Salt blocks can be heated or cooled to extremely hot and cold temperatures and are versatile for this reason. Since they are a natural product with imperfections and lines, it is important to do this slowly. Heating a salt block too quickly can cause it to crack or otherwise break, but if cared for correctly it will last a really long time.
It is especially important to heat a salt block carefully, especially the first few times it is used. This ensures the strength of the salt block over the long term and improves it as a cooking surface. This process is called tempering and is simple to do
How to Temper a Salt Block
- Place block in the oven on a low rack
- Turn oven on to lowest setting (usually 170 degrees)
- Leave it for 30 minutes at this temperature
- Increase temperature by 50 degrees and leave another 30 minutes
- Repeat this process, raising 50 degrees every 30 minutes, until it reaches a temp over 500 degrees
- Turn the oven off and leave the Salt block there, with the door closed, until it completely cools to room temperature
- My salt block made some crazy cracking sounds and developed visible lines when I tempered it. Apparently, this is normal.
Congrats! Now your salt block is ready to use!
How to Heat a Himalayan Salt Block
When ready to use, it is important to heat the salt block correctly. Heating it is slightly more complicated than just turning on a burner and cooking in a pan. It isn’t difficult though and with a little prep, a salt block becomes a simple way to cook.
How to Heat a Salt Block on the Stove
- Make sure it is completely clean and dry and that it has been at least 24 hours since it was wet.
- Place the salt block over a gas burner (or over an electric range, but place a metal ring or grate of some kind in between to allow air to flow between).
- Turn the heat on low and set a timer for 15-20 minutes (depending on size- larger blocks take longer).
- Increase the heat to medium and leave for another 15-20 minutes.
- Turn up again to medium/high for another 10-15 minutes.
- If you have one, use a laser thermometer to make sure the block is around 500 degrees. Don’t have one? Splatter a few drops of water on the salt and make sure they dance and evaporate immediately. Be careful not to touch it (seems obvious, but very important as it will maintain heat for a long time).
- At this point it is ready to use. See instructions below for cooking instructions for various foods.
How to Heat a Salt Block on the Grill
- Salt blocks can be used on gas and charcoal grills.
- On gas grills, start with low heat just as you would on a gas stove and work up slowly.
- With a charcoal grill, put all the charcoal on one side and the salt block on the other.
- Watch the temperature carefully to ensure it doesn’t heat up too fast.
The thickness and strength of a salt block make it an amazing surface to cook on and once heated, it will hold temperature for quite a while without a heat source. When you use it on a grill, it adds a delicious smoky and mildly salty flavor to vegetables and meats.