For quite some time I have wanted a Himalayan Salt Block for cooking in my Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe.
So about two months ago I was at my favorite BBQ shop in the Twin Cities, Quetopia, and I finally broke down and bought one.
Granted I also ended up buying more smoking woods, rubs and heat deflectors for my EGGspander. Ha!
Anyways, if you are not familiar with Himalayan Salt Block cooking you’re about to get a crash course. I’ve been cooking a fair amount lately on my salt block and I have to tell you it totally rocks.
A Block Of History
Have you ever had pink salt? Then if so, you have most likely had Himalayan salt. It is often ground down to salt crystals. But where did this come from?
Himalayan salt comes from a very large, pink salt boulder that has been literally millions and millions of years in the making in the Himalayans.
Then large salt plates are cut from the salt boulder and voila, you have a Himalayan Salt Block for cooking – or even for cooling.
Using Your Himalayan Salt Block
What I love about the Himalayan Salt Block is its versatility. It can be used in your oven, gas grill, charcoal smoker or even chilled or cooled in the fridge/freezer.
You can cook on it, you can sear items such as steak and tuna and you can even use it to make your own ice cream (think Coldstone Creamery).
For cooking, you want to slowly warm up your Himalayan Salt Block so that the salt block doesn’t heat up too fast and crack. However, if it does crack, just grind down the salt block into salt crystals and you have Himalayan salt.
For my oven, I put my salt block onto the rack and pre-heated the oven to 225 Fahrenheit. Once that temperature was obtained, I then increased my temperature to 300 for 30 minutes, then 350 for 30 minutes and finally 400 for 30 minutes.
The optimal cooking temperature for the Himalayan Salt Block is somewhere in between 300 to 400 Fahrenheit, but I prefer 400 Fahrenheit for the speed of cooking, but also for searing.
For my smoker, I fire up my charcoal and then I have my smoker set up for an indirect cooking. I recommend this because I don’t want to have the flames touch my salt block. You may want to consider using a digital controller to slowly bring up my temperature to 400 Fahrenheit in the smoker.
I’d highly recommend that you use a laser thermometer to check the temperature of the Himalayan Salt Block. If you don’t have a laser thermometer, you can sprinkle a few drops of water on top and if they sizzle you are at the right cooking temperature.
Cooking on Your Himalayan Salt Block
When cooking on your Himalayan Salt Block, you definitely want to pay attention to how much salt you are using for your veggies, meats, fish or even tofu.
Personally, I don’t use any salt or very little salt in my veggies. The reason being is that the food will absorb trace amounts of the salt from the Himalayan Salt Block.
The longer you cook your items or if you have more moisture such as a marinade, it is my experience more salt will be drawn into your food.
For example, for asparagus I just coated with extra virgin olive oil and ground black pepper. After a 10 minute cook (flipped half way through) the asparagus was perfectly grilled and had just the right amount of saltiness.
Yet I also had a salty marinade on some tofu and even though I only cooked the tofu about three minutes per side, it was just a little too salty for my liking.
I’ve just learned through many cooks how to eliminate salt from my rubs and marinades and then it turns out just perfectly. Even when I’ve made steak and eggs on my Himalayan Salt Block.
Cleaning Your Himalayan Salt Block
Once your salt block has completely cool down, it will be ready to be cleaned. I picked up a salt block scrubber, which also has a metal piece to scrap off any food particles from the surface.
You will want to place the salt block under warm water (but not continuous warm water) and gently scrub the salt block. Never ever ever put this in your dishwasher as it will dissolve.
Once you have cleaned your Himalayan Salt Block, you will want to let this air rest for at least 24 hours before your next cook. I then store my salt block in a cool, darkened cabinet.
Try to only cook on the same side of the Himalayan Salt Block. And don’t worry about the color changing from the pretty pink to a duller pink. That is just part of the cooking process and doesn’t impact the ability to cook on your salt black.
You may also notice that you might start to get some small fractures in your salt block. That is okay as well just as long as they are not all the way through your salt block.
Overtime your salt block will continue to get smaller as you use the salt and clean the salt block. But if you properly care for your salt block, you should be able to enjoy this for quite some time.