Ceramic briquettes can turn a great grill into an amazing grill. They provide that extra level of consistent heat that a gas grill often needs to combat hot and cold spots and they prevent flare-ups completely. But, since the best ceramic briquettes last so long you want to find some that are perfect for your grill and grill size.
Always get 100% pure ceramic. Don’t compromise on quality as you will be cooking with them every time you use your grill. Let’s break it down.
Why Use Ceramic Briquettes For Your Gas Grill?
One of the biggest disadvantages to gas grills is that more often than not they have hot spots. If you’re trying to feed a crowd cooking everything at once can become challenging as things start to cook faster than others and you have to constantly move all the food around the grill.
Some grills come with metal heat distribution shields to counter this, but the most natural and efficient way to evenly distribute the heat around your grill is to add a layer of ceramic briquettes to absorb and spread around the heat.
A ceramic briquette takes on the heat from the flame and surrounding air, and radiates it outward which helps keep the temperature much more consistent.
Easy To Clean
Although ceramic briquettes naturally stay quite clean, if you notice visible debris on them it’s worth giving them a scrub with a brush or wipe them down with a cloth. Always be sure to do this when they aren’t hot, and you can flip them every few months which will help too.
High quality ceramic briquettes will last a lifetime. They are naturally durable and very good with handling heat, unlike cheaper heat shields which can wear over time. They are also reusable if you were to upgrade the grill model, and you can remove them at any stage, or replace them at will.
Although I’m not fully convinced on this one, some people swear that the ceramic briquettes help add a better flavor to your food. This is said to be mostly due to the juice drippings that land on them and evaporate into steam which goes back into your meat.
This may be true, but this will naturally happen with most gas grills, particularly those with metal heat shields. Some say using ceramic briquettes is better for taste, some say it can’t hurt.
No More Flare Ups
Ceramic briquettes act as a barrier between the open flame and your food. A bit of oil or fat juices dripping down from your food will no longer be able to cause a sudden flare-up. Plus, the drippings that would usually collect on the flavorizor bars or a heat shield causing flare-ups are now halted by the ceramic briquettes.
Top 4 Best Ceramic Briquettes In The Market
Mr. Bar-B-Q Ceramic Gas Grill Self Cleaning Briquettes
- Comes with 60 pure ceramic briquettes
- Highly affordable option
- Covers small to medium-large grills. If you have a very large grill you might just fall short
- Due to their pyramid shape, they can’t be flipped easily
Chef Master Ceramic Gas Grill Self Cleaning Briquettes
- Most affordable
- Top quality ceramic
- Due to their pyramid shape they can’t be flipped easily
- Only comes with 50 ceramic briquettes, better for smaller to medium grills
Grill Greats Briquettes
- Perfectly rectangular for easy flipping and even distribution
- Uniform shape for perfect distribution (vs. pyramid shaped ceramic briquettes)
- Reports of poor or loose packaging
- Some reports of cracking or broken briquettes
Home Hardware Specialty Flame Tamer Ceramic Grill Bricks
- Perfectly rectangular for easy flipping and even distribution
- Lies flat and heats up well
- Large in size means it’s harder to get a perfect fit for your grill.
- Less popular option
- Comes with only 30, need two packs for larger grills
How To Use Ceramic Briquettes For Gas Grills
Using your gas grill with ceramic briquettes is almost exactly the same as without them. But, the measurable differences you’ll see are no flare-ups and no hotspots. Once you’ve set up and tested your ceramic briquettes you can just cook as normal.
However, there are a few steps to get right in the set-up of the ceramic briquettes in your gas grill to be sure they are working effectively and safely.
How To Add Ceramic Briquettes To Gas Grill
Always be sure you’ve read the manual for your gas grill and be sure to look out for sections relating to the grill’s firebox safety. Otherwise, once you’re ready to add your ceramic briquettes to your gas grill be sure to:
- Thoroughly clean your grill before adding ceramic briquettes. Clean around the burners, all the parts that will be below your briquettes, and the grates and hood for good measure.
