Grill mats are fast becoming the must-have BBQ accessory. And from what I have ascertained through my own personal experience, I can say that it is more than justifiable.
Let’s be honest, cooking is the best part of the whole BBQ experience. Slapping some perfectly marinated meat onto the grill and nursing it through the cooking process to ensure it’s delivered in pristine condition is fundamentally what owning a grill is all about. The part that sucks is the part that always sucks – cleaning. That marinade sure does love to stick to the grill. And although our cleaning know-how has matured greatly in a relatively short space of time, there is still often a time that you will find yourself scrubbing away furiously on that burnt-in piece of marinated chicken.
If you are looking for the best grill mat for your deck I have written a separate article on this subject. Check it out!
Grill mats allow you to bypass this whole infuriating process by offering a non-stick solution for your grill. As well as this, they allow you to do other stuff such as cook the more fiddly foodstuffs. Items like onions, mushrooms, asparagus and bell peppers were previously consigned to some foil in the corner of your grill which was far from an ideal situation. The problem has always been that these vegetables could easily slip through the spaces in the grill and end up on the scorching coals.
Fish also becomes a much more viable option on your BBQ now thanks to grill mats. I love a bit of tuna steak or bass on the BBQ but for the life of me, I could never grill it without leaving half the fish behind. No amount of oil on the fish itself or on the grill would stop the delicate meat from permanently attaching itself. With the aid of grill mats though, this problem is a non-issue. The fish cooks beautifully evenly and (as with all other meats and veg) leave behind the grill marks that are so desirable.
- 1 4 Best Grill Mats
- 2 Things to Look for in the Best Grill Mats for Cooking
- 3 Grill Mat FAQs
- 3.1 What is a Grill Mat?
- 3.2 It sounds like there are a lot of chemicals involved. Are they safe?
- 3.3 All these mats seem the same. Are there any differences?
- 3.4 How do you use a grill mat?
- 3.5 Can you reuse a grill mat?
- 3.6 What utensils can I use on the grill mat?
- 3.7 How do you clean a grill mat?
- 3.8 Are there any alternative uses for grill mats?
- 4 Final Thoughts
4 Best Grill Mats
We will talk a little later about how similar BBQ mats are to each other and what, if anything, to look out for but for now we would like to show you the 4 best grill mats in our opinion.
Kona Best BBQ Grill Mats for Outdoor Grill
The Kona grill mat is the thickest mat you will see here at 0.39mm. This is not to say that thicker is better (as we shall suggest later on) but it does help with the product’s durability. To supplement this notion of longevity you will find that this non-stick grill mat comes with a 7-year guarantee, which looks on paper to cover almost all accidental occurrences.
With this purchase, you get two BBQ grill mats that measure 16in x 13in and come with the claim of 1000 uses on each and every side, although I’m unable to verify this as yet. 1000 uses is a lot of BBQ though so I’m sure we will be able to verify these claims sometime in the near future.
These grill mats also offer the highest cooking temperature limits at 600 degrees Fahrenheit. This, I can confirm is a true statement. Although I have personally not achieved these temperatures a very good friend has whilst searing his steak.
Grillaholics Grill Mat
Grillaholics offer their extremely well-selling grilling mats which come with an outstanding lifetime replacement guarantee. In theory, that suggests that all you will ever need to buy is one set of these grill mats and that is you set for life. From what I can see they are basically the same T&Cs as the Kona guarantee, but if this is a deal breaker I would dig down a little deeper.
These particular grill mats measure 15.75in x 13in and are 0.10mm thick. This is considerably thinner than the Kona grill mat but again, I wouldn’t let that worry you. There’s more to a grill mat than the thickness it has. The highest recommended cooking temperature for these mats is 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Which whilst being less than the Kona mats is still more than plenty for any BBQ needs.
This Grillaholics model is a favorite among users looking for an extremely flat, level, and nonstick mat. This mat is an excellent bit of kit to make sure that you don’t experience any sticking problems if you frequently grill delicate foods like fish. It is substantial and thick enough to shield the fish from strong flavors while still preserving the distinctive grilled flavor. Users adore having the flexibility to make smaller meals, such as eggs, vegetables, and crumbled sausage. These mats are on the pricey side, but given their excellent quality, they are worth the extra money.
Grillaholics Round BBQ Grill Mat
Grillaholics offer this round BBQ grill mat that obviously favors grills such as the Big Green Egg or other Kamodo or a kettle grill. It’s actually a set of 2, 15in in diameter mats. So assuming you don’t have 2 grills you can use the other mat as a cookie tray or having it serve as an oven protector.
