How Do You Use a BBQ Mat?

How Do You Use a BBQ Mat?

First, were you looking for the type of bbq mat that you put under your bbq grill to catch splatters and protect your deck or patio? If so, click here, because you’re in the wrong place. Otherwise read on about the bbq grill mat, the nonstick cooking surface for your barbecue.

You’d think the answer to the question would be obvious – you put the bbq mat on the barbecue grate and you cook on it, and that’s how you use a bbq mat. Well, yes, it’s almost that simple, but you’d be amazed at some of the pictures I receive from customers showing what people have done to their bbq mats – simply because they don’t know how to use them properly.

bbq mat from chef caronFirst of all, a bbq mat isn’t much to look at. It’s nothing more than a large rectangle of flexible black material. (If you want to know more about how bbq mats are constructed and what they’re made from, click here).  But don’t let appearances deceive you. If you’ve purchased a high quality bbq grill mat, then you’ve actually acquired a high end cooking and barbecuing tool. You’ll need to treat it appropriately.

Caring for your BBQ Mat
BBQ mat bbq fireIn many ways a bbq mat needs to be cared for like any other expensive nonstick cookware. Keep the heat on low or medium and never expose the bbq mat to temperatures above 500 degrees Fahrenheit. I realize there are some manufacturers out there that are claiming their mats are good up to 600 degrees, but all bbq grill mats are made from the same material, and the 500 degree limit is set by the FDA – because of the fact that a bbq mat will begin to break down under higher temperatures, possibly contaminating the air and your food.

Use the Correct Tools
nonstick bbq mat silicone tongsDon’t use metal tools and even when using the correct tools,  silicone or soft plastic, don’t scrape the surface of the bbq mat excessively. Turning foods with a pair of silicone tipped tongs is preferable to flipping them with a spatula.

Be Smart About What You’re Cooking
Don’t cook sticky sauces and other sticky foods on the mats. As with nonstick pans there are going to be foods that stick to them and will be difficult to clean off. Use common sense.

I use the bbq mats to cook fresh vegetables, chicken, certain fish, shrimp, Dinner on a BBQ Mat Chef Caronhash browns, bacon, sausage, pancakes and fried eggs, for example. But I don’t cook steak on them because I like my steaks cooked on high heat and cooked quickly.  The high heat cooking is not appropriate for a bbq mat. And some whitefish is just too sticky and will make a mess of the mat.

BBQ Mat Rule of Thumb

So here’s a rule of thumb for cooking with a BBQ grill mat. Don’t use the bbq mats to replace techniques you are already using on the grill – techniques that are working for you. Instead, use the bbq mats to expand your grilling options; Use them to grill things that weren’t possible without a bbq mat. Or use them to grill in a different, hopefully better way. If you’re looking for grill marks, then stick the food directly on the grill, for pete’s sake.  And try slow cooking pork or chicken on a bbq mat to retain flavor and moisture. I think the results are phenomenally better.

Lastly, there are a lot more uses for a bbq mat than being able to fry eggs on a grill. You can use them for a range of nonstick applications. They can be cut to any size or shape as long as you’re using very sharp cutting tools. You can use them in the bottom of your oven as a drip catcher, in your stovetop wells, in a smoker, on cookie sheets, as a baking sheet or for anything else you can imagine, as long as you follow the temperature rules.

Hope that helps. Happy grilling, Chef Caron

 

How to Clean a Grill Grate Without a Brush

How to Clean a Grill Grate Without a Brush

BBQ FireObviously this is ultimately a post about how to clean a grill grate without a brush, but before we get to that there’s something more important that needs to be covered. From time to time I get emails from customers about how their grill caught on fire and totally destroyed their meal  and their grill tools as well. While it is certainly possible to start a grill fire by overloading a grill with greasy meat, and cooking it too fast, most often the grill overloading is not the root cause of the fire. What is? Continue reading

Grill Mats – Splatter Mat Deck & Patio Protectors

You most likely got to this page by searching for “Grill Mats.” From that we can conclude that you’re looking either for a deck protector mat (splatter mat) or a nonstick grilling mat (bbq grill mat) so before we continue, let’s find out which it is.

