Most modern gas grills come from the manufacturer with lava rocks or ceramic briquettes. The rocks collect the heat from the gas jets and distribute it more evenly underneath your cooking surface. If you use lava rocks you will have a much more predictable and even cooking experience, and you’ll be better able to utilize all of your grill’s cooking area.
Keep the Grill Design in Mind
If your grill came with lava rocks, they are the best way to cook with your particular model of gas grill. If your grill didn’t come with lava rocks, however, there are some things you should keep in mind before you add rocks. Some grills aren’t designed to use lava rocks because the rocks would reduce the efficiency of the burners. If your grill didn’t come with lava rocks or ceramic briquettes, it is a good idea to avoid using them when you cook. Lava rocks may constrict the burners, and actually keep the grill from heating properly. These grills don’t need lava rocks to give you the most effective cooking surface. If you would like to switch from ceramic briquettes to lava rocks, however, you shouldn’t experience any problems with that transition.
Cooking with Lava Rocks
When you cook with lava rocks in your gas grill you should never stack the rocks on top of one another. They don’t generate more heat when they’re stacked up, and they conduct the heat from the burners far less effectively that way. Lava rocks are designed to be scattered in a single layer across the top of the gas burners. That allows them to collect the maximum amount of heat, and distribute it evenly across the entire cooking surface. After you finish cooking, a quick and easy way to clean the drippings from the lava rocks is to turn the burner up to high for about five minutes.
Lava Rock Maintenance
If you use lava rocks for grilling regularly, there are a few things you can do to extend their life and effectiveness. You can use high heat to burn away any excess drippings or grease to keep your lava rocks clean. Turn the rocks over every now and then so that the same side is not always facing the burners. If the rocks begin to look old or break apart, replace them right away.