As with all the mats here, the Grillaholics mats possess FDA approval and are dishwasher safe. These mats will go up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. And although there is no bona fide guarantee that I noticed, there is a 100% money-back option if you are not completely satisfied.
Aoocan Copper Grill Mat Set
These set of 5 BBQ grill mats from Aoocan are certainly striking at first glance. There’s definitely something about gold that makes you stop and notice but as far as I can see, these grill mats are just like all the others that I have suggested here. That’s not to say that’s a bad thing. It means they are good, functional mats that can easily be used on your grill.
What I like about these mats though is that they’re different from the standard black mats that are widely prevalent. This means we can put them to some kind of use. And my use for these Gold or copper mats is to have them as a food separator.
By this I mean I can eliminate any kind of cross-contamination between foods. So if someone is a vegan or if someone has allergies to something that might be in one of my marinades, I can use these different colored mats to easily identify which food should be kept separate.
Cook Time BBQ Grill Mesh Mat Set
This mesh mat from Cook Time is a fantastic choice if you’re looking for a grill mat. By choosing mesh, you may increase the amount of smoke and flame your food is exposed to while ensuring that it stays away from the grill grates, which makes cleaning the grill simple. These mats are completely compatible with gas, electric, pellet, and charcoal barbecues and are food safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Reviewers note that while being nonstick and dishwasher safe, the mesh can be challenging to completely clean because of its numerous nooks and crannies.
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Things to Look for in the Best Grill Mats for Cooking
As you can see, there are a ton of different grill mats on the market. To help you get a nice barbecue mat, I’m going to give you some advice on what to look for. This will simplify the decision-making process for you.
You’ll probably spend between $10 and $25 on grill mats, so you don’t need to worry about there being a significant price difference between various kinds. The fact that a higher quality mat is not significantly more expensive than a basic one means that you are much better off choosing one with a thicker design that can resist high temperatures.
Size and Shape
The size of your grill and the mat should be taken into account first. Flare-ups will result from a grill mat that is too small since the juices won’t be contained. Look for one that is either too big or around the size of your barbecue. It’s okay if it’s too large because you can cut it to size and make it suit your barbecue precisely.
I’d also want to note that not all grills are rectangular, so if you have a Kamado Joe or kettle grill you won’t need to do any DIY on your mat because round grill mats are readily available.
Resistance to Heat
Although it may seem obvious, a decent grill mat must be able to resist extremely high temperatures in order to function effectively. Generally speaking, ensure the mat you’re considering can withstand heat up to 500 F without melting or burning. Although you probably won’t be cooking at that high a temperature, it’s a desirable trait to have for durability’s sake.
Additionally, it’s crucial to keep your grill mat at least 6 inches away from the flame. Despite their excellent heat resistance, your grill mat can still melt if the flame touches it. The most likely outcome is that it merely warps it. So simply keep it well above the heat as a courtesy to yourself.
There is a sweet spot; thicker doesn’t always equate to better. About 0.25mm is perfect. Your mat will burn through if it is thinner because it will heat up too quickly. However, thicker mats won’t cook your food as evenly, so that’s a problem. You’ll still get those lovely grill marks with the 0.25mm (0.01 inches) thickness because it heats evenly. Additionally, it is thick enough to ensure the longevity of your grill mat.
The top copper grill mats are strong enough to withstand repeated use. Some of them have 520 repetitions per one. Other goods have a 200-time lifespan per mat. The mat’s thickness and manufacturer both play a role.
On a copper grill mat, you should avoid using metal utensils as they could scratch the non-stick surface and remove the protective layer.
Nobody wants to work up a sweat attempting to scrub food off that has clung to the grill mat or to flip delicate meat and have it fall apart as you do so because it stuck to the mat. To avoid this simply choose a grill mat with a PTFE coating.
However, what is superior to a PTFE coating? A PTFE double-coating! Yes, your grill mat will cost a little bit more due to the double coating. However, it also means that the mat will be more efficient and last longer. In my opinion, this trade-off is worthwhile.
Grill mats are often composed of PTFE-fiberglass cloth, but they can also be coated with copper for even grilling and better visibility of the food than a mat that is all black. Additionally, PTFE-fiberglass fabric with holes or mesh is available; these materials allow more smoke to reach the meal.
The main benefit of grill mats for folks like myself who despise cleaning is that they are simple to clean and leave no mess on your grill. Look for mats that can be put in the dishwasher when purchasing. Additionally, they are readily cleaned by hand using soap and water.
Since grill mats were created to keep your barbecue racks clean, they should be simple to clean.
Warranty for Grill Mat
Most grill mats have a minimal, if any, guarantee because they are often relatively affordable. To ensure that you do not have to worry about harming your grill mat, look for a guarantee that is as long as possible.
