The discovery of Himalayan Salt Block grilling is threefold: Thick blocks of scorching hot salt bring fantastically effective new techniques to the grill, including convection cooking, searing, simultaneously grilling from below and searing from above, and even cooking from within the food itself. Food gets cooked better; faster, and more perfectly. Salt blocks drive flavor in cooking like nothing else, enlisting the dynamic duo of salt and fire in a single smoldering slab. Salt draws moisture so the heat can brown and crisp the food even as the salt and fire join forces on another front, braking down both proteins and starches to create texture and flavor. Those objective benefits aside, the greatest promise of salt blocks is surely the newfound sense of adventure they bring to meals prepared under the banner of a blue sky. Salt blocks revive the excitement of familiar places, take you to new ones, and expand the realm of what’s possible in outdoor cooking.
Himalayan salt blocks are made of solid salt, formed 600 million years ago when salt deposits from an evaporated sea were buried deep under the earth. Geologists call this natural mineral salt halite. Giant boulders of it, sometimes in excess of 500 pounds, are extracted from ancient mines in the Salt Range of Pakistan’s Punjab region. The boulders are then sliced and diced into innumerable shapes and sizes using stone cutting saws and lathes. Miners, obsessed with stone and all its permutable charms, have long fashioned objects from boulders of salt, or even carved reliefs directly into the walls of the mine. The biggest of these salt mines in Pakistan is the Khewra mine, which features a veritable them park of salt hewn sights, including replicas of famous mosques and the Great Wall of China.
By far the most common use for Himalayan Salt is to grind it into cooking salt. Unlike industrially made salts like kosher salt and iodized table salt, this natural salt contains over eighty trace elements. Where refined salts taste harsh and acrid, this salt tastes rich and balanced. This rich flavor shines through on foods cooked on Himalayan Salt Blocks.
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