get yer ROX on

Somewhere back then — either just before or just after we moved to Reno — there was a splashy ad in one or more of the splashy cooking magazines we get — do you know how inexpensive actual glossy full color cooking magazines are these days? — for SALT ROX.

Hmmmmm… interesting idea, and probably does what it says, but awfully expensive. Costs more than all of our cooking magazine subscriptions, combined; $112, including shipping. We let it pass.

Months later, a UPS package is left on our porch. Darned heavy.

Hours later, Carol asks me to take a look at “your anniversary gift” so I can try it before Eric and Alison visit. The deluxe 8 x 12 x 2 inches Hamalayan SALT ROX. Darned heavy. Carol got a Living Social deal — $49 including shipping, a $63 savings.

Nothing left to do but try it. We can give it a good test with something particularly bland like skinless, boneless chicken thighs. There’s even a recipe on the ad for Grilled Lemon Dijon Chicken Breasts (we don’t do breasts, we do the ever-so-slightly-less-bland thighs). To round out the dinner, I chose to do a Cabbage Panade recipe by Deborah Madison from her new cookbook, Vegetable Literacy (10 Speed Press).

[Make garlic stock, saute a sliced onion with juniper berries and sage leaves, add cabbage and cook until tender, layer in a baking dish with cheese topped rye bread slices and bake.]

Salt ROX

Cooking on the rock is very different than straight grill cooking. One must start with the rock on a cold grill, for fear of cracking the rock by putting it on a hot grill (also for fear of burning my fingers… did I say that sucker is heavy?). I was surprised that it doesn’t take much longer to heat up the grill with the rock than without the rock… about 20 minutes.

I marinated and dried and oiled my thighs and when the grill was ready, put ‘em on. Boneless thighs don’t take long to cook — I figured six or eight minutes to 165°F.

thighs cook

When I opened the grill to turn them, I noticed they were “cooking wet.” Of course, they’re on a rock. The juices from the meat can’t drip into the fire (oh, a little runs off the edge). The ROX folks say “It’s like brining without the water!”

Sure enough, after about 6 minutes the thighs registered 165 and I took them inside to rest.

ROX chicken thigh with cabbage panade and a 2012 Bonny Doon Picpoul

The chicken was excellent, moist and flavorful with a pleasant salty undercurrent. Yum. Sadly, the Cabbage Panade imagined as a perfect accompaniment, wasn’t much, lacking in flavor and the texture mooshed.

So, the SALT ROX worked.

burger with roasted potato, ROXed onion and 2012 Cline California Zinfandel

One more test with hamburgers. Once again, they were moist, but the mildly salty edge was masked by the stronger meat flavor.

SALT ROX has rules:
start cold on a cold grill or in a cold oven.
let the rock cool completely before moving.
do not wash with anything, including water.
scrape “clean.” Stains are okay.

ROX after use for chicken thighs

ROX after use for beef patties and sliced onion

So… we got our ROX on. How often will we use it? Don’t know. But it seems like a good thing for chicken thighs and fish wouldn’t be a stretch. We also have our totally wonderful grill pan, and grilling season is coming on strong.


4 thoughts on “get yer ROX on

  1. Cool. I’ve heard of these, but never seen one. We use a pizza stone in our oven quite often, so I understand the concept. I’ll look into it


  2. Looks yummy. I look forward to seeing it in a few weeks!


  3. That Carol sure on wows how to shop!


  4. Verrrry interesting item. Do you know if it is a natural or man made product?Not that it matters. We don’t grill enough to purchase a “Rox” — even at deal prices. You keep adding to your grilling hoard. Sorry to hear the cabbage side dish was a disapointment. Cabbage is one of my favorite vegetables (almost any way it can be prepared).

    I too have purchased a few well-priced items from Groupon after rejecting the purchase at a brick-and-mortar store because it’s too high priced.


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