Why Don’t Gas Grills Use Lava Rocks Anymore—Burning Question

Gas grills are revered for the instant gratification they provide, but many purists feel that they provide insufficient smoky flavor. In other words, in an attempt to increase the volume, the manufacturers recommended adding a layer of lava rock to the base of the grill. However, in recent years, this activity has been discontinued. If you’ve ever seen one of the older models in action, you might be wondering – why don’t gas grills use lava rock anymore?

History of Lava Stone


Lava rock is an igneous rock, which means it’s created from magma or volcanic lava. Read: why gas grills don’t use lava rock anymore Mama is the term geologists use for lava when it’s still inside a volcano; once it flows to the outside, it is called lava. Technically, however, both terms refer to the same material. Lava rock can be formed from one of two versions, depending on the location of the sample when it was found. But what does this have to do with your gas grill? As you know, baking is all about taste, mainly smoke flavor. Since sparks on gas stoves are not capable of providing this, lava rock was introduced as an innovative solution. This smoke then floats upwards to infuse the meat with a prized authentic flavor. They also have impressive durability, a quality appealing to any tool used in cooking applications. For more information on lava rocks and why they’re used, see Why you need lava rocks for a gas grill, below. full. Many manufacturers even sell lava rock as part of a combo pack.

Why do you need lava stone for gas grill?

Aside from the taste factor, there are several reasons why this practice has become so popular. These are the most popular ones.

Heat retention and distribution

The convenience of gas grills gave them a big boost in the popularity department. However, even their fiercest advocates will admit that when it comes to heat retention, they don’t hold a candle for coal-fueled appliances. Due to the direct heat from the sparks, preparing food on a gas stove can also lead to “hot spots” and generally uneven cooking. As the stones heat up, they trap and reflect the surrounding heat. This allows the cooking chamber to maintain a consistent temperature, so the entire cooking grid is always ready for use. When you add lava rock to a gas grill, you can prepare more ingredients in a shorter amount of time. refer to indirect cooking techniques. This benefit also cuts propane bills.


As we mentioned, lava rocks can last for a long time when they are handled properly. This leads many to believe that they are a good investment, as they do not need to be replaced as often. Unfortunately, there are two sides to this story, as you will find out.

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Grease absorption

Lava rocks are porous, which means their surface is made up of pits and fissures that readily absorb liquids, including fats. When the droplets collide with the rock, they soak into the surface instead of splashing in all directions. In the short term, this prevents the kind of flare-ups that can ruin your dinner and possibly your health. However, in the long run, this quality will produce the opposite result, which is why lava rock is no longer considered a favorable solution.

Why don’t Gas Ovens use lava rocks anymore?

So do you need lava rock for gas cooking applications? Not really. In fact, we advise most professionals not to do so. Read more: why does cat’s breath smell | Top Q&A Having demonstrated how they are forged, lava rocks have great heat resistance. When the hot water droplets touch them, they evaporate instantly, creating an impressive smoke. As we mentioned, ice also has the ability to absorb a lot of this grease, making it easier to clean the grill after each use, however the dripping ice will leave a residue that is almost impossible to clean. cannot be removed. Because lava rock is porous, there is no way to remove all of that fat build-up from the surface. After a while, this buildup attracts harmful bacteria, thereby increasing the risk of food poisoning every time you light up the oven. delicious barbecue. While you want grilled food to smell like smoke, too much fire will burn the food, posing a cancer risk. We should point out that these problems can be avoided if the lava rock is cleaned after each use. However, as we have already shown, some build-up is inevitable, even with frequent washing. That means the rocks will have to be replaced every six months to a year, depending on how often the grill is used.vertical image of gas oven

Alternative solution: Ceramic tile

Briquette is a compact brick of combustible material that can be converted into a unit of energy. They can be made from sawdust, charcoal, or even inorganic materials, as long as they are an efficient source of fuel. In the case of ceramic balls, they’re out of fashion – you guessed it – ceramic dust. The reason kilns prefer ceramic coals over lava rocks is simple: They don’t absorb grease like lava rocks do. That makes them much easier to clean, which should reduce the risk of flare-ups in the long run. Ceramics are also an effective conductor of heat, so you don’t have to worry about hot spots. As a result (and possibly because lava rocks are falling out of favor) they are also more expensive.

