Heating, Using, Cleaning & Storing Your Himalayan Salt Block

I don’t intend to spill an inordinate amount of ink on Himalayan salt blocks at the expense of other fine saline subjects, but there are enough inquiries from customers these days that a short series on the practical side of working with plates of Himalayan salt seems warranted.

There are dozens of ways to use Himalayan salt blocks, as plates, platters, skillets, curing bricks, freezing slabs, and more. Cooking, however, is an important one to get under your belt as soon as possible.

And by the way, I personally like to use one Himalayan salt block for cooking, and keep a separate Himalayan salt block/plate for room temperature uses such as curing, serving, and otherwise presenting food. That way, your cooking salt block benefits from the patina and structural changes inherent to cooking, much as a cast iron skillet benefits from careful use and cleaning. At the same time, the purity and simplicity of the unheated Himalayan salt block can be emphasized when used for presentation at the table..

So, with regards to heating and cleaning: Himalayan salt blocks like to be pampered, especially at first. So, as a rule, be especially careful the first few times you heat up your salt plate. The first few times you heat up your salt block, fissures and cracks will appear, and the color may change from its original pink to a whiter color. This is normal. However, after successive uses, you may find that the salt block regains some of its original hue, largely as a result of washing.

1: When cooking, be sure to use only Himalayan salt blocks that are at least 1 inch thick, and preferably 1.5 inches or more.

2: Pre-heating:

a. Using a gas range: put the your salt block on the stove top.  Do not use an oven. Set heat to low, give the salt brick 15 minutes to heat up. You may notice moisture accumulating at the edges. As the salt block heats, this will evaporate off.  The slower you do this, the better.

b. Using an electric range works even better than gas, as there is less moisture and more even heat distribution. If heating on the stovetop, use a pastry ring or wok ring or metal object to elevate the salt slab slightly above the burner. Again, start at very low temperature, for about 10 minutes.

3: Heating: Turn up the heat to medium, and wait another 5 to 10 minutes.Infrared Thermometer

4: Really heating: Set heat on high, and allow 5 to 10 minutes to achieve desired temperature. You can use an infrared thermometer.

Burnt Himalayan Salt Block5: Cook your food, don’t burn it.  Salt picks up things like color fairly easily, so the more care you take with your cooking the better your salt will look (see my earlier comments about A Portrait of Dorian Gray).   Here is an example of one of my mostDetail of burnt Himalayan salt plate brutalized Himalayan salt plates.  I use this one for experimentation and any application where rough handling is used.  It may be beat up looking, but I love this salt block for all the amazing uses it  has provided me.   To the right you see a magnified image of the surface.  The color has penetrated the salt crystals, but it still cooks very well.  Also note above the small crack in the bottom of the salt brick.  This crack appeared some time ago, but the salt plate nonetheless remains very stable and sturdy.

6: When done using your Himalayan salt brick, let it cool.  This will take time.  A lot of time.  Maybe until tomorrow.  be sure the piece is fully cooled to room temperature before washing.

7: Rinse your Himalayan salt brick under warm water.  Remove from water and then scrub vigorously any areas where food has stuck of any glazing (as from fat) has developed.  Rinse with water again to wash clean.

8: Dry your Himalayan salt block with clean rag or paper towel.  Clean rags to the best job, as they don’t get chewed up by the salt’s surface.  When nicely dry, set on drying rack, or any place where it can air dry.

9: Store in any location where humidity is at a minimum.  I keep many of mine on the window sill.

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89 Responses to “Heating, Using, Cleaning & Storing Your Himalayan Salt Block”

  1. on 14 Nov 2008 at 9:01 pmThe Gourmand & the Peasant

    I just just unwrapped my birthday present to reveal a pink Himalayan salt stone. I am so happy to have found your website for guidance. Thanks!

  2. on 12 Jan 2009 at 4:05 amJeanne Brown

    Where can I buy a salt block, and what does one cost?

  3. on 12 Jan 2009 at 12:25 pmMark Bitterman

    The best place to buy presentation grade and cooking grade Himalayan Salt Blocks and Rocks, Himalayan Salt Plates, and Himalayan Salt Bricks, is at The Meadow, http://www.atthemeadow.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1

  4. on 26 Oct 2009 at 4:38 pmAmelia Saltsman

    Hi Mark,
    I’ve been playing with my premium salt block, but I don’t get a good enough sizzle. I suppose it’s possible I’m not getting it hot enough, although I am heating it gradually 30 to 45 minutes. Perhaps I haven’t been cranking the heat high enough as the block heats. Once the block is heated, i’ve been moving it to a board to start cooking. Is that correct? Enjoying my Turkish black and Murray Darling salts!
    Amelia

  5. on 27 Oct 2009 at 12:26 pmMark Bitterman

    Amelia, it’s great that you’re giving the salt block a good while to get hot. That will give the slab of Himalayan salt a longer and happier life. But it sounds like you could definitely get it hotter. Assuming you have a gas range, you should continue to work up the heat slowly, over the course of a half hour. Then about 10 minutes before cooking-time, crank it up to the low end of high, or the high end of medium for a about 10 minutes. Or, if you find that it still doesn’t seem hot enough, perhaps go all the way to full high heat.

    If you are cooking on an electric range, definitely turn the heat up to maximum at least 10 minutes before cooking on your Himalayan salt plate.

