Grill mats are an affordable way to provide a solid surface to grill on without the expense of a griddle. We discuss some of the best in this helpful guide.
Before buying a new set of grill mats there are a few things shoppers should think about, including the size of the mats, the size of the grill, the grill mats’ construction and thickness, and the maximum temperature the grill mats can withstand.
You wouldn’t want a mat that is too small for your grill. You will miss out on most benefits. Though oversized mats can get cut to fit, it is easier, cheaper, and convenience to use a mat that fits your grill perfectly. Before buying one, ensure you take the measurements of your grill.
Food that sticks on the grilling mat does not look pleasing and may lose its taste. Besides, it makes it difficult to clean the mat. Consider a mat with a non-sticking coat.
The thickness of the grill mat affects the way food on the mat is cooked. Grill mats with a very thin profile will heat up quickly. However, thin mats are also susceptible to being burned, and they degrade more quickly than thicker grill mats.
Thick grill mats have the opposite problem—they take a longer time to transfer heat to the food. Heat isn’t always distributed evenly across the surface of thicker mats, which results in food being cooked unevenly. Grill mats with a thickness of about 0.25 millimeters are recommended. They are the best balance of optimal heat distribution and low probability of the mat being damaged.
Most grill mats' maximum recommended temperatures are roughly the same, and there’s a simple reason for that: grill mats are made of similar materials with slight variations in size, thickness, and functionality. A typical fiberglass grill mat with a coating of PTFE is recommended for grilling at temperatures up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Beyond this point the mat may begin to degrade, contaminating food and producing unpleasant odors.
Some grill mat manufacturers, however, claim that their mats can withstand temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. This may be true—mats that are a little bit thicker or have a double coating of PTFE might withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Based on the materials used to make grill mats, however, the FDA has determined that these mats should not be used at temperatures higher than 500 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a good idea to follow the experts’ advice on this one.
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