Pros: Inexpensive, help maintain an even temperature in my grill, not messy like charcoal
My husband and I own an older Char Broil grill, it's in the Precision Flame 8000 series, and when we bought and put it together many years ago, it came with lava rock, which lined the bottom of the grill.
Because I have read reviews complaining how the newer Char Broil grills are not as well made as their predecessor's, we have decided to just keep ours and change out parts as needed to keep it going. This has been an extremely reliable grill for us, and we want to maintain it so it remains that way.
One day when we were in our local Lowe's store, I found a bag of Grill Care Ceramic Briquettes, and purchased it along with a new grill rack. The last time we removed the original lava rock, we replaced it with Char Broil Char Diamonds, which are also ceramic briquettes, but had a pyramid shaped top. We could not find the Char Broil brand and decided to go with the Grill Care version instead.
Grill Care Ceramic Briquettes came in a medium sized bag, 12 inches square, with a pleated bottom. The bag is made of a very thick plastic, and claims that the Grill Care Company are "The Outdoor Cooking Experts".
This bag contains 60 briquettes, and states that they are sufficient for most gas grills. These are pretty much the same size, but they aren't identical, like a cookie cutter shaped briquette. Some have rougher edges than others, and some can have edges that are a bit sharp.
Grill Care Ceramic Briquettes are supposed to reduce flare-ups, improve heat distribution, and can replace lava rock.
We have barbecued numerous times this summer, and had great results with the Grill Care Ceramic Briquettes. They are easy to put into the bottom of our gas grill, and they are the same size as a charcoal briquette. They don't really look exactly like the real thing, they have more of a light gray color instead of the dark charcoal color.
Directions say to place them inside a cool grill, laying them 1/2 inch from the perimeter, and leaving 1/4 of an inch between each briquette.
The directions also instruct you to pre-heat the briquettes in the grill with the lid closed for 20 minutes before using for the first time, and to leave the grill on for an additional 15 minutes after every use to burn off the excess grease. We did allow the ceramic briquettes time to heat up before use, but we didn't leave the grill on afterward, that seemed like a waste of propane.
The older briquettes that we replaced never seemed to suffer much by not letting the grill continue cooking after food has been removed. Plus, I am really concerned that if we did leave the gas on, we might forget about it and let it run for hours.
Placement of the briquettes is easy, and they aren't messy like charcoal, remember these are ceramic! When they get very hot, the edges of the briquettes do get that red glow to them, similar to charcoal briquettes. Just as claimed, the ceramic briquettes have never flared up on us, as would hot charcoal if grease dripped onto them.
As they heat up, they help maintain the temperature in our gas grill, and the 60 count bag was just the perfect size for our smaller grill. To give you an idea of how far 60 briquettes will go, the rack on our grill measures 25 inches by 14 inches.
The word "ceramic" conjurs up images of something fragile, but these briquettes are not fragile, and because of their uniform square shape, they are much easier to place in the bottom of a grill than odd shaped lava rock.
We are very pleased with the Grill Care Ceramic Briquettes. They come with a three year limited warranty against any defects in material and workmanship. The bag retailed for around $7.00, and should last us for several years
The Grill Care Company is a trademark of the CFM corporation, who has offices in Mississauga, ON and Huntington, IN. The product is made in Mexico.