Why Don’t Gas Grills Use Lava Rocks Anymore

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Lava rocks were highly used and recommended to use in gas grills. But, now they are not used in gas grills anymore. Are you curious and want to find out the reasons behind this. Do I need lava rocks for a gas grill? Don’t worry because this article is a detailed discussion on why don’t gas grills use lava rocks anymore.

If another replaces something, that means the newer is more advantages and bugs free than the previous one. The same rule follows with the lava rocks. There are several disadvantages and health risk factors with lava rocks. The ceramic briquettes have replaced the usage of lava rocks. First, let’s find out what are the lava rocks.

What are Lava Rocks?

In simple words, lava rocks form during the flow of magma, and volcanic eruptions happen. Or, we can say that the solidification of molten lava is the creation of lava rocks. These stones are durable because of the creation of basalt hard rock. The lava rocks have excellent heat retention and dissipation capacity because of their porous nature.

Why were Lava Rocks Used in Gas Grills?

Now, we know that what lava rocks are? How are they formed? Now, let’s have a detailed discussion of why lava rocks were used in a gas grill?

There are some great advantages and capabilities these lava rocks carry, and that’s why they were used in the gas grills. Whenever you grill something on a gas grill, you will find some hotspots on your grilled steaks. This happens because of the uneven heat distribution in gas grills. The gas grill uses the heat directly from the gas that results in uneven distribution of heat throughout the cooking surface. In these cases, lava rocks ensure even distribution of heat across the grilling surface.

The properly maintained and cleaned lava rocks reduce the risk of unnecessary flare-ups. These lava rocks are porous. Therefore, they will absorb fats and oil droppings that fall off from the cooking surface area.

Gas grills don’t give your food the classic barbeque flavor. On the other side, when you add lava rocks, then they act as a barrier. This barrier will heat droppings and produce smoke to give flavor to your food. Apart from that, these lava rocks also help in reducing the cooking time because the whole barrier becomes hot.

Another great advantage is that lava rocks help to save the gas fuel and proper cooking of the food. The gas grills are not able to retain the heat entirely. Therefore, sometimes you end up consuming raw food or improperly baked food. Here, lava rocks will retain heat for a more extended period so that your grill will don’t require more gas fuel and food will grill properly.

Lava Rocks in Gas Grill

Why Don’t Gas Grills Use Lava Rocks Anymore?

The main reason behind the use of lava rocks in gas grills is to get the additional smoky flavor in the food. Sounds great! But, it has a downside as well. It is essential to note that this advantage also acts as a disadvantage. The porous nature of lava rocks creates a barrier that helps in adding smoky flavor, but it also leads lava rocks to culminated with grease and oil over time.

The grease and sauce from the drippings accumulated very fast on the lava rocks until they became completely saturated. These saturated lava rocks also increase the chance of flare-ups.

When these accumulated lava rocks are not clean, then it thrives the growth of bacteria. Therefore, if you proceed for the next grilling session without cleaning the lava rocks, the grease and oil would melt and get into contact with your fresh food. This procedure will contaminate your food, and you will end up with food poisoning.

Apart from that, we can’t ignore the risk by using lava rock. These will result in carcinogenic food and a great disadvantage to your health.

These rocks retain heat very well and for a longer time. However, if you have not monitored your food, you will end up with charring it. Most of the people face this problem.

There are several disadvantages of using lava rocks in gas grills. The combination of gas grills lava rocks is not appropriate at all. One important thing to note is the cleaning of lava rocks. When you have completed the grilling session with lava rocks, you will find yourself frustrated by cleaning them. Sufficiently cleaning these lava rocks is a time-consuming task and needs lots of effort.

So, these are the reasons why don’t gas grills use lava rocks anymore. First, we noticed some high points on using lava rocks. However, these points have their backside as well. Who wants to end up eating a contaminated food full of bacterias. Cleaning the lava rocks is a time consuming and frustrating procedure at all.

Do I Need Lava Rocks for Gas Grills?

Not. As we discussed several disadvantages and health risks while using lava rocks. If you need the classic smoky barbeque grill flavor, you can invest in a charcoal grill or wood pellet grill.

If you know how to properly clean the saturated lava rocks and the efforts required for cleaning after grilling sessions, you can proceed with lava rocks. But, keep in mind that the consequences of using lava rocks. These lava rocks are still available to purchase in the market. If you need a lava rock alternative, then you can proceed with ceramic briquettes. These do not consume grease, and there will no chance of flare-ups and charring food.


If you are a gas grill lava rocks user, make sure to clean the saturated rocks after every grilling session to avoid any flare-ups and risks to your health. Alternatively, you can use ceramic briquettes for better results. You can share your valuable thoughts with us in the comments section below. Subscribe to our newsletter for more updates.

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