    At first, I would suggest you actually cook right on the stove, so that the salt block is continually heated. If this is a very thick brick, say 2 inches in thick, it really should have no problem cooking on it away from the stove, but first you should nail getting it hot enough. If this is a thin piece of salt, it may simply not have enough thermal mass to keep hot long enough to cook.

    One other thing to consider is your hot plate. Go to a good kitchen supply store and get a very nice, super high temperature oven mitt or trivet to put under the Himalayan salt block so that it keeps it insulated from your table or counter top. This will keep your counter cooler and your block hotter!

  6. on 20 Mar 2010 at 2:08 pmDiane Freelove

    I’m new to the idea of cooking with salt blocks don’t the juices of what you are cooking get into the salt block?

  7. on 05 Apr 2010 at 11:03 pmMatt R

    Mark – I was given the large salt platter by a close friend whom we will refer to as “Portland’s Chocolate King” and have a question regarding heating it up. If my salt block is long enough to span two gas burners on my stove, do i want them both on? Or am I better off having the middle of the block over one burner?

    Also – any plans to hold another salt block cooking class?

    Thanks for your help – can’t wait to start exploring its uses.

  8. on 07 Apr 2010 at 9:27 amMark Bitterman

    Diane, yes, the juices from the food get on the block, which in turn imparts saltiness to the food. You can control how much salt the food takes with the temperature of the block: the hotter the salt block the more the food is seared and the less the juices it releases. Either away, just cool down, scrub off any adhering protein, and pat dry.

    Matt, I’d put your hefty Himalayan pink salt slab across both burners to give the most even heat distribution possible. Say “hi” to the king for me. We’ll probably have another salt block cooking class in the early summer.

  9. on 31 May 2010 at 10:54 amnnm420

    Great article. I have a question regarding cleaning. I use this block on my grill and grease from steaks seems to be a significant problem. Is it OK to use baking soda to remove the grease?

  10. on 13 Jun 2010 at 7:34 pmKevin

    Is there any tips on using my 9x 9 Salt Block on my BBQ Grill? It’s Natural Gas and is on the grill about 6 inches from the heat difusers. I did not leave the lid down as this would act as an oven. Our steaks were very good once I placed them on the grill to speed up the cooking.

  11. on 30 Jun 2010 at 7:13 amMark Bitterman

    You can easily use the Himalayan salt block on the gas grill.

    HEATING: Set the salt block on the grill and then turn the burners beneath the salt block low. 15 minutes later, turn the grill to medium. 10 minutes later, turn to high or to the desired cooking temperature. Wait ten minutes, and the fire it up!

    COOKING: If your steaks are thick, you’ll just want to sear them briefly, 1 to 2 minutes, on the Himalayan salt block. Trying to cook the steaks more than this can result in salty steaks and can also cause excessive wear to the salt block. After 1 to 2 minutes, remove the steaks from the salt and grill to finish over the fire. You can use this same technique with chicken. Salmon fillet or tuna steaks can be cooked to rare entirely on the salt block, as the cook quickly and do not exude much moisture that causes saltiness. If your food is too salty when you’re finished, it’s probably because your salt block wasn’t hot enough when you started. A hot Himalayan salt block will season the food to perfection when used properly. However, you an also reduce the influence of the salt yet further by oiling the meat and fish lightly before placing on the salt block.

  12. on 26 Jul 2010 at 6:44 amDarryl

    I received a salt block for my B-day, which I finially used on the grill last night, worked great I think I should have let it get a little hotter to cook the scallops, but everything was fine. My question is about cleaning the block, I see that you say rinse under warm water and then scrub. what are you scrubbing with, a brush or sponge or other tool?

    Thanks

  13. on 11 Nov 2010 at 3:57 pmEdward

    I just stopped by The Meadows in NYC. Fantastic place. I have never been this excited about salt before. In fact behind me my brand new salt block is heating up!

  14. on 29 Nov 2010 at 8:26 amNathan

    I purchased my wife a salt block for her birthday a couple weeks ago and we just got a chance to try it out last night. All I can say is WOW! After a little fumbling around with the heat we finally got it to the temperature we needed. I did mine very slowly, 15 minutes on low, then 15 minutes on medium low and then another 15 minutes on medium. After putting on some steak, I noticed that it just didn’t seem to be hot enough, so we went up one more notch on our gas stove. Another 15 minutes and it was ready to go. I’m assuming it’s because some stoves are hotter at a specific setting than others. Anyway, now that we know how our stove reacts, it will be a piece of cake next time.

    Anyway, we tried some Yellow Fin tuna I sliced about 1/4″ thick, Fillet sliced about 1/4″ thick, some Sea Scallops and Asparagus. I have to say that the Fillet and scallops were wonderful. The best tasting scallops I’ve ever had. We decided that for the first use, we weren’t going to put any seasoning on the food, so we could get a good idea of what flavor was added just from the salt block. I must say it was incredible. The salt infusion during the cooking process was perfect the Himalayan salt seemed to “turn up the volume” on the natural flavor of the food more so than normal table salt. It also seemed to add additional flavor depth to the food, albeit very feint.

    Cleanup was a snap. I waited a couple hours for the block to cool to room temperature and then quickly sprayed off in the sink. Scrubbed it really well with a ScotchBrite pad, rinsed and patted dry.

