Grill Mat: What is it, How to Use it, and Are They Safe?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  June 1, 2022

Always the latest smoking tips & tricks?

Subscribe to THE ESSENTIAL newsletter for aspiring pitmasters

We'll only use your email address for our newsletter and respect your privacy

I love creating free content full of tips for my readers, you. I don't accept paid sponsorships, my opinion is my own, but if you find my recommendations helpful and you end up buying something you like through one of my links, I could earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Learn more

A grill mat is a non-stick mat that protects your grill from food and grease. It makes grilling easier and more convenient. Let’s explore how they work and their benefits.

When buying a grill mat, it’s important to watch out for certain features. I’ll share some tips to help you get the most out of your mat.

What is a grill mat

Grill Mats: Everything You Need to Know

A grill mat, also known as a barbecue mat, is an innovative grilling accessory that can make your outdoor cooking experience much easier. It is a flat sheet made of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), which offers a nonstick surface to cook meats and veggies on your grill. The mat is a great way to keep your food from sticking to the grill racks and makes clean-up a breeze.

How to Choose the Right Grill Mat?

When choosing a grill mat, consider the following:

  • Material: Grill mats can be made of different materials, including PTFE, copper, and fiberglass. PTFE is the most common material and is known for its nonstick properties.
  • Thickness: Thicker mats are sturdier and can withstand higher heat, but thinner mats are more flexible and easier to handle.
  • Size: Grill mats come in different sizes, so make sure to choose one that fits your grill.
  • Reputable brand: Choose a grill mat from a reputable brand that offers a guarantee or warranty.

Dealing with Drawbacks

While grill mats offer many benefits, there are a few drawbacks to consider:

  • Thinner mats may stick to the grill: Thinner mats are more flexible, but they may stick to the grill if not handled carefully.
  • Not ideal for high-heat grilling: Grill mats are not ideal for high-heat grilling, as they can melt or warp.
  • Not suitable for heavy-duty grilling: Grill mats are not suitable for heavy-duty grilling, such as searing steaks (these are the best pellet grills for it by the way) or cooking large cuts of meat.

Tips for Using Grill Mats

Here are some tips for using grill mats:

  • Choose the right mat for your needs: Consider the material, thickness, and size of the mat before buying.
  • Stand by your grill: Don’t leave your grill unattended while using a grill mat.
  • Use a reputable brand: Choose a grill mat from a reputable brand that offers a guarantee or warranty.
  • Don’t use metal utensils: Metal utensils can scratch the mat, so use silicone or wooden utensils instead.
  • Don’t use abrasive cleaners: Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers that can damage the nonstick surface of the mat.

What’s in Your Grill Mat? Understanding Different Types of Materials and Their Safety

Grill mats are made from a variety of materials, each with its own unique properties. Here are some of the most common materials used in grill mats:

  • PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene): This is a synthetic compound that is highly resistant to extreme temperatures and is often used in non-stick cookware. It is also known as Teflon, a brand name for PTFE. PTFE grill mats are popular because they are easy to clean and prevent food from sticking to the grill.
  • Silicone: This is a natural material that is highly heat-resistant and flexible. Silicone grill mats are ideal for cooking delicate foods like fish and vegetables, as they prevent them from sticking to the grill.
  • Fiberglass: This material is often used as a base for grill mats because it is strong and abrasive. It is topped with PTFE or silicone to create a non-stick surface.

Are Grill Mats Safe?

The safety of grill mats depends entirely on the materials used in their production. Here are some points to consider:

  • PTFE: While PTFE is generally considered safe, it can release harmful fumes if it is heated to high temperatures. To prevent this, it is important to use PTFE grill mats properly and not to push them beyond their recommended temperature limits.
  • Silicone: Silicone is generally considered safe, as it does not release any harmful chemicals when heated. However, it is important to check that the silicone used in your grill mat is of proper quality and not mixed with any abrasive or strong chemicals that could cause harm.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass is safe when used in grill mats, as it is not linked to any harmful effects. However, it is important to ensure that the edges of the mat are properly finished to prevent any breakage or wire exposure.