Chef Caron BBQ Grill Mat on Grill
BBQ Grill Mat – Nonstick Grilling Sheet

Were you searching for Barbecue Grill Mats that are used on the grates of the barbecue grill to protect them and to keep food from falling into the flames? Like the black mat pictured on the left?  If this is what you’re looking for, click on the image, and you will be transferred to the page that reviews that type of bbq grill mats.

gas grill splatter mat grill mat
Grill Mat – Splatter Mat

. . . or were you searching for the type of Grill Mats that fit under the barbecue unit like a rug and protect your deck or patio from splatters like the one shown in the image to the left? If so then read on because you came to the right place!

Grill Mats – Splatter Mat Deck
& Patio Protectors

It’s great idea to use a grill mat or splatter mat to protect your deck or patio. After all, it’s very difficult to remove grease spots from those surfaces, and considering the relatively low cost involved for a Splatter Mat, it’s wise purchase to make.

Their a quite a few options available that vary in price, size and a few other features. The first thing to decide is how “heavy-duty” your splatter mat needs to be. This will be dependent on much grilling you do. If you grill daily, for example, you’ll need a heavy-duty mat. If you grill a couple of times per season a light-duty mat will suffice.

How Does a Splatter Mat Work?
Some Splatter Mats are constructed from absorbent materials that basically catch, soak up and trap grease and other liquids that get spilled when using your bbq grill. Others are made from an impermeable material that catches drips and holds them  on the surface for later cleaning.

Many of the absorbent material Splatter Mats available on the market are also reversible, so that if one side starts to look a bit unpresentable you can flip it over and use the other side.

How Big is a Splatter Mat?
Splatter Mats come in varying sizes that range from 30 x 40 up to 40 x 60 and pretty much everything in between.  Let’s take a closer a look at some of the better options out there.

TOP TEN SPLATTER MAT – GRILL MAT / DECK PROTECTORS

 

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OUR TOP 3 RECOMMENDATIONS:

OPTION 1: The Gas Grill Splatter Mat


This is a black deck protector which the manufacturer says is designed specifically for gas grills. It’s available in two sizes: 30 x 48 and 30 x 60. Both sizes are reversible and can be used on any surfaces, including slate, brick, stone, cement and wood or composite decking without sticking or marking the surface.

The pad is flexible, and is constructed from two fiber materials separated by a “patented barrier media” that prevents the drips from seeping through to the other side. What this means to the user is a truly reversible mat, as the oil and grease on the used side will not soak through to the opposite surface.

Some buyers will be attracted to the fact that these mats are made with 100% recyclable materials, a feature that sets them apart from most other mats on the market in that one regard.

You can read more on the Amazon Product Page if interested.



OPTION 2: Grill & Garage Protective Mat


This is a different style of mat from the splatter mat described above, but they both serve the same purpose. However this mat isn’t designed to soak up the grease – instead it is grease resistant and, according to the manufacturer, it is also easy to wipe clean.

It’s flame and oil resistant, and features a rubber backing which will keep it from blowing away or sliding. It has a diamond plate finish and can roll up for easy winter storage.

In my opinion this is an ideal mat for concrete surfaces but the rubber backing could leave marks on natural wood or composite. It’s also a great mat for multi-purpose applications and would work well in a shop or garage workspace. Click on the image for more information or to purchase.



OPTION 3: DiversiTech The Ultra Grill Mat

The DiversiTech comes with a 10-year warranty which makes it a standout in terms of the company customer support. It also has the highest level of temperature protection of any splatter mat that I’ve seen, withstanding temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.

You can use this mat on wood, tile, slate, brick, stone and concrete and it will function well under all types of grills and even under fire pits.  Even in harsh conditions The DiversiTech Ultra Grill Mat is flexible and won’t tear, curl up on the edges or crack from heat exposure – it’s guaranteed.

According to the manufacturer, “The DiversiTech ULTRA Grill Mat sets a new standard for surface protection unrivaled by any product on the market and targets the outdoor enthusiast who demands the best possible protection.” Click on the image for more information or to purchase.

Grill Mats – Which Type Do You Mean? We’ve Got Both

Grill Mats – Which Type Do You Mean?

You probably arrived at this page because you were searching for “Grill Mats.” This means you are most definitely looking for one of two things, and we need to get you headed in the right direction by figuring out which one you’re searching for.

gas grill splatter mat grill mat
Grill Mat – Splatter Mat

Are you looking for the type that are used to place on the deck, patio or ground under the barbecue grill that look like the image to the left? If this is what you’re looking for, click on the image and you will be transferred to the page that reviews that type of grill mats.