    My wife and I decided this was going to be a weekly thing now after being totally blown away by the final flavor of the food. I do have some suggestions for first time users that would have benefited us. Make sure it’s nice and hot before you start cooking. You should see the food sizzle when placed on the block. It will also feel nice and hot when you place your hand about 1″ from the surface. Be patient, these things do take some time to heat up, so plan ahead and don’t wait until you are hungry. Also, if you like your steak / tuna like we do, go a little thicker than I did above. I like my steak rare to mid rare and my tuna rare. I think 1/4″ was too thin and will be bumping that up to around 1/2″ next time. Tuna cut at 1/4″ just cooked way too quickly, as did the steak. It was still very good, but too done for my tastes. Oh, well, now we know for next time.

    The scallops turned out beautifully and were our favorite part. We decided we would try some shrimp next time and possibly lobster. It was also nice spending some time in the kitchen with my wife doing something different. I think next time I’ll be inviting a couple friends over to try this out with. It seems like a great thing for a party based on it’s heat retention. Put out a couple plates of steak, shrimp, scallops, etc and let everyone have a go at the salt plate. I could see this thing taking center stage at a get together.

    Keep in mind, this isn’t a paid commercial although it might seem that way. :) I’m just someone that purchased a salt block on a whim and am so impressed with the way the flavor was accentuated and the amount of fun we had spending time cooking on the salt block.

    Now I’ll just have to see how many uses I can get out of this thing.

    Thanks to the people at The Meadow for introducing me to a new way to cook.

  15. on 29 Nov 2010 at 10:08 amMark Bitterman

    Wow, Thanks for sharing Nathan!!!

  16. on 21 Dec 2010 at 9:19 amMichelle G

    Hi, I’m about to give a Salt Block along with your book to my beau for Xmas. Since I’m giving it as a package, I picked up a little scrub brush and its own towel but I wonder about a storage container. Is it a good idea to keep it in an enclosed container or best to keep it out in the open?

    Thanks!

  17. on 07 Feb 2011 at 3:40 amjane

    Hi, used my thick salt block for the first time last night. I had it on a ring as I have an electric range. The food was overly salty, almost too salty to eat. What did I do, or what could I do. I set the block on a ring that I use for an indoor grill which you put a couple of cups of water in. Could that have been the culprit. Any help would be appreciated.
    I also used olive oil, I guess too much, as it must have run off the block in the beginning and caused major smoking and a little flame. Handled that, and continued cooking with the heat a bit lower.
    Help. thanks

  18. on 07 Feb 2011 at 9:57 pmEileen

    As a newbie to salt blocks and slabs, I was wondering how much salt gets absorbed into what is being cooked?

    I’ve had some friends act horrified and say this is an awful way to cook seeing as we’re not supposed to ingest large amounts of salt in our diets.

    My sense is that cooking on the slab would not add all that much to the food. Any insight into this issue?

    Thanks….and this is a great website!

  19. on 10 Mar 2011 at 1:43 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Eileen – The quantity of salt that goes into your food is a complicated formula to work out. It depends upon how moist your food is, its fat content, how hot the block is, and how long you cook on the block. That’s why we recommend using the salt blocks to sear your food; our rule of thumb is that you should cook something on there for three minutes or less because, yes, the longer the food is on there, the saltier it will be. I’ve always found that my food has been perfectly seasoned. As for salt intake, that’s a larger can of worms than can be handled here. Long story short, Himalayan salt and the other salts we sell at the Meadow are natural, unrefined sea salts. In addition to sodium chloride, they contain a host of other trace minerals (over 84 in Himalayan salt), meaning there is less sodium chloride per volume. The real danger is table salt and the processed foods containing it. Rest assured I’ll write more on this topic in the future.

  20. on 10 Mar 2011 at 4:53 pmMark Bitterman

    Jane – Please see my response to Eileen above. I think it’ll answer a lot of your questions, but off the bat I can tell you that you shouldn’t use any oil and that it is better for your food and your block to have your burner on high heat when cooking.

  21. on 11 Apr 2011 at 11:06 amcharles brennan

    I have to say I am so happy with my salt blocks! I have two I use on my grill, I’m going out today to purchase 2 more to use on my electric range and oven! I found a supplier in mesa arizona that is having a close out on these blocks for 25 dollars each! what a deal considering the cheapest I’ve found has been 65 dollars a block. my concern has been how long should I cook the food on a block and how do I clean up the black residue left from the foods I cook, especially grease! Thanks for this website I’ve got my answer thank you very much! I would love to partake in a salt block cooking class this summer if you have 1, thanks again Chas in gilbert arizona.

  22. on 19 May 2011 at 12:17 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Michelle – Unless your boyfriend is keeping his salt block in a particularly humid place, it should be fine to keep it out or just in a cabinet. If he lives somewhere humid, it’ll do the trick to keep it wrapped in a tea towel. Otherwise, the block may sweat a little and leave some salt crystals on the surface it’s resting on. An enclosed container could also work for this purpose, but isn’t entirely necessary.

  23. on 31 May 2011 at 9:00 amRoxanne

    Hi Mark
    I used my salt block for cooking (gas range) for a fourth time last night and it blackened exaclty as you show in the photo above. The difference is I wasnt doing any rough handling or cooking at all. In fact, it started to blacked before I put any food on it! It looks ruined to me. Is there any way to work some of that black out? I washed it as per usual and that seemed to help a little, but it has really penetrated all the way through.