How to use ceramic tiles in a gas grill

first. Make sure the grill is clean and free of residue. Wash the cooking grate in hot soapy water and brush the burners clean. Use a stiff bristle brush or spatula to remove grease or carbon build-up.2. Check to make sure that the gas ports are open and not blocked. The heat box must be well ventilated.3. Line the firebox with several sheets of thick aluminum foil. This will help prevent scale build-up on the bottom while increasing heat retention.4. Add a few tablespoons of gravel to the aluminum foil. In addition to aesthetics, gravel will allow the firebox to retain more heat.5. Add ceramic balls. Arrange them evenly, so that all the balls will be evenly spaced on the cooking grid. Don’t stack them too high, or you run the risk of burning your food. Also, don’t let the stack get too low, or the balls won’t be able to do their job properly.6. Turn on the gas grill and close the lid. Heat on high until the cake turns red hot.7. If your grill has a built-in thermometer, use it to check the temperature inside the grill. When it reaches the desired temperature, you are ready to start cooking.

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How to clean ceramic tiles

Ceramic balls are built to last, but they still need proper care and maintenance. If they are not cleaned on a regular basis, they can become damaged. Dirty buns will not distribute heat evenly, which detracts from their primary purpose. Read more: Why is my face oily when I wake up When it’s time to clean the buns, place them on the griddle and set the sparks to low. Close the lid and wait about 15 minutes. If you do this regularly, this step should be enough to remove all dirt and residue. minute. Scrub them with a stiff-bristled brush to remove any remaining dirt. Rinse them and let them air dry before trying to use them again. If you continue to use them after they have expired, they can give your baked goods a strange taste.


Yes, ceramic briquettes can also be found in a variety of flavors, similar to lumps or pellets. When the briquettes are heated, the smoke flavor will be activated. Selections include light woods like apple and pecan, as well as bolder flavors like hickory and mesquite. We recommend avoiding them whenever possible. Instead, use regular ceramic briquettes for their intended purpose, which is to hold and distribute heat throughout your gas grill.

Built-in Ceramic Tile or Stick

These features, which are included on some high-end gas grills, act similarly to lava rocks and briquettes. Depending on the brand, they may be called “Flavorizer Bars”, “Flav-R-Wave” or something similar. Ceramic tiles are equipped with holes or grooves that allow droplets to flow through, thus minimizing outbreaks. These holes also provide enough ventilation to provide even and steady heat to the cooking chamber. If these grills fit your budget, we recommend taking a closer look.

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frequently asked Questions

large piece of grilled meat and vegetables

Was lava rock ever used in a charcoal oven?

The whole idea behind lava rocks is based on gas ovens and is incapable of providing an authentic smoky flavor. Charcoal grills, on the other hand, are considered superior in this regard. Charcoal is also more efficient at distributing and storing heat. Furthermore, charcoal fires must be extinguished—you can’t turn them off with the flip of a switch, the way you can with a gas-powered spark. That means lava rocks will stay hot for a longer time, causing them to decompose faster. It won’t do any harm, but it won’t bring any real benefit either.

How often does lava rock need to be replaced?

If you choose to add lava rocks to your gas stove, they should be replaced every year or so. Remember that this timeframe is only valid if the stone is cleaned regularly.

How do you convert a gas oven to hold lava rock?

To build a gas grill suitable for lava rock, first remove the heat shields or heat shields that originally came with the unit. In their place, install a new grid, one that fits into the designated space. Pour in a layer of lava rock and arrange them so that they are evenly distributed. They should be spaced apart so that they completely cover the burners, but far enough away to allow good airflow. To find the right one, measure your grill in advance.

Can lava rock damage the grill?

Right. The lava rock forms a porous barrier, which does not provide enough protection for the base of the grill. As a result, grease is allowed to deposit along the burners, leading to the eventual case of burner rot. Again, this problem can be minimized with regular maintenance, but it is an issue that should be considered.


Why don’t gas ovens use lava rocks anymore? In short, they are no longer recommended because the long-term risks outweigh their benefits. Ceramic pellets can provide similar results, along with an easier and more efficient maintenance process.

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