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It is Slow Good: Grilling Steak on a Salt Block

If I could only eat one type of meat for the rest of my life, I think it would have to be steak. For one thing, there are a variety of great cuts; from top sirloin all the way down to round, tasty meals can be prepared at a variety of price points.

For another, steak can be as simple as you want it to be. You certainly can try all manners of difficult preparations, but a perfectly cooked medium grade cut of steak tastes great to me every time.

The final thing I love about steak is the various cooking methods available. For years, I have been grilling full cuts straight on the grate, grilling up shish kebabs or searing steak on the stove top when the weather has been uncooperative.

Only recently though did I find a new, delicious way to cook my steak: grilling it on a Himalayan salt block. Let’s go through the steps.

Preparing the Grill

As I’m sure you have already discerned by the title of this article, using a salt block to grill steak requires a little time and patience. Trust me though, it is worth it in the end. The reason it is time consuming is the nature of the salt block. Steak cooks best when the salt block is very hot.

The tricky thing is the block must be heated slowly in order to avoid cracking the salt and ruining the block. To do this on a charcoal grill, make sure you have plenty of coals, but place them all on one half of the grill. Light the coals, then put the grate down and the block on the grate on the side opposite of the coals as soon as the coals are lit but the flames start dying down. This way, the salt can heat gradually along with the coals.

The other thing to always remember is that if it is not a new block, the salt should always have the same side facing up when in use. This prolongs the life of the salt block. It should look similar to this:

Coals go on one side of the grill

The just lit coals go on one side of the grill with the block on the other for proper heating.

Close the cover with the vent open. Up to an hour is required to get the block to full temperature, so crack open a beer or your beverage of choice and enjoy your deck or patio while you wait. The procedure with a propane grill is similar. Just heat one side or have the heat on low and allow the block to heat slowly.

Monitor the Block and Add Other Items to the Grill as Necessary

One great perk of using the salt block on the grill is that it frees up open grate space right above the open coals. Tonight, my wife decided she was craving bratwurst, so this grill set up made it easy to put on her brats on. It also gave us time to slice up some yellow onion and orange bell pepper, put it in foil with some oil, salt and pepper and put that on the grill as well to use as a topping for her dogs:

Wait for the salt block to get up to temperature

While you wait for the block to get up to temperature, some sides and/or other meats can be put directly on the grill over the hot coals.

Her meal cooked as I waited for the salt block to get up to temperature, so the time I had to wait wasn’t solely used for beverage consumption. This also gave me a chance to check the block. From experience and research, I knew it would not be ready yet (this picture was taken about 30 minutes after the salt block went on). Still, it is a good chance to double check that the coals are going strong and the block is heating properly. As you can see, the block has darkened since the first picture, which is indicative of increased temperature.

Put the Steak on the Block

Finally, after about an hour or so, the steak can be put onto the salt stone. You may have noticed I never mentioned preparing the meat in any way before this step. That is because it is simply unnecessary. The salt will naturally season the meat beautifully. A good cut of meat and the salt block is all you need. It’s the lazy griller’s dream! On this occasion, I chose to grill a boneless New York Strip:

A New York Strip cooking on a salt block.

A New York Strip cooking on a Himalayan salt block.

The good news is, even though the cooking just started, you are almost finished! A medium rare New York Strip steak only takes 4-5 minutes per side (give or take) on a fully-heated salt block. Cooking times of course vary depending on cut of meat, thickness and heat of the salt block. Some thin cuts of steak can take as little as two minutes or less per side! Here is what my steak looked like after flipping it:

The second side of the steak cooking

The second side of the New York Strip cooking

After another four minutes or so, my steak was ready! That means all that was left was…

Enjoy Your Meal and Clean Up

That is really all there is to it. Once the steak is done, simply remove it from the salt block, plate it and enjoy! If you still have more meat to cook, the good news is that the salt block is amazing at heat retention, meaning you can keep cooking on it for a while even after the coals are out. Tonight though, I was done. Here is how the New York Strip looked:

Medium rare New York Strip

Patience is rewarded with a medium rare New York Strip

My plating skills leave a lot to be desired, but the steak was excellent. As with any meal, the best part is eating it. The worst part is cleaning up afterwards. Fortunately, cleaning a salt block is a breeze. The one very important fact to remember is that the salt block will stay very hot for a long time. Give it plenty of time to cool off, then give it even more just in case.

Once you know it is cool, remove it from the grill and wipe it clean with a damp paper towel or sponge. That’s it! It may seem unsanitary at first blush, but the antimicrobial properties of the salt ensure that the minimal care is more than sufficient.

So there you have it. A Himalayan salt block offers an exciting way to cook and old favorite. Do yourself a favor and add New York Strip grilled on a salt stone to your cookout rotation this summer!

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