  24. on 20 Jun 2011 at 11:57 amGreg P

    How do you measure the temperature of the salt block?

  25. on 21 Jun 2011 at 12:05 pmMark Bitterman

    Greg – One way of taking a salt block’s temperature is by using an infrared food thermometer. It’s a fun little gun gizmo, you can point it at anything to take its temperature. However the easiest and least expensive way is the age-old hand test: put your hand over the block and slowly bring it down. If by four or so inches above the block you have to pull your hand away from the sheer heat, your block is ready to cook!

  26. on 02 Jul 2011 at 4:54 pmBruce

    Just so I am clear- can I store my Himalayan salt plate without any special considerations. For example I was considering a ziplock bag to store it in in between useage. My readings from this site indicate that is not necessary- simply store the plate in a fairly low humid location and watch for any salt that may adhere to the surface that you store it on.
    Do I have it right?

  27. on 05 Jul 2011 at 11:25 amMark Bitterman

    Bruce – You’ve got it right. Salt block storage shouldn’t be too demanding. I keep mine in a cupboard, on the table, in windowsills, etc. If you notice crystals forming on the surface you’re keeping it on, you may want to wrap it up in a tea towel or a ziplock to keep the block from sticking.

  28. on 27 Jul 2011 at 3:26 pmsally

    Hi, So glad to find all this information. First, I have a stove top cast iron grill that covers 2 burners. I was thinking of flipping this grill over to the (never used) flat surface. It would fit perfectly. Good idea? Once cleaned I was thinking I could put it back here to live as even when it’s humid, pilot light enough keeps things dry. Is this okay?
    Secondly, I have a second slab for cold food. As I understand it, it’s best to have to if for nothing else than the colors change differently. The cold goes almost translucent. I have a fitted canvas bag for it, can I store it in that in the refrigerator or will it sweat too much?
    Third! Sorry. When I cook something on it, do you flip like you normally would?—when it doesn’t “stick” but lets go naturally?
    Thanks for the help and insight!

  29. on 30 Aug 2011 at 4:40 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Sally –

    As far as the griddle goes, I wouldn’t recommend using it. If you have a gas range, just put the salt block right on top. If you have an electric or glass top, you do want a metal spacer between your block and the element, but the key is that you want a little bit of air underneath the block. Unless the grill has holes in it, I say it’s a no-go. Some good spacers for electric ranges are things like wok rings or grill tins.

    For the cold block, keeping it in the refrigerator could be risky due to all the moisture in there and possible spills. The canvas might protect it a bit, but I think it’s best to just stick it in the freezer or refrigerator a little bit before you plan on using it.

    Lastly, salt blocks are decidedly a stick surface and food is not likely to every let go naturally. However, you don’t want to put any oil on them to make them non-stick, since that will create a barrier between the salt and your food. I say just flip your food when it appears to be about halfway cooked through that side; for something like thin cuts of steak, for instance, this will likely be a matter of seconds.

  30. on 30 Aug 2011 at 4:47 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Roxanne – I don’t think your block is ruined by any means. Aside from trying to scrub off as much of the black as you can, I think that’s just how your block has morphed. These slabs of salt are several hundred million years old and all natural, so these kinds of occurrences are the kind of quirks we simply have to love about them. I would keep cooking on it, since it sounds like it’s in perfectly good shape otherwise.

  31. on 24 Sep 2011 at 4:20 pmSusan Gogolin

    I was wondering if you can use the same block for hot (Fish, Chicken, Shrimp) & then use the same block after cleaning for cold items (cheese, Fruit, ect.) Does it take on any odor/flavors of previous food cooked on it?

  32. on 26 Sep 2011 at 5:07 pmMark Bitterman

    Susan – You most certainly can use your block for both purposes. Salt is antibiotic and kills the organic materials that cause transference of odor or taste. One thing to note, however, is that salt blocks change as you cook with them. They tend to cloud over and occasionally will blacken slightly or become altered from washing too vigorously. That is to say that your block may not be as beautiful as it is before cooking, but it still works just as well.

  33. on 20 Nov 2011 at 8:18 pmMercedes

    I’m contemplating buying a salt block for my step mom. We saw it on the food channel and she oohed & awwed over it. I knew i had to buy one. What size do you suggest?

  34. on 23 Nov 2011 at 3:22 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Mercedes – The trick with a cookware salt block is that you want it to be at least 1.5″ thick. The thickness of the block gives it more heat stability and will prevent it from breaking too fast. You can peruse various sizes of cookware blocks here on The Meadow’s website.

  35. on 06 Dec 2011 at 5:00 amSteve

    Thanks for a great article. I noted one comment earlier that doesn’t match with what I’ve found earlier (actually my first introduction to the amazing product). While a salt block would be subject to problems with spills in a refrigerator (I leave mine on the top shelf to avoid such problems), the humidity is not a problem at all. Cold air holds very little moisture compared to warm air. Unless someone regularly puts hot steamy dishes in a fridge and uncovered (a no-no anyway), storing the salt in fridge would actually be a good idea.

    Many producers of aged beef do just that, with their coolers lined with salt blocks for the purpose of making a bacteria free zone in which the meat can cure. As a matter of practice, placing a salt block in the fridge would mean a slower rate of food spoilage.

