keep away from cooking accidents.

Follow such effortless and indispensable tips to turn down the question of why gas grills don’t use lava rocks anymore.

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