I used to use Lava rocks, then I switched to the ceramic briquettes, my pal uses higher priced ceramic briquettes, and now I have bought some kind of metal shield with many small holes in it. It replaces all of the above. Not as many flare ups, but still a few.
I suppose now I just have an outdoor oven?
I have also seen a shield that appears to be cast aluminum with bezeled facets moulded into the surface to also replace the rocks.
A long time grill salesman I know says that the lava and the briquettes(fake) do exactly the same thing. Amplify and distribute the heat ..a little. They also soak up some of the grease and juices of whatever you are grilling and may return some "flavor" to something you grill later. He says the cheaper Lava works just as well as the briquettes.
Have you ever noticed that in the ads that the fake briquettes are glowing like real coals? I usually grill in daylight but my sales friend says very few if any of the briquettes come into close enough flame contact to glow at all.
My question is what is you guys opinion of all the forms of grill "rocks" or shields and what do you think they accomplish?
BTW I much prefer my charcoal pit too, and use it 4 to 1 over the gasser.