Cooking food on a hot stone dates back to prehistoric times. Cave people made use of hot stones to cook slabs of mastodon meat (we’re guessing) and other protein goodies you just can’t buy in the supermarket these days, for large gatherings of hungry carnivores.
Of course, today we have microwave popcorn, ready-made microwave meals, Teflon coated pans and the George Foreman grill (which is awesome) — all of which are luxuries that make cooking easy for lazy would-be chefs. Despite these modern cooking innovations, getting in touch with your primordial side and utilizing a hot stone — or hot stone “replacements” like stone coated frying pans — to sizzle veggies and your favorite cuts of meat at home has lots of surprising benefits.
Before this starts to sound like an infomercial, let’s take a look at the basics of cooking with a hot stone: If you’re cooking meat and veggies, you don’t need a drop of oil to get the job done, and clean up is incredibly easy because you won’t have to worry about scratching any special high-tech coated surface. A variety of hot stones exist, but the premise is basically the same for all of them. A heated stone holds and spreads out the heat very evenly, which creates a robust and simple surface for cooking food.
Hot stones in the oven can be used for pizzas made with rollout pizza dough, as well as cookies. Over a burner, a hot stone can cook pretty much any type of food you’d prepare with a frying pan. If someone gives you, or you purchase a frying pan with a stone-coated bottom, the same rules apply. You can get your “caveman” on by just slapping down a piece of meat on the stone surface, and letting it sizzle without adding any cooking oil. It’s really a no-brainer.
Don’t like to scrub pots and pans? No worries. A hot cooking stone will help you’ll avoid scorching your chow, and simplify cooking prep and clean up. A big stone set over a couple of burners meant for the table can turn meal prep into a communal event, letting everyone grill their own cuts of meat to their personal tastes.
The market is full of different stones and stone-coated pans for you to try out. Once you get your hands on a quality stone or pan, you can indulge in your carnivorous tendencies until your heart and stomach are content, and have lots of fun with your new kitchen “toy” in the process.