How to use lava rocks for a BBQ

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Gas barbecue grills designed for use with lava rocks disperse heat more evenly than merely relying on gas jets to do the cooking. Properly cleaning, arranging and maintaining the rocks is essential to efficient grilling with minimal flame flareups that can burn food and cause unwanted fires inside the grill.

Attention to detail and regular changing of the rocks also enhances the grilling experience with these porous pieces of nature.

Pour the lava rocks packet that accompany the new grill into a large plastic bowl or bucket. Fill the bowl with water using an outdoor garden hose, allowing the bowl or bucket to overflow for several minutes while stirring the rocks slowly with a stick or trowel. This rinses away any debris or factory dust. Empty out the water and allow the rocks to dry out in the sun atop a towel.

Place the lava rocks in a single layer, completely covering the rock grate inside the grill. The rock grate is the metal grid that rests directly above the gas burners and several inches below the cooking grate. Stacking the rocks higher than one layer causes uneven heat distribution.

Flip the rocks over after every five or six grilling sessions. This allows grease that collects in these porous rocks to burn off, reducing grill flareups.

Replace the lava rocks after every one or two grilling seasons to prevent major grease build-up and promote efficient heating in the grill.