The Meadow Himalayan Salt Blocks

I was extremely excited to cook a steak on this cool salt block from The Meadow that I received as a gift from a friend.

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Instructions for heating it, from the website, are as follows:

“Put the your salt block on the stove top. Set heat to low, give the block at least 15 minutes to heat up. You may notice moisture accumulating at the edges. As the salt block heats, this will evaporate off. The slower you do this, the better. Allow more time for larger plates, especially 9x9x2 inches and larger. Increase the heat slowly – low-medium for 15 minutes, and then medium-high for 15 minutes. If extremely hot sauté temperatures are desired, increase flame to full high for another 5 to 10 minutes.”

After about 10 minutes on low heat, I heard a loud pop as I was prepping the rest of dinner. I looked over and saw that a few shards of salt had broken off and fallen under the grates of my range. I wasn’t too concerned though, because I read this on their website as well:

“The first few times you heat up your salt block, fissures and cracks will appear, and the color may change from its original pink to a whiter color. This is normal.”

It was my first time using it. Did that disclaimer mean to cover what I just experienced? To be honest, I did think it was a bit off that chunks would fall off, but I figured the company was just putting it lightly on their website. I was wrong. After the requisite time on low (about 20 minutes to be safe), I turned the heat up to medium. After about eight minutes I heard a thunderous bang, almost like a gunshot or firecracker. Then there were successive loud pops afterwards, and this had occurred:

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My salt block exploded. There was salt shrapnel everywhere, and it was pelting me as I made my salad. The shit literally covered my kitchen. All over the place. It took me hours to clean it all up. And nothing was salvageable from this expensive hunk of sodium to even use for curing meats or fish. I had to throw it all away. What a colossal waste. I assume this was a defective product?

I highly recommend that you avoid this product. If you must buy one for whatever reason, be sure to wear body armor when heating it.

10 thoughts on “The Meadow Himalayan Salt Blocks”

    1. From their website:

      “The crystal lattice of our Himalayan Pink Salt Blocks has a high specific energy (energy per unit of mass), so they hold any temperature you bring it to for a good while. Likewise, this makes for excellent heat distribution, making grandma’s heavy old cast iron skillet seem like tinfoil by comparison.

      Because Himalayan Salt Blocks generally have an extremely low amount of porosity, and virtually no residual moisture (.026%), the salt plates can be safely heated or chilled to great extremes. We have tested them from 0°F up to 700°F (-18°C to 370°C). (RIIIIIIIIIIIGHT – just not on low at my apartment, I guess…) Salt melts at 1473.4°F (800.8°C).

      Two other considerations come into play when working with our Himalayan salt blocks. First, their lack of porosity means that the surface area touching your food is minimal, so these large blocks of salt will impart only a very moderate saltiness. Second, the high quantity of trace minerals (1.2% sulfur, .4% calcium, .35% potassium, .16% magnesium, and 80 other trace minerals) impart a more mild and full taste to the salt, and by extension, more flavor complexity to your food.”

      1. Huh. This sounds a little dangerous – granted those are small amounts of the various chemicals, but most of them (especially potassium) react rather… violently with water. Wonder if steam in the kitchen might be partly to blame.

  1. Hey Johnny, this is Mark Bitterman from The Meadow. What a s#!t show you have had to go through! I’m very bummed to hear about it. I would really like the chance to show you how cool (and boringly un-explosive) salt blocks can be.

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    All that is to say that it truly is possible to have a good time with a salt block. I’m just frankly very upset about how crappy it must have been to deal with a bad salt block. I will say, it HAS happened before. It has even happened to me once, because i often pick the reject blocks to play with. But In all my years selling them, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve heard about it from others.

    Make no mistake about it, it was not your fault. Either we did something wrong in grading the block (which we do three separate times) or it was just plain dumb back luck. Salt is a natural, unpredictable thing, coming straight out of a 600,000,000 year old seam in the mountains of Pakistan.

    I’d love to A: send your friend his/her money back; and B, send you a salt block or two to try again. (This time I’ll test the block first myself before sending it to you. ) It’s honestly my honor and mission in life to share discoveries in food and drink, and I’d be very grateful for a second chance.

    1. Thanks for reaching out, Mark!

      I was really bummed out when this happened. If I had known, I would have just kept it for curing sliced raw fish, etc., and just skipped the whole heating process. I still remain very curious about cooking with salt blocks, however, and I would love the opportunity to try again with pro-tested blocks. If all goes well, I hope to add salt block cooking to my “Ultimate Guide to Cooking Steak” article.

      I will email you directly and discuss. I very much appreciate your comment and your passion.

        1. Just sent you the email – you should have it on both the address you used to submit these comments, and the one you messaged me from as follow up to my entry on The Meadow’s “contact us” page.

  2. Just to update my readers here on the comments, as I know some of you have been wondering about a follow up, I never received any replacements after months of back and forth. Oh well. FYI Trader Joe’s sells salt blocks for $15 if you wish to try them out at a significant reduction of cost/risk.

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