Are ceramic briquettes worth it? Grilling advice from experts

Ceramic briquettes are increasingly popular, but are they actually effective?

gas grill on a deck
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Grill season has returned, and if you're looking to step up your grill game, you've probably seen ceramic briquettes advertised all over the place. 

These little bricks are becoming more and more popular as a way to safety-proof your grill and even improve its flavor. 

I've tested the best grills for years, so I know all the benefits and drawbacks of ceramic briquettes. I also spoke to chefs and other experts to find out more about these accessories, and whether or not they're worth buying.

Chef Master Ceramic Briquettes

(Image credit: Chef Master)

What's the point of a ceramic briquette?

large stainless-steel gas grill on a patio

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ceramic briquettes are little ceramic bricks for gas grills. They offer a couple of advantages. The first is that they stop flare-ups, which is why you might also see them advertised as 'flame tamers'. This is important because flare-ups can not only burn your food but can potentially cause grease fires. 

Chef Pete Geoghegan told me that 'They basically are a buffer between the meat and the flame', which makes your grill a little safer to use. 

The second is that ceramic briquettes help to distribute heat more evenly. Gas grills work with burners, usually lines of gas pipes, or more rarely, a ring of gas pipes. This means that there are lines along the grill that are much hotter than the rest of the surface. Ceramic briquettes absorb and reflect heat so that the temperature is even across the whole grill, making the grill more efficient. 

However, some grill warranties are void if you use ceramic briquettes, so double-check your guarantee. 

Pete Geoghegan

Pete graduated with honors from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA). He is currently the Culinary Director of Cargill’s North American Protein business.

Do ceramic briquettes improve flavor?

A stainless steel grill in a back yard with gravel, grass and a table

(Image credit: GettyImages)

Ceramic briquettes can also improve flavor but don't expect any huge changes. one of the big drawbacks of gas grills is that they don't taste as good as charcoal. That's because charcoal grills vaporize any fats that fall onto the coals making an incredible smoky flavor that infuses into whatever you're cooking. This doesn't happen with gas grills. However, ceramic briquettes can perform a similar function, vaporizing any fat that falls onto them It's not as intense as it would be with a charcoal grill, but it's a definite improvement. 

There's also the less direct benefit that a more even heat across the grill makes for more uniform cooking. If you have to grill a dozen burgers at once, you always end up with some at the edges of the grill where it's much cooler, and others along the grill that cook a lot faster. 

Ceramic briquettes even out the heat, so you don't have to contend with cool spots, ensuring everyone gets the same burger and none are overcooked or undercooked. Chef Pete Geoghegan told me that 'with more even heat across the grill, you will get a better sear on the protein you're preparing. The sear is where you concentrate a lot of flavor'. 

However, just as with gas grills generally, you can't smoke with ceramic briquettes. Recipe writer Lindsey Chastain told me: 'The main drawback to the briquettes is the flavors that can be infused from using wood chips like hickory to add additional flavor isn't something you can achieve.' Unlike a charcoal grill, you can't add wood chips for smoking your ingredients.

Lindsey Chastain
Lindsey Chastain

Lindsey is a homsteader and recipe writer.

Do ceramic briquettes help save energy?

Because they're so good at radiating heat, ceramic briquettes can also help you save a little fuel. It isn't a huge saving, but ceramic briquettes mean you can maintain a hotter temperature with less fuel, which means fewer trips to fill up your propane tank, and in the long run, less money spent on fuel.

Ceramic briquette FAQs

Are ceramic briquettes reusable?

Yes, ceramic briquettes are reusable. With care, they can last for decades. 

How do you clean ceramic briquettes?

Ceramic briquettes are easy to clean. You have to let them cool, but then you can remove any burnt-off food with a stiff brush. Chef Pete Geoghegan says 'they will basically last forever if you give them a scrubbing to clean off any debris that has baked on'. 

For more advice on grilling, check out my coverage of  grill vs griddle and how much you should spend on a grill

Alex David
Head of eCommerce

As Head of eCommerce, Alex makes sure our readers find the right information to help them make the best purchase. After graduating from Cambridge University, Alex got his start in reviewing at the iconic Good Housekeeping Institute, testing a wide range of household products and appliances. He then moved to BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine, assessing gardening tools, machinery, and wildlife products. Helping people find true quality and genuine value is a real passion.