With it being right in the middle of July, we are in the heart of grilling season and this is by far my favorite time of year. I live by the grill and try to cook anything and everything on it. That can be tricky though, as not all food grills easily or effectively. The space between the grates can cause grilling vegetables a challenge and it can destroy a delicate filet of fish. There have been many different times I have tried grilling fish, asparagus, and more with limited success.
There are many different grilling accessories on the market and some are a mere gimmick while others truly enhance the grilling experience. Having heard raving reviews, I have often wanted to try a grill stone to see how they work. Island Grillstones sent me one of their products to try out and I wasted no time unpacking it and getting it onto the grill for a test.
Island Grillstones is a Canadian company and here is some info on the stone taken from their website:
Made of naturally porous volcanic rock and cut to fit most barbecues, its unique properties allow the Island Grillstone to hold the natural flavor, moisture and nutrients, while preventing barbecue flare-ups that cause charring. The ancient techniques of stone grilling are combined with the luxuries of a modern barbecue to create a healthy, even and clean cooking accessory.
The Island Grillstone allows you to get the most out of your barbecue. No more food marinades or sauces slipping through the grill. Just a pure, beautiful sear and an island experience you can taste, again and again.
The grillstone is made of volcanic rock and it can withstand heat up to 900F. Also, since it is a thick slab of stone, it retains the heat really well. Being volcanic rock, it is porous and has little holes throughout it. I would assume, although I have not tried it, that the holes would make it a challenge to grill foods that are liquid based, like pancakes or scrambled eggs.
There are a few different dimensions and sizes of grillstones but the most common one is the square 14″ x 14″ stone. Quite large in size, this covers about half of my grill. About 1″ thick, this stone is heavy, so it is important to be careful when moving it.
The stone requires seasoning before using it. First off, it is recommended to wash it (only with water – NO SOAP!) and then let it dry completely. Once dry, the grillstone can go on the grill. Brush some oil all over the top and sides of the grillstone and light up the grill. Let it heat up for a while so that the oil is absorbed in the stone. Similar to a cast iron pan, this seasons the stone and makes it nonstick. Once cool, the stone can be flipped and the other side can be seasoned the same way.
For my first test, I grilled some shrimp that I had marinating in chipotle puree. I placed 22 large black tiger shrimp on the stone and there was still room for more. This stone is LARGE!
Listen to that sizzle!
The video shows how well the stone cooked up the shrimp. On top of that, there was not even a bit of sticking to the stone. The shrimp lifted off so easily.
The shrimp cooked perfectly and I love that there was no need to thread them onto skewers to keep the shrimp from falling between the grates. The grillstone was dynamite and I was especially impressed with how well it held the heat. From start to finish the shrimp was sizzling.
Cleaning the stone is easy. As seen in the picture above, it is common for there to be build-up and junk all over the stone. All that is needed to clean it is to flip it over. During the next grilling session, the all the debris will burn right off. So, while you are using the top side of the grillstone, the bottom side is cleaning itself naturally. I love that!
Cooking vegetables can be a real challenge on the grill. I hate splitting up my cooking jobs, with some with some tasks done inside on the stove, and others out on the grill. I have tried different accessories to grill vegetables like a griddle, stainless steel basket and others and they have worked ok. But the grillstone was REALLY impressive. To test it out I made some chicken fajitas. On the one side of the grillstone I placed the marinated chicken and on the other side I placed the sliced onions and peppers.
The grillstone has a large surface area and it provides plenty of room to grill lots of food. One thing that I learned while testing out the grillstone, is that it is wise to push the grillstone right to the back, and maybe even to the side edge of the grill. That way there is no small space for food to fall off the stone.
Again, the grillstone rocked it! The onions and peppers were perfectly cooked and the chicken was nicely browned. The fajitas tasted amazing.
There are so many things I plan to grill on this stone. I cannot wait to try salmon or tilapia, asparagus, pizza and more. I imagine that I will keep this stone on the grill most of the time because I will use it that much. This has quickly become one of many favorite grilling accessories.
Disclaimer: Island Grillstone provided me with the grillstone. They did not pay me for this review and the views expressed above are my honest reactions after trying the product.