How Do You Use a Himalayan Salt Block for Cooking?
A Himalayan salt block, also known as a Himalayan salt plate, is a fantastic alternative method for fast-grilling meats and veggies, or can be use as a cold serving tray for fresh fruit, sushi, cheeses, desserts or ice-cream.
Cooking on a Himalayan salt plate is not very difficult to learn, and can be accomplished with a little education, preparation, and a little bit of patience.
Heating Up the Salt Block
Heating Up the Salt BlockYour Himalayan salt block should be heated up gradually, in increments over a stove. This is to prevent sudden changes in heat which can cause the salt block to crack or break. We are looking for a stable temperature that we can use to cook and even serve our cooked food on.
Step 1: Place the salt block on a gas stove top on low heat for approximately 15 minutes to allow it to warm up.
- If using a barbeque, use indirect heat and place the block away from direct flames.
- If you don’t have a gas stove top, you can place the salt block on a metal baking tray, and then place it in the oven to heat up. This way, you can easily move the salt block using oven mits.
Step 2: Increase the heat setting to medium, and wait for another 15 minutes for the temperature of the salt block to increase.
Step 3: Finally, increase the heat setting to high for at least another 15 minutes.
When is the Salt Block Ready for Cooking?
Using an Infrared Laser ThermometerThe fully heated salt block temperature should be between 425 – 500 degrees Fahrenheit. The best way to determine your salt block temperature is by using an infrared or laser thermometer. If you don’t have one, not to worry.
Alternatively, you can splash a few drops of water onto the salt block. It should sizzle and dry up quickly.
Determining the exact temperature isn’t essential. As long as you have your salt block sitting at high heat, it will retain enough heat to cook your meat, seafood or veggies, and you can then serve the cooked food on the same salt block.
Your salt block will retain it’s heat for at least 20 minutes, even after it’s removed from the heat source.
Safety-Tip (FIRE HAZZARD): Since we are all used to using pots and pans for regular cooking, keep in mind that a salt block has no raised edges to catch oil or food that could potentially spill off the edge. Residue can reach your heat source and will catch fire if your stove is set to high. Make sure to have a fire extinguisher on hand, readily available, to avoid potential disasters.
How to Cook on a Himalayan Salt Block
Cooking methods vary from person to person. It seems the best method to cook meat and veggies is to season your food generously and pre-coat them in some high temperature cooking oil, before placing the item onto the salt block.
“One thing is for certain: Serving a sizzling hot Himalayan salt plate of grilled meats or veggies is fun and exciting, and your guests will definitely be blown away by the presentation.”
Is it Necessary to Season Food Cooked on a Salt Block?
It’s important to note that cooking on a salt block does not impart enough salt into your food (from the salt block) to affect it’s flavour. It’s absolutely necessary to season your meat and veggies, before cooking them on a heated salt block.
How to Keep Food From Sticking to Your Salt Block
Coat or marinate your meat or fish before cooking them on a salt blockDepending on what you’re cooking, different results are achieved especially with the sticking issue. Softer foods, like seafood (salmon fillets) or lean cuts of pork, will have a tendency to stick to your salt block.
Since we are not using a pan or pot to hold liquid oil, the general consensus is to oil your food before placing it onto the heated salt block.
You can use regular vegetable oil or even better, a high temperature cooking oil, such as avocado oil, to prevent the oil from burning.
Another option is to coat your foods or even better, marinate them in an oil-based vinaigrette before cooking them on a salt block.
An Example Vinaigrette for Salt Block Cooking
An oil-based vinaigrette makes all the differenceWisk together:
- 3/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup of balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar, or lemon juice
- 1 tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. black or white pepper
- 1 minced shallot (optional)
- 2 minced garlic cloves (optional)
- minced herbs (cilantro, parsley, basil, or mint) (optional)
- 1 tsp. honey (optional)
Since oil and vinegar don’t mix, you have to whisk or shake all the ingredients in a closed jar to emulsify the mixture, before coating or marinating your meat, fish, or veggies.
Oiling the Heated Salt Block
Himalayan salt block cooking: magicIf you’re cooking lean cuts of meat or seafood, it’s a good idea to give the surface a thin layer of high temperature cooking oil too, before placing your seasoned, oiled food on it to cook. You can use an aerosol spray can of Canola oil or other high temperature cooking oil (such as Avocado oil, or regular olive oil). If you don’t have an aerosol spray can, you can apply vegetable oil using a basting brush (dip the brush in oil, apply to the heated salt block).
Once the block is heated and oiled, carefully add your seasoned and pre-oiled meats, seafood, or veggies directly onto the heated salt block and watch the magic happen. Flip your food every 2 minutes to ensure an even char, and cook to desired doneness.
Pro-Tip: Using a pair of tongs, be sure to stir and/or move/slide your food, ever so slightly (as you would on any other grilling surface), to prevent sticking. Sliding your meat or fish even a few millimetres every few seconds will keep it from sticking, and won’t retard the cooking process.
Your salt block will retain the heated temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, even after it’s removed from the heat source.
Ideal Veggies to Cook on a Salt Block
Salt Block AsparagusSome ideas of veggies you can cook on your salt block (be sure to liberally coat in vinaigrette or oil and seasoning):
- Green Beans
- Brussel sprouts
- Bell Peppers
Ideal Meats to Cook on a Salt Block
Thinly sliced Ribeye steak strips on a salt blockAny fast fry or tender cut of beef, pork, or fish works well (be sure to coat your heated salt block with high temperature cooking oil and also season and coat your meat/fish with cooking oil and/or vinaigrette):
- Ribeye steak
- Striploin/New York Strip steak
- Porkchops (be sure to marinate in oil and vinaigrette and seasoning)
- Salmon, with or without skin (lightly oiled and seasoned)
- scallops (oiled and seasoned)
- Shrimp (coated in oil and vinaigrette, and seasoned)
Cleaning Your Himalayan Salt Block
Himalayan salt, like any salt, dissolves in water. The best way to clean your salt plate after cooking is to use a metal spatula to remove any food, then wipe clean with a damp cloth. Generally, you don’t have to worry about bacterial contamination, because salt is already anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, and is generally sterile if kept clean.
Is it Worth Cooking on a Salt Block?
Opinions vary on whether or not it’s worth cooking on a salt block, as it does require some prep work and patience to heat them up before cooking. Cleanup is also a delicate task.
One thing is for certain: Serving a sizzling hot plate of grilled meats or veggies is fun and exciting, and your guests will definitely be blown away by the presentation.
If you don’t believe me, take a look at the following video clip of some steak fajitas served on a heated Himalayan salt block:
Where Can I Get a Himalayan Salt Block?
You can purchase an authentic Himalayan salt block online:
|Himalayan Salt Crystal Cook Plate, Round, 8 inch (Qty: 2)|
|Himalayan Salt Crystal Cook Plate, Square, 8 inch (Qty: 2)|
We hope you found the information above useful. Leave a comment below, or contact us if you have any questions.