- Place your briquette tray in it’s slot, or your extra grill grate over your grills heat shields. Do not put your tray or grill grate for the briquettes on the burners themselves.
Tip: If you don’t have a briquette tray, measure the distance between the inside of your grill just above your flavor bars. Then, source a grill grate that is a touch smaller than your measurements, or use an adjustable grill grate.
Arrange your ceramic briquettes on the grate, spacing them as evenly as possible to have one full single layer of briquettes.
Turn your grill to medium heat and let the ceramic briquettes heat up. After 10 minutes turn the temperature to high and let burn for another ten minutes to stress test your new set-up.
Turn off your grill. Take a deep breath and admire your new gas grill in all its glory. Your ceramic briquettes on your gas grill are ready to use.
How To Arrange Ceramic Briquettes In Gas Grill
When it comes to arranging your ceramic briquettes on your gas grill, there’s really only a few key things to remember.
- How far apart to place ceramic briquettes: Place your briquettes as close as possible, leaving ideally no clear space. If you are short a few briquettes remove them from the corners and edges of your grate where they are least important.
- Single layer: There is no need to use more than one single layer of ceramic briquettes or briquettes tiles. Using more will cause the grill’s temperature to be anchored too much, and it will struggle to come up to temperature in any energy efficient matter.
- Use the same shape and sized briquettes: Because of the way the briquettes are designed, they are optimally used when the shapes are completely uniform. This promotes even and efficient heat distribution. Using different sizes and shapes will cause hotspots and defeat the whole purpose.
Heat Shields Vs. Lava Rocks Vs. Ceramic Briquettes
Heat shields, heat plates, flavorizer bars, or heat tents all are made from stainless steel or cast iron and fill a similar role in the grilling process of a gas grill. Unlike charcoal grills where you can distribute the burning coals however you like, gas grills usually have set burners and depending on the model, usually have hot and cold spots around the grill surface.
Heat shields are designed to take the heat from the flame and distribute it more evenly around the grill, which helps for consistency.
Lava rocks are an alternative to ceramic briquettes, but tend to only last around a year or so. Because of their inconsistent size it’s more difficult to get an even heat for your whole grill. But they do work well at retaining and radiating the heat.
Ceramic briquettes are not the same as charcoal briquettes for smoking or grilling, and are also not an alternative for lump charcoal for smoking , but are exclusively used in gas grills as the most sustainable, reliable, and efficient way to evenly distribute heat for a superior cook.
Ceramic as a material is naturally great at retaining heat and distributing it well, which is why you observe many pots, pans, or even grills made of it – such as the Big Green Egg or Kamado grill.
Compared to a lava rock , a ceramic briquette because of it’s uniform shape is much more effective and efficient when it comes to distributing heat on a gas grill.
How To Clean Ceramic Briquettes
One of the greatest benefits of high quality pure ceramic briquettes for gas grills is that they are mostly self cleaning. What this really means is that the heat from the flame usually burns off any small debris or juices. This makes them great for not adding time when cleaning or removing rust from your gas grill.
However, after around ten uses it’s definitely worth giving them a light brushing and wipe down with a nylon brush and cloth. It’s also worth flipping them after cleaning too, as long as the ceramic briquettes are uniform in shape, i.e. not pyramid shaped.
How Long Do Ceramic Briquettes Last?
In all honesty, there is no expiry date or set time frame where you should replace your ceramic briquettes. Ceramic is also a naturally long-lasting material, so long as it’s taken care of properly and not exposed to the elements all the time.
The best way to tell when your ceramic briquettes need replacing is when they are visibly breaking, cracked, or broken. This is only because they will retain and distribute heat unevenly if they aren’t all uniform in shape! You can use them for years as long as they are taken care of.
If you do begin to notice a foul smell when grilling they may need a clean or a flip, or if it’s been an extended period of time or you are struggling to clean them properly it could be worth replacing them.