Chef Caron BBQ Grill Mat on Grill
BBQ Grill Mat – Nonstick Grilling Sheet

. . . or are you looking for the bbq Grill Mats that you place on the grates of the barbecue grill to use as a cooking surface? If this is what you’re looking for then read on. You’re in the right place.

Grill Mats – What Are They?

grill mats - from Chef CaronThey go by many different names. They are referred to as bbq grill mats, grilling mats, nonstick cooking mats, baking mats, Teflon® sheets, reusable grill mats, bbq sheets, barbecue grill mats, etc. That’s only a few of the different references people use, but you get the idea. They all refer to the same item or product.

Construction
Grill Mats are a thin rectangle of flexible material (between .1mm and .25mm thick, depending on quality) that have the same nonstick features as a Teflon® pan. They are usually around 13 x 16 inches in size, and are currently available in either black or tan coloration. They can be rolled up and can be cut to different shapes and sizes for a large variety of nonstick applications. More on that later.

Grill Mats are produced with the same nonstick surfacing that is safe nonstick-cookware - grill matsused in other nonstick cookware, but there are some major differences. The nonstick material used for both pans grill mats, is called PTFE which is short for polytetrafluoroethylene.  In the case of grill mats, the PTFE is applied to a piece of wide-weave cloth – the same type used as an under-surface for fiberglassing. It’s important to point out that a grill mat does not contain any fiberglass, just the cloth used in fiberglass applications.

In the production of a grill mat, because the PTFE is being applied to a flexible surface, we are able to apply a much thicker layer of the nonstick coating. With more a higher quality (and more expensive) grill mat, such as Kona and Chef Caron, the PTFE is applied to the point where there is very little surface texture, creating an ultra-slick surface that is quite durable and still completely flexible.

Application

Grill mats are easy to use. You simply place them directly on your Dinner on grill matsgrill grate and cook your food on them. As with any nonstick cookware, the FDA has set safety limits on the temperature levels. You’ll never want to use any of your nonstick cookware, including the grill mats, at temperatures above 500 degrees fahrenheit. PTFE is highly stable and impervious to water and even harsh chemical solvents within that temperature range. Not that you’re going to be cooking any chemical solvents, but I’m just pointing out that it’s impossible to damage a grill mat by cooking on it, UNLESS YOU OVERHEAT THEM! I put that in all caps because people do overheat them and yes, it does ruin the mats.

One reason that so many mats get damaged by excess heat is BBQ Firebecause the users don’t realize that you can’t grill the same way with grill mats as you would without them. For example, even though I use grill mats constantly on my barbecue, I still cook most meats the traditional way, with very high heat and short cook times. You wouldn’t want to use grill mats when doing that type of grilling. Stick with what you know, and use the grill mats for things you can’t do without them – like making breakfast on the grill with bacon, pancakes, sausage, fried eggs and hashbrowns, for example, or cook chopped vegetables, fish or shrimp.

Are They All The Same?

If you’ve been shopping for grill mats you will have noticed that prices range from just a few dollars up to around twenty dollars for a set of two mats. Why this big price difference? Easily explained. You can manufacture a grill mat for as little as 60 cents. That will be a very thin mat (.1mm), small in size (13 x 15), with the lightest possible amount of PTFE. This is what you can accurately call a “cheap grill mat,” and you could probably get them on Amazon for as little as $6 a set. You’ll be lucky to get more than a few uses out of them before they disintegrate. In this case you get exactly what you pay for.

On the other end of the equation you can purchase a mat that is thick (.25mm), large in size (13.5 x 17), and has multiple applications of PTFE. You can identify these grill mats with generous PTFE, because the texture of the underlying cloth is almost invisible. On cheaper mats you can clearly see the checkerboard of the cloth through the thin layer of PTFE.  This type of mat is expensive to produce and will be easy to use, easy to clean and will last a long time if you don’t overheat it.

The Chef Caron BBQ Grill Mats

Chef Caron BBQ Grill Mats Packaging
Click the image to Read More on Amazon or to Purchase the Grill Mats

 

 

 

Yoshi Grill Mat Review

Yoshi-Grill-Mat-ReviewYoshi Grill Mat Review

Grillmats are interesting and popular barbecue utensils, but being what they are, they don’t offer a wide range of features. That doesn’t leave a lot of material to draw from for a BBQ grill mat review. For that reason, when reviewing them I like to focus on just two main aspects of the product: the specifications, and a comparison between what is advertised and what is delivered. So let’s jump right in to this Yoshi Grill Mat Review. Continue reading