new bbq; but no grate for lava rocks

maxthedogJune 7, 2007

I recently bought a new bbq from home depot and it doesnt have a bottom grate for the lava rocks or ceramic briquets like my old bbq. all it has is a piece of ventillated sheet metal that is bent up like a tent that covers the burner. the guy at hd said I don't need the lava rocks/ceramic bricks with this kind, and I can just go ahead and cook without it as it is not supposed to use them.

well, i did that last night and all i got was the black soot covering my veggies from the propane smoke/flame.

is this the way how this bbq is supposed to be set up, am i suppposed to cook without lava rocks?

Can i put in lava rocks if I wanted to? (i'd have to get a bottom grate to hold the rocks from actually sitting on the burner and on the bbq pit itself.)

i am not used to cooking this way and i don't see how you could get that bbq flavour/scent with just a propane flame.

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I've asked the same question several times to the salesperson at the "outdoor kitchen" stores. They tell me that lava rock really doesn't flavor the food it's just our imagination. Ya right.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 9:50PM
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You should not use lava rocks in your grill if it is not designed for it. It will not help and will most likely mess up the air flow and drippings diversion system that was designed into your grill.

BBQ flavor comes from wood smoke. You cannot get it from lava rocks or from a gas flame which brings heat but no extra flavor to the party. Lava rocks are only there to disperse heat so that it is more even and reduce flare-ups. In general, lava rocks are surpassed in their function by what you call "tents." The tents do a better job of diverting drippings away from the flames and therefore, produce less flare ups than lava rocks. The majority of modern grills use "tents" though I have seen some that still use lava rocks. Adding rocks will not do any good and will more likely cause problems or reduce the efficiency of your grill.

As for your veggies, since propane does not create soot and adds no flavor to your meal other than what the heat brings (a good sear when done properly) I am taking a guess here that perhaps you did not burn off the coat of oil that the factory puts on your grill. Oil will most certainly (I speak from experience) create an off taste to your food.

If you have burned in your grill, there should be no soot taste. If you have not burned in your grill, and even if you have, go out and burn it in now. Burn it on med-high with the top down until you see no visible smoke coming out of if and no odor (lower the burners if temperature climbs much past 500). It should be about 45min to an hour.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2007 at 5:17AM
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We are looking too and YES the Lava Rocks give the BBQ flavor we want!!! Take a look at the High Dollar Rest. Equipment and Grills...... up to $4,000. or more... they are gas WITH LAVA ROCKS!!!!!

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 5:47PM
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It's not the lava rocks themselves that produces the addtional flavor, it's the fact that the cumulative drippings end up on the lava rocks so when you cook, you get that addtional flavor, just like a seasoned dutch oven is so much better than a new one. If you think propane doesn't have flavor, you have desensitized taste buds. After a few uses, the lava rocks act like a seasoned dutch oven, masking the propane flavor.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2011 at 6:35PM
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My old grill was on its last legs, 12 years old. So When I went to shop for a new one, all the new ones are chinese and nixed the lava rocks. I tried the new ones, it was like cooking with a propane torch. Luckily I saved the old one, bought new replacement parts and The Lava Rocks are the trick. Seems they store heat with the flame off for searing, and in case you run out of gas, & also Moderate heat changes. The best part is the evaporation of greases for that great grill taste. They just wanted to save shipping weight from China, and everyone fell for it-except me!

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 2:28AM
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Same problem here. I can't stand the new ones. I just wrote one of the companies to complain.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 11:17AM
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If you are looking for lava rock take a look at the Broilmaster line.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2011 at 11:13PM
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