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Brief History

There was a time when lava rocks were the mainstream component of every best built-in gas grills. That has changed in recent years as new alternates emerged which proved to be a far better substitute to lava rocks.

Lava rocks are an amazing material that is formed by the solidification of molten lava. It is great at containing heat very efficiently.  Previously, when the advancement in gas grills technology was yet to be mainstream, lava stones had to be heated, unlike modern gas grills which heat rather instantaneously.

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Although the rock’s heat capacity and heat dissipation are both excellent, they often char the food if proper management is not undertaken and tend to contaminate food via other means too.

Since the introduction of grass grill, however, things have changed in the BBQ avenue.

The Present

Lava rocks have been replaced as stated earlier. Once a standard for grills, they are history. They are still available for purchase through and some still prefer to use them. Those who like to do so can do that on their own accord.

Presently though, newer alternatives outshine the lava rocks. Just as CDs replaced the cassette tapes. Ceramic and other types of briquettes replace the lava stones.

Volcanic rocks often have a vesicular texture caused by voids left by volatiles trapped in the molten lava. A 15-centimeter (5.9 in) piece of pumice supported by a rolled U.S. $20 bill.

Problems with Lava rocks

Lava rocks are porous. That is a feature that made it a good material to be used in grills previously. But this feature has a severe downside.

The porous nature of lava rocks leads them to become culminated with grease and oil over time with use after use on the grill. This has led to some serious problems as regards the food’s hygiene. There have been reports of lava rocks charring the food and that is no surprise. But what may come as a surprise to our readers is that lava rocks also contaminate food and have in many cases resulted in food poisoning.

This conundrum is not all the result of the inherent disadvantage or unsuitability of lava rocks, but rather the immense burden that lies on the grill’s users to clean these rocks. Cleaning these rocks in a sufficiently correct manner is a hefty task in of itself. Users often find that very difficult to do.

Read Also: How To Choose a Built-in Gas Grill?

The risk of charring associated with lava rocks is also a cause for concern as the black charred remains of meat are known for being carcinogenic and thus a health risk.


It is due to the aforementioned details that lava rocks have largely been disregarded as being a suitable and essential component of the gas grill, or perhaps any other types of grills too.

Now, better alternatives for lava rocks are readily available. Ceramic briquettes now have been crowned the champion in grills. Once this position was held by lava rocks.

Mark is our in-staff writer based in Sacramento. He loves movies and probably hates the music that you like. You can tell him everything you despise about his reviews via email