Tired of losing food through a grill, scrubbing your grates endlessly, or picking bits of foil out of your meal? BBQ grill mats make grilling stress-free by minimizing cleanup and keeping all your food in one place. Made of fiberglass and coated with nonstick material, grill mats are made to be used on top of grill grates. They come in a variety of sizes depending on your cooking style, and most can simply be rolled up and stored with other grilling or camping gear.

BBQ grill mats provide an extra layer between your food and the grating which can makes all the difference and provides several benefits. This is particularly important for those with strong food allergies, as the mat provides a barrier between your meal and any residue left on the grate. And with a grill mat, you no longer need to scrub the grating, which can often take up a lot of time. Most mats can be washed in the top rack of your dishwasher or scrubbed clean with soapy water.

Grill mats can also save food and flavor. Not only do they prevent small pieces of food from dropping through the grate, but they hold all the juices and sauces so that flavor goes back into your meat. Marinades, sauces, and braises are all possible with a grill mat. Because the mat essentially creates a pan or a griddle, you can cook a greater variety of foods on the grill without the hassle of packing heavy cookware. Pancakes, eggs, and hash browns are just a few of the foods that are newly possible on a camping trip when you bring your grill mat.

Even better, they also have uses beyond just grilling. Most can be cut with ordinary scissors and customized to be used as pan liners or oven liners. With such a versatile cooking tool, whipping up a fantastic bbq meal on short notice is easier than ever.

Are BBQ Grill Mats Safe?

Are bbq grill mats safe?

Most grill mats are made from fiberglass cloth and coated with the polymer PTFE — more commonly known by its trade name, Teflon. PTFE is the material used for most cookware, so it’s very popular among home cooks. It has been deemed non-toxic and safe for human consumption, so as long as you’re choosing an FDA-approved product (all of these grill mats are), you can be confident that both the fiberglass and the PTFE are safe for normal use.

PTFE is sometimes confused with PFOA, a toxic compound that was used on nonstick cookware until 2015. You’ll see PFOA-free on most labels, although very few brands use it today anyway. Although PFOA has carcinogenic properties, the American Cancer Society writes that PTFE is not suspected to cause any type of cancer.

Still, it’s important to follow all the manufacturer’s guidelines when using your grill mat. PTFE can sometimes begin to disintegrate at very high temperatures; it has a melting point of 600°F and will begin to break down at temperatures of 400-500°F. Grill mats should not be heated above 500°F, and you should never leave your grill mat unattended.

Finally, a note to those with pets: although PTFE is nontoxic to humans, it is toxic to pet birds, who have unique and highly sensitive respiratory systems. Parrot and bird owners should never use nonstick equipment in a confined space with their pet.

What Can I Cook on a Grill Mat?

What can I cook on a bbq grill mat?

BBQ mats expand the range of possibilities for cooking on a grill because they essentially turn your grill into a piece of high-quality, nonstick cookware. Ask yourself what you normally enjoy cooking on a pan or griddle at home — you can now cook that on your BBQ grill. Pizzas are suddenly easy. Fresh vegetables, fish, shrimp, bacon, or any type of meat are all possibilities. Unlike cooking on a bare grill, any marinade or juices in the meat or fish will stay with food, keeping the flavors intact.

If you covet sear marks on your meat and vegetables, opt for a thinner mat — most will still leave those much-desired grill marks. Users should remember that they will not get sear marks when cooking foods with high amounts of liquid.

As a guideline, it’s best to avoid foods that need to be cooked at very high heat. For example, if you prefer your steak cooked at high temperatures very quickly, skip the barbecue mat.

Also, grill mats should never come in direct or sustained contact with an open flame. If cooking over an open fire, the mat should be placed high enough above it to avoid contact. And, just like you would with a nonstick pan, avoid using sharp or metal utensils that might scratch the nonstick mat surface. Wood or plastic utensils are best.

How Many Times Can You Use a Grill Mat?

How many times can you use a bbq grill mat?

Most sets come with several mats, allowing you to repurpose them for different uses, cut some to a different size, or cover a large area of the grill. Having multiple mats also means you can use a separate mat for each event. All of the mats below are advertised as reusable, and some even claim they can be used up to 100 times. That said, the higher the quality of the mat, the more durable it will be. If you grill frequently, don’t be afraid to invest in a high-quality mat that will hold up to long-term, repeated use.

