Also known as a barbecue mat, a grill mat is an innovative grilling accessory that can be used in many different ways. Consisting of a large and flat sheet of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), it offers a nonstick surface on which you can grill meats and veggies. Just place the grill mat directly on your grill’s main cooking grate, after which you can add your food to it. If this is your first time hearing about grill mats, though, you might be wondering how exactly they can be used.

#1) Eggs

It’s nearly impossible to cook eggs on a standard grill. Maybe you’re camping and want to make a plate of scrambled eggs, or perhaps you’re grilling hamburgers and want to top off the patties with a sunny-side-up egg. Regardless, cooking eggs directly on the grate will result in some of the eggs running down and onto your charcoal or wood. You can still cook eggs on the grill, but you need an accessory like a grill mat to prevent them from falling through the grate. With a grill mat, you can cook scrambled eggs or sunny-side-up eggs on your grill.

#2) Fish

In addition to eggs, you can use a grill mat to cook fish. Whether it’s salmon, mahi-mahi, flounder, grouper, tilapia, etc., fish is difficult to cook on the grill for two reasons: it oftentimes flakes apart and falls through the grate, and the skin tends to stick to the grate. Both of these problems can be avoided by using a grill mat. The nonstick surface of a grill mat prevents fish from both falling through the grate as well as sticking to it.

#3) Small Veggies

A grill mat is the perfect solution for grilling small veggies. While some veggies are large enough to place directly on the grate, others are too small. You can’t just place chopped onions or cherry tomatoes on the grill, for example. Without an accessory like a grill mat, they’ll fall through the grate. To cook small veggies on the grill, place a grill mat over the grate. Once the grill mat has reached an appropriate temperature — the ideal temperature varies depending on the type of veggies you are cooking — you can add your small veggies to it. There are other ways to cook small veggies on the grill, such as using a grill basket or aluminum pan. But if you don’t have access to any of these items, you can always use a grill mat.

Photo: erik forsberg

#4) Pizza

Grill mats can even be used to cook pizza. Like many other foods mentioned here, pizza is difficult to cook on the grill. The doughy crust will stick to the grate as it heats up, preventing you from achieving a crisp, well-cooked crust. But it’s perfectly fine to cook pizza on the grill — you just need a grill mat. Make sure your grill mat is large enough to support your pizza. If it’s too small, you can try placing two grill mats next to each other. As long as your pizza is placed on the grill mat rather than the grate, the crust shouldn’t stick to it. Of course, you also don’t have to worry about pizza sauce dripping through the grate if you use a grill mat.

#5) Melting Cheeses

When melting cheeses on your grill, consider using a grill mat. It’s not uncommon for cheese to drip down through the grate. And depending on how much cheese you use, it could cause your charcoal or wood to flare up. You can keep your cheese on your food, however, by using a grill mat. Just place your food on the grill mat, and after it has finished cooking, add your desired cheese or cheeses while your food is still on the grill mat. You may have to clean some excess cheese off the grill mat, but none of the cheese should fall through the grate if you use a grill mat.

#6) Kebabs

If you’ve cooked kebabs on the grill, you probably know how difficult it is. Assuming you use wooden or bamboo skewers, the scorching-hot temperature of your grill may cause them to ignite and burn. While you can prevent this from happening by using metal skewers, many home chefs prefer the added flavor of wooden or bamboo skewers. A grill mat allows you to safely cook kebabs using wooden or bamboo skewers by protecting the skewers from direct heat. Your kebabs will still cook when placed on a grill mat, but they’ll cook at a lower temperature, meaning wooden or bamboo skewers shouldn’t burn.

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