    The only real problem with storing a salt block in a refrigerator is that when you remove it, moisture will condense on it if left to the open air. If put into a plastic bag/box or an insulated container to warm up to room temperature, or if taken directly to the heat source to start cooking, it should be fine. With the latter option however, it is extremely important to understand that a refrigerated block is 40 degrees cooler, must be warmed up even slower, and you are effectively working with three temperature zones, not just two.

    It may all sound complicated, but it isn’t

  36. on 11 Dec 2011 at 12:46 amMerry

    I do not have a salt block, but plan on having one. When you cook the meat on the salt, you said not to cook it over 2 min. Is this per side or on one side and then remove it. I wondered if you turn it over? Also, does it cook enough or do you always have to put it on the grill after the salt slab? Thanks for answering my many questions.

  37. on 17 Dec 2011 at 1:21 amsally

    Hi, i have just purchased a salt block, but i need to chop it in half as it is very large! Has anyone every had to do this, is it best done with an angle grinder and is there anyway of smoothing the block if it is uneven after cutting? Any suggestions would be very appreciated, I have bought for a Christmas pressie! Thanks, Sally

  38. on 21 Dec 2011 at 12:13 pmDave

    Was contemplating using the salt block for an appeitzer party and letting the guests cook there own food “fondue” style. I would like to place the block on my counter for easier access than on the stove top. Was wondering if after heating it on the stove if I could put a sterno can under the block to keep adding heat during the party?

  39. on 27 Dec 2011 at 9:57 amScott

    Mark,

    I am a novice and took my new block for its first ‘drive’ last night, on some pork chops, tomatoes and asparagus – used it on our Viking gas 6 buner – it went pretty well – thanks to this forum and other information available about this ‘art form’.

    My block had s significant fissure/crack (about 30% the block area, from corner to side – all the way thru) out of the box, but no indication of fragility appeared due to this ‘marbling’ of the slab.

    After using enough warm water this morning to only facilite the cleaning of the cooking residue, with a clean light brush for glasses, this crack appears to have opened up and I’m not sure what is even holding this entire ‘corner’ on – any advice?

    Approx. how long is a 1.5″ thick, ~8×12 block supposed to last?

  40. on 28 Dec 2011 at 4:03 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Dave – I have no reason to believe that wouldn’t work, so I say go for it. Keep in mind that the salt block will actually retain heat for quite a while, so it may not even be necessary to keep the sterno on. Your guests are going to love this!

  41. on 28 Dec 2011 at 4:13 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Scott – As far as advice for prolonging your block’s life, there are a few things you can do. Firstly, you want to be sure that you are letting it heat up fairly slowly; give it around 45 minutes or even more if you’re worried about the fissure. Secondly, when washing the block, do not place it under running water. Simply scrub the cooking residue off with a moistened sponge or stainless steel scrubber, then pat dry. A salt block can last anywhere from a few to a few dozen uses, but we guarantee ours for at least three uses. In the end, these are 600 million year-old, completely natural products, so they are fickle and fragile beings. The good news is these salt blocks are incredible dense, so once it breaks you still have a ton of salt left to use for serving, shaving, crushing, pasta water, bath water, etc. Enjoy your block!

  42. on 28 Dec 2011 at 4:55 pmMark Bitterman

    Merry – I would recommend flipping it, but two to three minutes total is what you want to aim for. With thin slices of steak this should be more than enough time and they don’t need to be further grilled. Thicker steaks will take more than 2-3 minutes to cook and will therefore get too salty, which is why we recommend using the grill to complete the cooking process.

  43. on 14 Jan 2012 at 11:25 amJoan Duncan

    Hi Mark!
    My husband just received your book and a Salt block. We are now converts! and will be ordering from your store.
    My husband believes that he can heat the block in the oven because we live in a high mountain desert region (Taos,NM) and so live in an arid climate. I would love to hear from you if this has merit or why you would still recommend the stove top.

  44. on 14 Jan 2012 at 2:46 pmMargot

    I just received a Himalayan salt block for Christmas about 2″ thick. The directions call for oven directions and say the salt slab can withstand 900 degrees. Your site suggests not using it in an oven. Can you tell me if this is not possible. I was contemplating baking a salmon this way in the oven.

  45. on 17 Jan 2012 at 1:20 pmMark Bitterman

    An angle grinder would work just fine, as would pretty much any other kind of saw. Rock salt (AKA halite) is a very soft rock, with a hardness approximate to that of your fingernail. A belt sander will also smooth out the edges perfectly – just be sure to wear some goggles!

  46. on 17 Jan 2012 at 3:47 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Joan – Glad to hear you and your husband are getting excited about salt! In general I always recommend the stove top or barbecue grill for salt blocks. Though you do live in a much drier climate than most (and will probably get a longer life out of baking your salt block than those of us who live in, say, pluvial Portland), there were also be moisture evaporating off of your food while baking in the oven. So, as I always say, do it at your own risk; just be sure to put the block in when the oven is cold so that it heats up gradually. Happy cooking!

  47. on 17 Jan 2012 at 4:01 pmMark Bitterman

    Margot – I don’t recommend using salt blocks in the oven because it can trap moisture that can harm the block. You can certainly try it at your own risk, but you will get more longevity out of your block using it on the barbecue – plus you’ll get some awesome salmon!

  48. on 21 Jan 2012 at 6:27 pmPamela Meeker

    I have a glass top electric stove top. I see I should use a metal ring and a wok ring is mentioned. I’m concerned that using the wok ring will bring the salt slab too far away from the heating element. Will the slab get got enough when using a wok ring?

