7 Things to Know Before You Buy A Himalayan Salt Block

by Philip | Last Updated: January 18, 2019 When you buy something using the links on our posts, we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Learn more.

So you want to buy Himalayan salt block tiles. Quite right, too! We’re big fans of anything Himalayan salt. (Side eyes our extensive salt lamp collection.)

Cooking with salt plates is very special. It adds that special zing to your grilled seafood or cold sashimi. And don’t get me started on the ice cream! You’ll have to taste it to know what I’m talking about.

There is one catch, though.

Unlike a regular kitchen pan, you can buy in the market and start using on the fly, you’ll need to know something about Himalayan salt blocks before you can use them for cooking. This means if you’re the sort of person who refuses to ever read a product manual, then give this a miss.

The good news is it only takes a few minutes to learn what’s what, and when you’re done reading this article you’ll practically be an expert.

Himalayan Salt Block Tiles 101

We’ll be covering how to care for these tiles and what is liable to happen if you jump in head-first.

Salt Plates Are Not For Those Who Cannot Follow Instructions

I don’t recommend salt block cooking if you have no patience with learning or following instructions. These salt tiles need specific care and can just end up as a disappointing purchase if you don’t follow directions.

At the least, your block might crack or your food might end up being too salty. At worst, it can ‘explode’! Again, this will only happen if you don’t follow instructions.

Salt Tiles Have Imperfections

These salt blocks were created by Mother Nature in the deep bowels of the Earth. As such, they have characteristic lines, grooves, or even fissures.

Companies that distribute and sell Himalayan salt tiles go through them carefully. Those not suited for cooking are immediately removed. Others are removed further when they don’t survive the initial burn that they are subjected to. (Think Charles Darwin’s survival of the fittest principle.)

Photo Credit: Bitterman Salt Co

Still, your salt block WILL have its unique set of lines and fissures. It is simply its natural form and is all the more beautiful and one-of-a-kind because of it.

Update: Having had our salt tile for a while now, I just belatedly realized that the slab we use for cooking (we have separate ones for cooking and chilling) has been losing its brighter pink hue that it had when we first purchased it. Apparently, this is normal with use. It’s still pleasing to the eye though.

Himalayan Salt Tiles Need Tempering

While I’ve mentioned that some companies cure their products before selling them, I’d say you still need to temper a new tile to be on the safe side. Tempering it will strengthen it and more durable.

I may have scared you talking earlier about exploding ones, but they are actually very versatile. They can handle being heated or cooled to really extreme temperatures.

That being said, the key to safely tempering (and using) one is to do it SLOWLY.

Do it too fast and too hot, and you’ll crack your crystal. And if your tile has a bit of water or moisture inside it, the sudden extreme heat may cause it to explode.

Here are the exact steps:

Never tempt yourself to shortcut through this process if you don’t want your crystal block to break.

If you hear any cracking sounds in the process, don’t be too anxious. This is normal, including any lines that may appear after tempering.

A Salt Block Has To Be Heated Correctly

Here are things you need to remember to heat your Himalayan salt the right way:

Your Salt Tile Needs To Be 500 Degrees fFr Cooking

If you’re like me and need your kitchen tools, get a laser thermometer to know what temperature you’re at. (It’s an amazing gadget!) You just aim and get the temperature of your salt tile.

Etekcity Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun for Pool Refrigerator, -58°F to 1130°F, Digital Heat...
46,808 Ratings
Etekcity Infrared Thermometer Temperature Gun for Pool Refrigerator, -58°F to 1130°F, Digital Heat...
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  • Professional EMS Mode: The Lasergrip 1080 Infrared Thermometer has an emissivity range of 0.1–1.0 for precise readings across different...
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Last update on 2024-05-27 at 17:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info

But you can do it the old-fashioned way too. Just splatter a few drops of water onto the slab. If they sizzle and evaporate at once, then you’re good to go.

It’s common sense, but don’t touch a heated salt tile. Like we said in our earlier article, Himalayan salt tiles hold heat for a long time.

So what happens if you don’t heat your salt slab right? Your food won’t cook in the best way it can and might turn out too salty, adding the dash of kitchen spa to your relaxing kitchen.

You Can’t Slather Oil

You can’t pour oil on it like you normally do to a regular pan. The oil will get into the cracks of your crystal and spoil it. It may even catch fire while you’re grilling and if it doesn’t, it will go rancid after a while even after some cleaning.

Instead, you want to spray or brush your oil onto your steak, fish, or whatever you’re cooking.  This will keep the exposure to a minimum.

hemingweigh salt tile

A Hemingweigh salt tile

Don’t Use Dishwasher Nn Your Salt Block

These salt blocks are simply big blocks of salt. So what happens when you put it in the dishwasher? The salt will dissolve in water, of course. For this reason, do not attempt to put it under running water or dunk it in a basin of water.

So you’re thinking, but how the hell am I supposed to clean it? Well, salt is naturally anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. You do NOT need soap or any cleaning agent.

All you need to do is to wait for around 3 hours until your crystal slab has totally cooled down. Then, wipe it clean. At most, you can wipe off the blackened food bits with a scouring pad. Finish off with a damp sponge after. Dry it with a rag or absorbent cloth and place it somewhere to air dry.

See It Done

After reading through our list, you might be thinking it’s a lot of trouble. Take it from a lazy dude like me though, it’s really easy once you know the basics.

Here’s proof. See for yourself in this video how you heat, cook with, and clean a salt cooking plate. And this guy is Mark Bitterman himself, one of the early adopters of salt block cooking whom we quoted in our article for the 10 kitchen uses of these crystal plates.

How to Use Your Salt Block Like a Pro

To Sum Up

And that’s about it. Now you can probably see why I said earlier that folks that can’t follow instructions shouldn’t attempt to cook with a Himalayan salt block.

If you can follow the above instructions though, it’s easy peasy. Just ask all the proud and fond owners of these cooking crystals. Once you know what you’re doing, it’s very simple and the delicious taste of your succulent steaks, scallops, shrimp, and even sashimi will be worth the preparation.

And before you go, here is our current favorite for your reference:

Charcoal Companion CC6064 Himalayan Salt Plate & Holder Set, 12' x 8' x 1.5', Black
914 Ratings
Charcoal Companion CC6064 Himalayan Salt Plate & Holder Set, 12" x 8" x 1.5", Black
  • 100% Himalayan salt imparts naturally rich, salty flavor
  • Set includes 8" by 12" salt plate and porcelain-coated steel salt plate holder
  • Heat and use as a cooking surface or chill to keep food cool

Last update on 2024-05-27 at 17:42 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / More info

Philip AndrewAuthor: Philip Andrew:

I’m a writer, more or less. I mean, that’s what I call myself at parties. That means a lot of bad posture, slouching over computer monitors, hands gripping a computer mouse like it’s a primeval axe.

Taking a spa break after months of working 24/7 was revelatory. That little massage chair changed my life. I wanted access to relaxation equipment! We started with small massage cushions and the like. After a couple of years we got our hot tub, but no infrared sauna yet.