Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 10 Old 08-22-2013 Thread Starter
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Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

While on our East coast "tour" we did an overnight in New Brunswick, NJ. We asked the girls tending bar at the hotel where is a good place to dine that's within walking distance. They suggested a restaurant just across the street.

When we walked in we immediately realized this place was WAY out of our price range but before we could turn around, they had us seated. Oh well, screw it! We're on vacation!

On the specials menu was this beef thing where you could cook it at your table. We decided to try it.

Then out comes this brick on a piece of wood and the waiter places it in the middle of the table. Then another waiter comes out with a big plate with a lot of void and the four corners laden with small slices of beef. It didn't look like enough to feed an ant.

Suddenly the chef comes out and tells the waiters to place the brick on the wooded board between us then tells us to take the raw pieces of the select cuts of beef and cook them on the brick.

"It's a Himalayan salt block, heated to 500 degrees." Then he shows us how to season the meat and lays the first cut on the block and it sizzles! When we take the first cut off the block and taste it, it's freakin' amazing! Best tasting beef I've ever had.

Fast forward to visiting our chef friend in CT...

We bought a salt block from the restaurant and brought it to our friend. She took shrimp and tenderloin out of her frig and we tried to duplicate the experience. OMG! It was amazing! All we did was season it with salt and pepper and dab a small pad of butter on it and take it off when cooked. Even she said she had never had shrimp as good as this.

So we got to thinking, how would this be on the liveaboard grill? Or even the weekender's grill? It's almost faultless grilling and perfectly adaptable to the grill. All you need to do is heat is slowly.

BBQ grills on the boat just became even better.
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

I might try this out before I buy the salt block:
http://www.amazon.com/Trader-Joes-Himalayan-Crystals-Grinder/dp/B0078HXBN6

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post #3 of 10 Old 08-22-2013
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

Julie,
How long did it take to get the salt to 500degrees ? I'd think a fair while which may be the drawback ?
Cheers
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

The Himalayan salt block is just AWESOME! Just don't drop anything hard on it. It will fracture quite easily. Yes, I do know this to be fact... Good news is that with a mason drill bit and a couple pieces of allthread everything is working like it should now! Mine is about 3" thick and under normal use will last for years. Wipe it off when done. No worries about bacteria, its salt after all. Best of all, no need to pre-season the shrimp!

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post #5 of 10 Old 08-23-2013
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

Julie,
My father lives near New Brunswick. What was the name of the restaurant and the dish you ordered? That sounds like a good place to get a gift certificate. Maybe with a requirement that he bring me along!

- Jim
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post #6 of 10 Old 08-23-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

It's not the same thing. Our friend had the salt crystals and has used them extensively. But she was blown away with cooking on the salt block.

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Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Julie,
How long did it take to get the salt to 500degrees ? I'd think a fair while which may be the drawback ?
Cheers
Andrew B
We did it over an open burner. I'd say maybe 15-20 minutes to get it hot enough to cook on. The chef at the restaurant said they have their oven going 24-7 and keep the blocks in there but reading about it on the Internet it seems most favor on open flame or heated in the BBQ. You just have to bring it up to temperature slowly (doesn't have to be 500 if you leave it over the heat source) so it doesn't crack.

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Julie,
My father lives near New Brunswick. What was the name of the restaurant and the dish you ordered? That sounds like a good place to get a gift certificate. Maybe with a requirement that he bring me along!
The restaurant was Stage Left. We ordered a four-course (four different types of beef, 2oz @) that included Kobe beef, grass fed beef, corn fed beef and something else. That plate alone was $69 (ouch!) and did not include any sides. We ordered au gratin potatoes as a side and a salad. We split the dishes and it was plenty for us.

This dish was not on the regular menu but I got the impression it was one of their specialties. You could also get 8oz of one type of beef for $49. also served with the salt block. I think it was the Kobe but I can't be sure.

A little primer on salt block cooking...
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

Amazon Prime has them. I'm giving it a try. Sounds very cool.

I've eaten at Salt Bistro at the Ritz-Carton on Amelia Island. Great place. Only recall they served an appetizer on a cold block, this heated method of cooking at the table sounds fun. I wonder if it would be better to heat them in the galley oven? I guess I also need something that will insulate the heat of the block from the table.

I like participatory meals, such as fondue. All share what they find works best with time, combinations, etc. I often will plate a dessert and have squeeze bottles of creme anglaise for guests to decorate their own. Fun to see what everyone does and becomes a conversation piece.

Thanks for the idea, Julie.


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post #8 of 10 Old 08-23-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

The restaurant brought out the heated salt block on a 3/4" piece of oak that was routed out about 1/8" deep in the middle to fit the 8x8x2 block. The wood was warped and charred but ours didn't set the wood on fire. About 3/4 the way through the meal, we asked for a fresh block because ours was losing heat.

At our friend's house, we cooked right on the cooktop and that kept the block hot throughout the meal. She has her cooktop in an island and we just stood around it and ate the food fresh off the salt block. A few days later she invited one of her friends over and we did it again. Her friend just raved about it and couldn't wait to bring the idea back home to her husband.

The blocks are usually 1.5" or 2" thick. If you're going to bring it to the table, I'd buy the 2" thick ones. That monster block the lady had in the video has runs about $90. I ordered (2) 8x8x1.5 for $35 each. I figured that way I could lay them side-by-side on the burner when cooking for more people or I could rotate them if putting the salt block on the table.
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post #9 of 10 Old 09-11-2013 Thread Starter
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

Well, we've been experimenting with our new salt blocks at home. It's been a kinda of a wow-dud experience. Sometimes it's been awesome. But there have been times I was disappointed.

Beef was great, seafood iffy.

Tonight we talked to our friend in CT who is still cooking furiously on the salt block we gave her. She absolutely loves it! And her's is 8"x4" but she's been cooking everything on it.

In our conversation she mentioned you can't put wet food on the block or it comes off too salty.

A "duh!" moment came over me.

She said after she washes shrimp or scallops, she pats them dry before placing them on the salt block. She still swears no seafood restaurant can compete with what she's been able to do at home with this. I have to admit, the seafood we had at her place was amazing!

Another "duh!" moment hit me.

We're 1000 miles from the nearest ocean. How fresh is the seafood we get? "Oh, it's really fresh!" Maybe that's why the beef has been so good but the seafood... not so much.

On another front, I'm beginning to wonder if the grill might really the best place for for heating and cooking on the salt blocks. As long as you can bring it up to temperature slowly, the grill seems perfect. I haven't tried that yet. That's next!

We're having friends from SF coming in next week. Let's see how they react to the salt block cooking. Maybe we'll try the grill.
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Re: Has Anyone Used Salt Block BBQ Cooking?

I haven't broken down and bought a block yet, but keep the updates coming Julie!!! I did buy the gift certificate for my dad; he's supposed to go in a week or two. Thanks again for the recommendation!

- Jim
Home: Western Philly 'burbs
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