Hot Rock Dinner

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About the Rock[edit]

This is a fun interactive dinner, like a fondue, but better.

Set the hot stone on the rack on the table, provide guests with fondue forks and bowls of raw ingredients like steak, shrimp, fish, and vegetables, and let them cook their own dinner! A great way to spend an evening.

You can get these stones, with alcohol burners and stand at I'm not endorsing that site in particular, but they sell the same stone as I have and the price seems right. I don't recall where I got mine. One of these stones holds enough to feed four people in a reasonable amount of time. I have two and use both when feeding six or more.

It is helpful to have fondue plates. We like to make a variety of homemade sauces and try different combinations. Steak with Tarragon Butter, shrimp with mustard sauce, vegetables with aioli, etc..

Getting the Rock Ready[edit]

(Adapted shamelessly from the abovementioned site)

  • Before using your Hot Stone for the first time, clean with soap and water and dry thoroughly.
  • Each time before use, place the Hot Stone in the wire holder and put into a cool oven. Heat to 450° for 20 - 30 minutes.
  • Place alcohol burners onto burner stand and fill with 70% isopropyl alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol). If you are having trouble lighting the burners try warming up the bottle of alcohol in warm water to get it above room temperature before filling and lighting burners.
  • Light the burners. Adjust the burners by sliding the handle to the right and left until the burners burn without noticeable smoke. Estimated burning time for full burners is 70 minutes. Periodically check adjustment.
  • Be sure to use heavy, heat-protective gloves or pads whenever handling the heated Hot Stone. All surfaces of the Hot Stone and wire rack will be extremely hot and may burn anything it comes in contact with. Place the heated Hot Stone and holder on to the burner stand.
  • Grease the top (side with groove) of the Hot Stone with a small amount of salad oil or cooking spray.
  • If desired, sprinkle a small amount of course salt on the grill before grilling each time.
  • After using, allow stone to cool completely (at least 30 minutes) then wash the Hot Stone with soapy warm water using the Hot Stone Cleaning Tool (Not Included), scrub pad or scraping device. (I don't use soap, I treat the stone like cast iron. Hot water and a razor scraper to get the bulk off, then finish with a plastic brush.)
  • The appearance of thin cracks in the stone is normal and will not affect the strength or function of the Hot Stone.

What to cook[edit]

Best results are with thin (1/4 inch thick) slices of sirloin or tenderloin, and raw shrimp, peeled and deveined. Ahi tuna, salmon, etc, are all fine. White flaky fish may fall apart too easily though. Green onions, bell pepper, and slices of portobello mushroom all work well. Pearl onions are good but tend to roll off the stone a lot!

For obvious cross-contamination reasons, pork and poultry are not really suitable. If you absolutely must have it for some reason, pre-cook those items completely, then just reheat them on the stone.

Scallops work ok, but you may want to cut large sea scallops into smaller pieces. Dry-pack scallops are preferred.

You can certainly marinate the meat if you like. Word of caution: bulgogi (Korean beef with soy and sesame seeds) omit the sesame seeds! Toast them separately and add afterwards, or you'll have hundreds of little eye-seeking hot sesame-seed missiles launching at your face.


  • Any of your favorite bottled sauces are A-OK. A1, worcestershire, pickapeppa, various hot sauces, etc.
  • The biggest hit with first-timers to the Rock at my table is invariably the Tarragon Butter.
    Tarragon Butter
    90% of the time my favorite thing is to just have a bunch of that, a little pile of good grey sea salt, and another little pile of freshly cracked black pepper. Grill a nibble of steak, rub it on the butter a little, and then dip the corner into the salt and pepper and eat.
  • My mom likes to make a mild mustard sauce comprising something like 4:1 cole slaw dressing to prepared mustard.
  • Fresh or prepared horseradish is always great with seared meats. Or you can make Tiger Sauce, which is horseradish, mayo, sugar, vinegar, and salt.
  • Cocktail sauce and/or tartar sauce are always good for seafood of course.

Other tips[edit]

  • Don't forget a big crusty baguette.
  • Make the tarragon butter in advance, roll it in waxed paper, twist the ends, and freeze it. Then thaw and slice into neat rounds for serving. Looks sharp as hell. Slather extra on that baguette.
  • Get a good squeeze bottle and mark it clearly as !!!poison!!! Fill it with the rubbing alcohol and use that to fill the burners. This is much easier than filling from that metal can.
  • You can get the fuel for cheap at the hardware store, or for a whole lot of money at a kitchen store.
  • If your burners run out of fuel, don't panic. Remove the entire stone and rack to a safe place. Never try to refill a lit burner, or a burner next to a lit one. Extinguish both, refill, and relight both (preferably with a long lighter or match.) Then replace the stone.
  • If it is your first time, Figure out how the whole thing fits together before you heat it up.
  • Never try to pick up something hot with a damp towel. This goes double for a 450-degree slab of marble.