One thing to note: after the first couple uses, you may notice slight fraying at the edges of your reusable mat, but don’t be concerned. This is because when exposed to heat, some of the fiberglass threads may start to fray. This is easily remedied, however, by trimming the threads down with scissors; it does not mean your mat is falling apart.

When cleaning a reusable grill mat, follow all included instructions. Most can be washed in the top rack of your dishwasher or cleaned by hand with soap and water. Never use abrasive cleaners or scratch pads, because these can easily damage the nonstick surface. For particularly messy meals, you can soak your grill mat in warm water until any residue loosens, but make sure you let it cool before attempting to clean it.

The Best BBQ Grill Mats For Your Money

BBQGO Nonstick Grill Mats, Set of 3

BBQGO nonstick bbq grill mats, set of 3

This set includes three reusable mats made of PTFE-coated fiberglass, and each one measures 13 x 15.75 inches and is 0.3 mm thick. Like most mats, they should not be heated past 500 degrees. If using these mats for more than 30 minutes, the temperature should not exceed 260°F.

Reviewers praise the ease of use and cleanup, while others note how quickly they heat up. These mats are slightly thicker than most, but they’re thin enough to still produce sear marks and can be cut with ordinary scissors for a smaller grill.

To learn more, click here.

KITMA BBQ Grill Mats, Set of 6

Kitma bbq grill mats, set of 6

This set of six reusable mats can be used on any type of grill. Measuring 15.75 x 13 inches, they can be cut down to a smaller size if needed. They’re also dishwasher safe, helping to save you valuable time. In addition to using them as traditional BBQ mats, they can also serve as nonstick oven liners or baking mats. This pack of six allows you to store several for different uses or have enough for high volume cooking.

Reviewers love the ease of use, the wide variety of foods that can be cooked, and the simplicity of cleaning up after grilling. Many were happily surprised that they could still achieve sear marks, and one customer mentioned the ability to retain more moisture in meats such as chicken.

Ready to buy? Click here.

The Copper Kitchen Copper Grill Mats, Set of 2

The copper kitchen bbq grill mats and free basting brush

These copper grill mats measure 15.75 inches x 13 inches and are thin enough to be cut to smaller sizes; the description notes they can even be cut to use in toaster ovens. They also roll up easily and may be used for grilling or oven mats. To clean, wash with soap and water or pop them in the dishwasher when ready.

This set comes with a free basting brush, so if you’re using the mats specifically to cook juicy foods or those with sauces, the basting brush will be a welcome addition.

One reviewer noted that dark sauces like BBQ sauce stained the mat, but grease and other dirt washed off easily.

Read more about them here.

Alto Fresh Premium Copper Grill and Bake Mats, Set of 4

Alto fresh copper bbq grill mats and oil brush

Available in an eye-pleasing copper finish, these mats can be cut to a smaller size for use on compact grills or trimmed for a pan or baking sheet liner. These four mats also come with a silicone brush for marinades.

Reviewers praise their nonstick qualities and the ease of use, and many people mentioned their impressive durability. One reviewer noted that the grill left sear marks on the mat itself that could not be removed. And although most buyers praised how easy these mats are to wash, a few found them trickier to clean than expected.

To read the latest customer reviews, click here.

To Sum it Up…

BBQ grill mats are a must-have tool that will transform your outdoor cooking style. They change a simple grill into a nonstick cooking surface while eliminating messy, time-consuming cleanup. Easy to pack for camping and simple to wash and take home, grill mats are essential for any backyard grill master.

Your new grill mat will eliminate food lost to the coals and allow you to cook pancakes, eggs, bacon, and pizzas — all without the hassle of packing pans or bulky cookware. For chefs concerned about contamination on communal grills, they provide a physical barrier to keep your food safe.

Practical caution should always be taken when cooking around a fire or over a grill — never leave your mat unattended, make sure it cannot blow away, and to prevent grease fires, don’t let grease accumulate on the mat. With common sense, however, your grill mat is an easy-to-use piece of equipment that expands the range of recipes for your next cookout or camping trip.