BBQ Product Review: Grizzly BBQ Gear Grilling Mat
BBQ Product Review: Grizzly BBQ Gear Grilling Mat
The latest wonder product making the rounds in BBQ is the non-stick BBQ Grill Mat. I keep seeing ads for these things, and decided to pick one up during the holiday sales to see how well they work. For about $10, it was too good a deal to pass up. The one I purchased is a Grizzly BBQ Gear brand, and one of the cheaper versions available.
What is it? The grilling mat is a thin sheet of fiberglass fabric with a non-stick food-safe PTFE coating, it looks like a shiny black piece of plastic about the size of a standard grill surface. It came rolled up in a box and had a couple of minor creases and dents from shipping. You get what you pay for, and in this case that means it is very thin and may not last as long as a thicker name-brand $40 model. I cut the grilling mat in half with a sharp butcher knife to see what it was made from, and so it would only cover half of the grill. It appears to be solid ptfe material, cutting it did not expose anything that looks likely to transfer to the food.
Safety Warnings: The grilling mat is made of the same chemical used in Teflon coatings, and there are warnings not to use them in temperatures near 500 degrees. This should not be a problem as long as you do not use the grilling mat near a searing burner or directly over high flames. If in doubt, use a bbq thermometer to check your the temperature at grill level. Just like when using teflon or non-stick cookware, it is recommended to avoid sharp metal utensils with the grilling mat. I would recommend wood or silicone covered spatulas or tongs, to ensure you do not damage the non-stick coating.
BBQ Review Testing
Capabilities: The grilling mat is advertised as a great tool to cook meats and vegetables that are otherwise difficult to cook on the barbecue, the commercials also brag about leaving professional looking grill marks. This test will attempt to verify that by grilling up some bacon, onion slices, and pork loin steaks.
Season it! As with any new cooking utensil, seasoning it with bacon is always a good practice. Plus, you get bacon!
Grill it! The grilling mat transfers almost all the heat through to the food, except for the rising air there was little difference between the temperature of the mat and the open grill. The pork loin and onion slices were grilled for about 5 minutes and flipped at the same time.
Flip it: The grillmarks did not really come through the mat onto the meat when cooking it the same amount of time as on the normal grill. The steak and onions did cook fully just like on the uncovered grill, but it may require a little extra time and less moving around to get the marks to transfer through. The pork and onions cooking in bacon fat get a more pan-fried appearance, with carmelization mostly on the edges. As you would expect, this all smelled delicious and the bacon did not make it back to the kitchen for the final picture.
Great Results! As you can see the grilling mat does work well with items that normally would be challenging on the grill, like vegetables and bacon. Both meats and vegetables were cooked through, and the flavor added by sizzling the steak in bacon fat was a nice addition. The onions cooked on the mat did not pick up grillmarks, but they stayed moist and the added bacon flavor was definitely worth it. The pork loin cooked on the mat was definitely juicier due to being seared on both sides, and despite the missing grillmarks was the overall favorite. If you do not have a searing burner, the step of searing the steaks on the grilling mat could easily become part of the standard steak grilling procedure.
Gratuitous Pork Shot
BBQ Review Bonus test - Breakfast on the BBQ
Since the grilling mat passed the first test with flying colors, I decided to test it for breakfast the next day as well. To my surprise, the eggs and hashbrowns cooked perfectly and came out with some nice grill marks!
Here are some simple instructions for cooking breakfast on the BBQ with the grilling mat. Season the mat with bacon and add hashbrowns, after a couple minutes flip the hashbrowns and create a wall to contain the eggs. Add eggs and grill for a couple minutes until solid, then flip eggs and hashbrowns and add cheese. Once the cheese has melted just slide everything onto a plate, add salsa and breakfast is ready.
The grilling mat definitely lives up to its promise of being non-stick. None of the bacon, onion, pork, eggs, or even cheese stuck to the mat during cooking. After the grill had cooled, cleaning the mat with a paper towel was complete in one swipe per side. (Don't forget to wipe off the smoke residue on the underside.) After cleaning it rolls up and stores in the original box.
Grizzly BBQ Gear Grilling Mat
BBQ Product Review Conclusion: Highly Recommended!
The grilling mat performed excellently and provided an easy to use cooking surface. While it did not put grill marks on everything, with a little extra effort that can be achieved a few inches over on the actual grill. The added ability to sear foods with oils and bacon fat is an added bonus, and will be used often. The cleanup is the easiest of any BBQ accessory so far, and is worth the price for that alone. This grilling mat will be a great addition to any BBQ enthusiasts collection.