  49. on 30 Jan 2012 at 3:20 pmMark Bitterman

    Pamela – It certainly depends upon the height of the wok ring; some of them can keep the block too far from the heating element, it’s true. If you’re concerned about this, you can always go for any metal trivet that you find with less lift to it. Enjoy cooking with your salt block!

  50. on 13 Feb 2012 at 9:08 amKatherine

    I recently purchased a 2″ salt block and have used it with sushi grade salmon which was fantastic. Then, I bought the laser thermometer so I could heat it gradually to 500 degrees on the gas stove and cook some gorgeous petrale sole. The sole cooked very quickly, (which I like) but stuck like crazy to the block. After removing the petrale, and because the block was still hot but cooling, the residual fishy smell was overpowering. The next morning I scrubbed and dried the block and wanted to use it for brunch but the smell remains. I hope I didn’t ruin my block and that you might have some suggestions. Thank you!

  51. on 04 Mar 2012 at 10:47 pmDot

    Someone bought me a salt block for my birthday, I am so excited but need help in how to heat it. I only have an electric induction stove top, no gas…so can I grill it on a rack?
    thanks

  52. on 08 Mar 2012 at 7:48 pmJim B

    If I were to purchase six similar-sized, thin slabs of salt blocks, then build a ‘box’ (one on the bottom, one on top, and four sides), could I age a cut of beef in there? that would work, right?

  53. on 13 Mar 2012 at 2:04 pmMark Bitterman

    @Katherine – I would recommend giving it a hard scrub with lightly-wetted steel wool to remove as much as the material that stuck on the salt block as possible, and perhaps a tiny bit of soap as well to kill any residual bacteria that are clinging on. It is hard for bacteria (which cause the smell) to live on your block for long.

    Hope this works for you!

  54. on 13 Mar 2012 at 3:12 pmMark Bitterman

    @Dot – Do you mean a rack on a grill, or in your oven? We do not recommend heating salt blocks from room temperature in your oven. As a general principle, the block should be pre-heated over a stove burner. Once at a temperature of 300 or more degrees, it can be transferred to a hot oven.

  55. on 14 Mar 2012 at 9:02 amMark Bitterman

    @ Jim B – The box could be suitable for dry aging, assuming the temperature and humidity were adjusted to whatever is appropriate. If you are doing something that would normally need curing, such as with natural salt and/or curing salt, that cure would still need to be applied.

  56. on 10 Apr 2012 at 6:10 pmBill B

    Mark -

    Enjoy your input to so many aspirants here! No mention of pepper in the equation. Any tips on adding it to the process – especially grilled steaks? Before? After? THX!

  57. on 15 Apr 2012 at 5:17 amLinden

    Like Dot, I have an induction hob and so can’t put my salt block on the hob. It’s about 1.5 inches thick and about 9″ in diameter – would heating it from cold really slowly in the middle of the oven and gradually increasing the temperature to 240 degrees work ok – maybe over a couple of hours for example?

  58. on 30 Apr 2012 at 4:29 pmMark Bitterman

    @ Linden – Heating your salt block in a closed space like an oven is not something we typically recommend. One thing you may want to try is heating a large iron pan on your induction stove top, and then put a wok ring or pastry tin on top of it, and then set the salt block on top of that. This will then work similarly to how you use a salt block on an electric stove-top.

    You can read more about cooking with salt blocks on atthemeadow.com

  59. on 02 May 2012 at 11:24 pmGARY

    HI,

    I AM IN THE PROCESS OF MAKING AN ALCOHOL BURNING FIRE BASKET FOR USE INDOORS.
    COULD LARGE LUMPS OF ROCK SALT BE USED INSTEAD OF FALSE COALS OR PEBBLES, OR WILL THE HEAT BE TOO MUCH.

    CHEERS, GARY.

  60. on 08 Jun 2012 at 7:57 pmKristen

    Hi. I was wondering if I can use the salt block on a charcoal grill

  61. on 05 Jul 2012 at 12:48 pmMark Bitterman

    @Kristen – Yes! Saltblocks work very well on charcoal grills. I recommend keeping the coals on one side, and then moving the salt block between sides to help regulate temperature and make sure the block doesn’t heat up too quickly.

  62. on 20 Aug 2012 at 11:22 amJim

    Mark,

    Could you please clarify why heating a block in the oven is not recommended. I have also read that the heat source, like flames on a cooktop, should not touch the salt block. If I use the stovetop method on my cooktop, the flames will touch. Please advice.

    Thanks for all your tips and tricks.

  63. on 30 Aug 2012 at 3:15 pmMark Bitterman

    @Jim – Heating in a closed environment, like an oven, is bad for your block because it makes it harder for any moister on the block to escape. Salt is hydroscopic. If you put a block out on a humid day, water will pool on it. This doesn’t stop in the oven. As the block heats, the water evaporates and becomes liquid over and over again. This wears at the block, and can cause it to crack or even explode, risking damage to your oven.

    In our experience, there is nothing wrong with having the flame touch the block. What you want to avoid is heating the block too fast – start on low and slowly increase the heat to medium. Once the salt block is hot, you can turn it to high if you want, though its rarely necessary. On many stoves, the flames will only touch the block on high.

