Why Don’t Gas Grills Use Lava Rocks Anymore? Things To Know

For those who are a big fan of BBQ and usually use a gas grill, lava rocks are so familiar. They will hold more heat, supply even heat, and they look cool as well. Having said that, recently, they are no longer widely used in Gas BBQ. So why don’t gas grills use these rocks anymore?

You might be curious about the reasons behind this. No worries! In this article, we’ll make an in-depth discussion about this surprising question and recommend potential substitutes that you could use in place of them. Now let’s check it out.


What Are Lava Rocks?

As the name suggests, a lava rock comes out of the earth when a volcano erupts. They are a kind of extrusive magmatic rock called basalt, which contains many minerals and chemical substances.

These rocks are porous, which means they have a lot of small holes on their surface, so liquid or air can pass through. Gas bubbles in lava or magma flow create gaps on the surface of basalts during the cooling period, which causes porosity.

When they cool, they harden and become very heat resistant. This characteristic makes them an ideal, smokeless supplement to any gas firepit. As a consequence, they can retain and reflect heat from the barbecue grill to cook food. That’s why you could use them to prepare food for your outdoor party.

Why Do People Use Lava Rocks In Gas Grills?

We’ve known what exactly these rocks are and their origin, let’s take a look at why many people used to use them in gas grills.

Without these rocks, if you grill meat on a gas grill, sometimes, you might find the inside of it still undercooked. That’s because the grill takes heat straight from the gas, resulting in an unequal spread of heat across the cooking surface.

In this case, they come into handy. You can use them to make sure that the meat will receive even heat distribution across its surface.

These rocks that are well handled and washed limit the chance of excessive flare-ups. As we have mentioned above, lava stones are porous, allowing the liquid to pass through easily. Consequently, As a result, they can vaporize meat juices, sauces, and other drippings from the meat.

Also, gas grilling does not add the traditional barbeque taste to your cooking. With these rocks, you can get an additional smoky flavor in the food.

Another important benefit is that these rocks facilitate the conservation of gas and the effective cooking of meat. They can ensure steady, uniform heat throughout the grill, require less gas fuel, and make the cooking times faster while still allowing food to grill properly.

Why Don’t Gas Grills Use Lava Rocks Anymore?

Although these rocks are good for BBQ thanks to the great benefits they offer, nowadays, many people no longer use them. So what are the reasons?

Smoky Flavour

One reason for the use of them in grilling is to have a delicious smoky flavor. That sounds amazing. But, keep in mind that this feature is a double-edged sword.

The thermal conductivity of these rocks aids in flavor addition, but it also causes them to become clogged with grease and oil over time. The grease and food drippings will accumulate at a high speed on the rocks until they become totally saturated.

Food Hygiene

If you don’t clean your these rocks properly, it might promote the proliferation of bacteria. So, after each grilling session, remember to clean your lava stones. Otherwise, the grease buildup from the meat juices would contaminate the food, resulting in food poisoning.

Additionally, what matters here is the treatment of them. Once you’ve finished grilling with them, you’ll be irritated by the task of washing them. Cleaning these rocks properly is a time-consuming and intricate job.

Furthermore, we can’t overlook the dangers of using lava stones. These will lead to processed meats that have carcinogenic properties. In the long run, these contaminants can have a negative impact on your health, such as causing cancer.

Chance Of Charred Meat

Flare-ups can be exacerbated by saturated lava rocks. As you know, they maintain heat very well even for an extended period of time. Even so, if you don’t keep an eye on your meat, you’ll end up charring it. This is a common issue that most people experience.

What Can Be Substitutes For Lava Rocks?

As a result of technological advancement, today, it’s not difficult for us to discover a new and effective tool to replace BBQ these rocks. In this article, we’ll recommend ceramic briquettes and Flavorizer bars.

Ceramic Briquettes

A briquette is a mix of combustible bricks made from wood, charcoal, tar, or some other biomass. Briquettes, like lava stones, distribute heat equally and have a variety of other advantages.

Ceramic briquettes are highly recommended gas grill items. They can help in reaching higher temperatures while using less fuel. Because they don’t have small holes on the surface, they are more resistant to flare-ups and you might find cleaning them more effortless.

Flavorizer Bars

Flavorizer bars are v-shaped steel bars that are placed between the grill grates and the burner tubing. They prevent the occurrence of flare-ups by diverting grease and food drippings away from the burner tubes. Flavorizer bars are easier to clean and maintain as they feature a consistent shape.


Why don’t gas grills use lava rocks anymore? After reading this post. We hope that you can find the answer to this question. If you still use them for grilling, bear in mind that cleaning the saturated rocks after each grilling session is important in preventing flare-ups and health hazards.

For substitution, ceramic briquettes and Flavorizer bars are great options. Finally, we’re confident that you can obtain useful information from this article. Thanks for reading! Enjoy your BBQ party!

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