The surface of your grill mat is the final thing to think about. And this time, I’m not talking about the topcoat. We’re referring to the “texture” of the surface. For instance, the majority of available grill mats feature a solid surface. Some, though, have holes and some are mesh.
These distinctions are crucial because grill mats with non-solid surfaces permit grease to pass through them. Grease pools on grill mats when cooking, which is a typical complaint, thus a non-solid mat could be advantageous. In other words, meals may come out oily and fail to become crispy. The risk of grease fires is also increased. Imagine flare-ups, but this time they happen above the grate. Very bad.
While having a route for the grease to drain reduces the risk of grease fires and improves the quality of the food, it also means that even after using a grill mat, you’ll need to clean your grill. The truth that grill mats help make cleanup simple is one of the things that people love about them. The only things you need to clean after cooking are the mat and the utensil because the majority of grill mats feature a sturdy grilling surface. There’s no need to clean the grill anymore. If your grill mat is mesh or has holes you lose that advantage.
Before making your buy, you should think about this. A potential answer? Purchase one of each variety and decide which you prefer!
Grill Mat FAQs
Investing in a nice grill mat is a terrific method to make sure that you don’t lose any food along the road or if you’re weary of having meat get trapped between your grill grates.
In addition, its enormous surface area gives you a wide range of cooking options. Grilling fish, vegetables, and eggs can turn out well.
The most typical queries from those looking to purchase a grill mat are listed below.
What is a Grill Mat?
A grill that is a non-stick mat made primarily from fiberglass cloth and PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene). The PTFE is the non-stick material which is commonly confused with Teflon. Whereas Teflon is by far the best-known brand of PTFE, that is ultimately all it is – a brand.
It sounds like there are a lot of chemicals involved. Are they safe?
Always check to see if your product has FDA approval. The vast majority of grill mats are FDA approved and are totally safe to cook on. But there will always be some rogue companies out there looking to cash in with an inferior product. The melting point of PTFE is 623 degrees Fahrenheit. So if you feel you have exceeded this temperature or have come extremely close I would think about purchasing some new mats.
All these mats seem the same. Are there any differences?
There are differences between all mats. Some have been addressed on this page already such as size and thickness and some haven’t been mentioned yet such as layers of PTFE used.
- Thickness – In my experience, the thickness isn’t a massive issue. I have cooked with both the thinner and thicker mats and although there are small differences such as the prominence of grill marks and time to heat up to temperature, I found no real discernible difference in the BBQ grill mat’s performance.
- Size – Grill mats come in all shapes and sizes. The best thing I could advise is to buy as big a mat as you can. The differences in price are negligible and the mats are easy to cut to size if so required.
- Layers of PTFE – This relates directly to the quality of the product that you have purchased. Obviously the more layers of PTFE that are in your grill mat then the better quality product you will have. This is not information that is standardized in ways such as size and thickness are, however. Instead, you will need a good eye, a good touch and a bit of experience. Knowing what good quality PTFE products look and feel like is a must. So I would suggest acquainting yourself with a high-quality Teflon pan and transferring that knowledge over. Ideally, the surface should be almost slick with just a hint of the minute squares that make up the coating.
How do you use a grill mat?
Grill mats are extremely easy to use. Think of them as hot plates or griddle pans that can fit on your grill, only non-stick. You can use grill mats on any kind of grill as long as you place them around 7in away from the heat source.
Can you reuse a grill mat?
You can use the best grill mats hundreds to thousands of times each. As long as you maintain them well you will have no problems. And even if you do, many manufacturers offer some kind of guarantee.
What utensils can I use on the grill mat?
Treat your grill mat in exactly the same way you would your non-stick pans. This means using plastic-based utensils and not metal ones. These can scratch the coating of the grill and render it ineffective over time.
How do you clean a grill mat?
Grill mats are super easy to clean. After use on your grill, wipe the mats with a paper towel to remove excess grease and fat. Then place them in the dishwasher or hand wash them immediately with soapy water. Always place grill mats on the upper shelf of your dishwasher.
Are there any alternative uses for grill mats?
Grill mats can prove to be very versatile. They are excellent when used for cooking pizzas or making cookies. You can use them as a drip catcher for the bottom of your oven. And you can also use them as pan liners to help cut down on cleaning after using your casserole dishes and other such items.
The barbecue mat that best meets your demands is the greatest grill mat. The Kona XL Best Grill Mat is my favorite, but any of the mats mentioned above should work well for a variety of grilling tasks.
You’ll be all set if you just remember to find a grill mat with a temperature rating high enough for your typical barbecue temps and shaped to fit your grill.