  64. on 31 Aug 2012 at 5:49 amKelly

    Hi Mark…My husband was resently asked to build some wooden holders for a restaurant to put salt blocks in, in order to cook food on the salt blocks. He was unsure of what kind of wood to use for this. Apparently the restaurant is heating the wood and the salt block in the oven and then taking to the table and cooking the food on the salt block at the table. From what I am seeing, no one uses wood as a salt block holder to cook on. Would you have an insight on using wooden holders for salt block cooking? Is this a good or bad idea? What kind of wood would one use if you can do this? Thank you!

  65. on 06 Sep 2012 at 3:30 pmMark Bitterman

    @Kelly

    Most salt block cooking applications take place at temperatures that will burn wood, or at least char it. I would not recommend using wood the way they are planning to use it. If the holder and the block are both being heated, then why have the holder? We have carried wood holders in the past, but they were for displaying a block at room temperature.

  66. on 28 Sep 2012 at 11:13 amCharity

    What is the life of a 1.5-2 inch salt block? 50-60 cooking sessions? I gather that if you cook wetter foods, more salt is imparted and thus the salt block would wear down faster, but I’m just trying to figure out how to know when to replace it and I haven’t seen this addressed here. Does it wear evenly or does it form depressions where it is used most? Also, if cooking on the stove does it make a huge mess due to drippings, etc? Mine doesn’t have a lip of any sort at the edge to keep any liquid from getting all over the place. I’ve been scared to use it. Thanks for your help!

  67. on 16 Oct 2012 at 4:04 pmMark Bitterman

    @Charity – Salt blocks are unpredictable, and there is no way to say for certain how long a block will last. Wetter foods will wear the block faster, but if you heat it slowly and hot enough, this will help maintain your block. The most common way of knowing you need to replace the block is when the block breaks into pieces too small to use effectively. When I use a grill, I sometimes just put two broken pieces next to each other and cook on those. Liquid will run off your block sometimes. Keep a damp towel on hand to wipe drippings as they run off.

    I would recommend checking out our Guide to Himalayan Saltblocks Guide to Cooking Steak on a Saltblock. Follow the steps in these guides, and you’ll be fine. If you don’t like steak, the same principles apply to cooking vegetables or any other food.

  68. on 02 Nov 2012 at 5:10 pmJoy

    Any suggestions on how to store if you live in the tropics? High humidity for around 6 months of the year.

  69. on 30 Nov 2012 at 3:13 pmMark Bitterman

    @Joy – Portland can be pretty humid as well. Try wrapping your block in a dry towel and putting it away in a cabinet or drawer.

  70. on 03 Jan 2013 at 3:02 pmRenee

    Mark,
    I just bought a 2″ Himalayan salt block, planning to heat it in my oven per the vendors instructions. However, after reading the information on this site, I am concerned about how to heat the block since I have an induction cook top. Any suggestions? Or should I plan to return the salt block? Thanks much!

  71. on 16 Jan 2013 at 12:35 pmMark Bitterman

    @Renee – Induction ranges work only with vessels made of a ferromagnetic metal. Salt is not ferromagnetic, so they simply won’t work heat on the range. The only way one could possible heat a block on an induction burner would be to put the salt block in a metal skillet or pan and put that on the range. However, that has proven to be a sketchy prospect at best: the block may break due to hotspots where it contacts the metal, and the hot salt pressing on good skillet can erode the surface of the skillet as well. The good news is that most induction ranges come with an electric oven. While we don’t recommend heating blocks in ovens in general, electric ovens are far better than gas. They can put the cold block in a cold oven, turn the oven up to the desired temperature, and allow the block to heat up with the oven. While not as reliable as heating on a stovetop, it works. If you have a gas or charcoal grill, that’s probably your best option. If you only have a gas oven and an induction range, the best solution is to go out and purchase a $25 catering burner like the ones I use in classes.

  72. on 23 Mar 2013 at 3:07 pmElvin

    Ok, I just got a salt block brick, but I have a glass top stove. What can I do. Also, would this work on a coil stove? Please, someone answer me, I want to surprise my wife? Haha!

  73. on 04 Apr 2013 at 10:13 amMark Bitterman

    @Elvin – If your glass top stove uses a coil below the glass, we recommend using a metal ring such as the ring in a spring-form pan to raise the block off of the glass. You can do the same with a coil stove. It is important to raise the block off of the heating element so the heat is transfered through the air. However, if your glass-top stove is an induction stove, it will not work for heating salt blocks.

  74. on 03 Jun 2013 at 4:58 pmSusan

    Cooked salmon with the salt block on the grill last night. Didn’t have enough room for all of the salmon so cooked the extra salmon on foil on the grill. The difference was amazing. The salt block salmon was fantastic. Re: cleaning the salt block-a youtube video from a salt block supplier said to scrape of food particles, wipe with a damp cloth and run under hot water for a few seconds. Unfortunately, the salt block cracked along one of the marble like lines in the block. So upset. Now what! Can it be repaired?
    Was it the water that caused the crack? Help

  75. on 04 Jul 2013 at 9:12 amMark Bitterman

    @Susan – I’m sorry to hear of your cleaning experience. Unfortunately, there isn’t a way to repair a Himalayan salt block once its cracked. You can try cooking on the individual pieces if they’re large enough, or use them for serving at room temperature.

    It’s hard to say what caused the crack, but we do strongly recommend against running your block under water for any length of time. The less water, the better. We recommend cleaning with a damp sponge and/or scouring pad, and no soap. This will ensure the longest life possible for your block.

    Here is an article about how to cook with your block and clean it: How to Cook Steak on a Himalayan Salt Block. For even more detailed instructions, check out our new book Salt Block Cooking.

  76. on 04 Aug 2013 at 2:53 pmAndy

    I just got a salt block and was trying to grill some tilapia on it. Tilapia is a little fragile when cooked and it stuck to the block – it turned into a mess as all of the lightly salted exterior ended up staying on the block leaving us with pretty bland fish. I tried oiling a piec lightly but it didn’t change much – by the time it was well seared it was Adhered to the block.

    How do I avoid this?

  77. on 05 Aug 2013 at 5:11 amNancy

    Instead of having one salt block for cooking and one for room temperature uses. Is it possible to use one side of the block for cooking and the other for room temperature uses or are you only supposed to use one side of the block?

  78. on 31 Oct 2013 at 11:27 amMark Bitterman

    Nancy, when you heat the salt block up it changes it’s character on all sides, not just the side that’s heated. So the color and consistency of the block will slowly change after used for cooking. This is why we recommend a separate block for serving. You are able to serve on a block that’s been used for cooking, but it won’t have the same presence and beauty as a block that has never been heated.

  79. on 09 Dec 2013 at 4:38 pmAnna

    Hi, I have purchased some salt blocks as gifts but just wondering, they are obviously no good for ceramic tops – what about on BBQ’s. Do you still need to sit it on a metal plate on a BBQ?

    Look forward to hearing back on this.

    Kind regards
    Anna

  80. on 22 Dec 2013 at 5:23 pmjustin drappi

    hey, i just got a salt block. the instructions on the stone said i can use it in the oven as well as on the stove top. can i preheat in the oven and then use it on the stove top?

  81. on 03 Jan 2014 at 12:07 pmMark

    Great site!

    Will heating a block work better in a convection oven? I have gas burners, but would prefer the ease of heating in an oven. Your comments on heating in the oven seem directed at moisture, so I thought perhaps the convection oven would overcome that due to the air circulation.

    Thanks.

  82. on 03 Jan 2014 at 1:38 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Mark! Good question. I have heated many blocks in commercial convection ovens and had ZERO problems. However, there is still more trapped humidity in a convection oven than on a stovetop. If you have an electric oven, you are quite safe. If you are using a gas oven, you have a considerably more humid environment (check out the explanation why, and further information on cooking in ovens, on pages 30 – 32 of Salt Block Cooking. For gas ovens, convection or otherwise, I definitely recommend heating it the first time on the stovetop, to temper the block. After that, you shouldn’t have a problem. In fact, after you temper the block on the stovetop you can use a regular, non-convection oven. Hope that helps!

  83. on 08 Jan 2014 at 2:02 pmCindy

    Hi there. Got a Himalayan salt block for Christmas. used it for scallops the first time and clearly was too tentative (aka chicken) in getting it good and hot. the scallops became almost inedible due to too much salt. now I have this rock hard residue stuck to the block which I am not sure how to safely remove. also, the block smells TERRIBLE, had to put it in a plastic bag and set it outside. suggestions for cleaning/fumigating?

  84. on 30 Jan 2014 at 2:06 pmMark Bitterman

    @Anna

    Yes, you can absolutely use your salt block on the grill. Check out this article on our website, which explains in more detail the different cooking methods and instructions: http://www.atthemeadow.com/shop/Resources/How-to-Cook-on-Pink-Himalayan-Salt-Blocks

  85. on 30 Jan 2014 at 2:08 pmMark Bitterman

    @Justin

    If you’re planning to use your block to cook on the stove top, I recommend simply heating it up from the start on the burner. You don’t need to preheat it in your oven. You can read more about how to cook with salt blocks on our website: http://www.atthemeadow.com/shop/Resources/How-to-Cook-on-Pink-Himalayan-Salt-Blocks

  86. on 30 Jan 2014 at 2:19 pmMark Bitterman

    Hi Cindy! Every type of food will react uniquely to your salt block. The effect of the salt on the food will depend on a variety of factors – moisture, fat content, thickness, and the temperature of the block. Moisture in the food will pick up salt faster (scallops), especially if your block isn’t properly heated up to optimal temperature prior to cooking. I recommend trying again, this time bring your block up to a very high temperature (don’t be scared, I promise it’s easy!), and then see if you encounter the same problem. If you’re still finding that your food is too salty for your taste, apply a thin layer of oil to the block, as fat will repel the salt. For cleaning, I recommend moistening the salt block with a damp sponge (no soap). Scrub with a soft brush or green scouring pad to remove any stuck matter, and wipe clean with the sponge. Try to keep the block as dry as possible – the less water the better. Repeat until the block is free of any cooked on food. Tamp dry with a paper towel or clean cloth, and set on a drying rack. This process removes only a very thin layer of the salt and preserves a relatively smooth surface. Hope this helps!

  87. on 01 Feb 2014 at 5:40 amBev

    Hi Mark, any further info on sodium absorption into the food when cooking on the salt block? I do understand searing and less cooking time are the best.
    Thank you,
    Bev
    Calgary, AB
    Canada

  88. on 25 Apr 2014 at 10:19 amScott Tucker

    Scott Tucker…

    Safe Heating and Washing Tips for Your Himalayan Salt Block. | Salt News…

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