Why You Should Use a Grill Mat: 3 Reasons to Keep Your Barbecue Clean and Safe

1. Prevent Food-Related Stains and Damage to Your Grill

Grilling is a great way to cook meat and vegetables, but it can be a messy process. When you place food directly on the grill, the hot metal surface can cause sticking and stains that are difficult to remove. This can also cause damage to the structure of your grill over time, which means you’ll have to spend a lot of time and money on cleaning and repairs. Using a grill mat helps prevent these issues by creating a smaller, easier-to-clean surface that allows you to achieve rich, smoky flavors without the risk of damage to your grill.

2. Reduce the Risk of Fire and Avoid Burnt Meat

One of the main reasons to use a grill mat is to limit the risk of fire. When you’re cooking with oil or other fluid products, there’s always a chance that they’ll spill or drip onto the hot coals or gas flame, causing a flare-up. This can quickly get out of control and cause serious damage to your property or even injury to yourself or others. By using a grill mat, you can avoid this risk and keep your barbecue process safe and enjoyable. Additionally, a grill mat helps to avoid burnt meat by providing a warm, even surface that improves the cooking process.

3. Make Cleaning and Care a Lot Easier

Cleaning your grill can be a time-consuming and frustrating process, especially if you’re dealing with stuck-on food or other stains. Using a grill mat helps to make cleaning and care a lot easier by providing a non-stick surface that prevents food from sticking and stains from forming. To clean your grill mat, simply wash it with warm, soapy water or olive oil and it will be ready to use again in no time. This also helps to improve the continuous heating process of your grill, making it more efficient and effective.

Grill Like a Pro: Mastering the Art of Using a Barbecue Grill Mat

Step-by-Step Guide to Using a Barbecue Grill Mat

Using a barbecue grill mat is a great way to achieve the ultimate grilling experience. Here are the steps to follow to ensure that you get the best result:

1. Pick the right size and shape: Choose a grill mat that is close to the size and shape of your grill. Round or smaller grill mats are ideal for smaller grills, while solid and larger grill mats are perfect for bigger grills.

2. Prepare your grill: Make sure that your grill is clean and free from any abrasive materials. Remove any solid pieces of food or debris that may cause damage to the structure of the grill mat.

3. Place the grill mat: Place the grill mat on top of the grill grates. Make sure that it is properly placed and covers the entire cooking area.

4. Add your ingredients: Add the meat or foods that you want to grill on top of the grill mat. Remember to season your dishes with your favorite ingredients.

5. Cook as usual: Cook your food as you normally would. The grill mat will allow the heat to circulate evenly, making it easier to achieve the perfect temperature.

6. Remove and clean: Once you are done cooking, remove the grill mat from the grill. Allow it to cool down before cleaning it. Use a soft sponge or cloth with water and soap to remove any remaining residue.

Tips and Tricks for Using a Barbecue Grill Mat

Here are some additional tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of your grill mat:

  • Choose the best materials: Look for grill mats made from high-quality materials such as PTFE or fiberglass. These materials are safe and durable, and they will not cause any harm to your food.
  • Use wooden utensils: Avoid using metal utensils when cooking on a grill mat. Metal utensils can cause damage to the grill mat and may also scratch the surface of your grill.
  • Check the temperature: Make sure to check the temperature of the grill mat before placing your food on it. This will help prevent any damage to the grill mat and ensure that your food is cooked evenly.
  • Love your grill mat: Treat your grill mat with care and love. Proper care and maintenance will ensure that your grill mat lasts longer and provides you with the best service.

Using a barbecue grill mat is a simple and easy way to achieve the perfect grilling experience. With these expert tips and tricks, you will be able to master the art of using a grill mat in no time!

Grill Mats: Are They Safe to Use?

Grill mats have become increasingly popular in recent years, as they offer a convenient way to cook food on a barbecue grill. However, many people are concerned about the safety of these mats, especially when it comes to the materials used to make them. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Grill mats are composed of a variety of synthetic materials, including polymers and other compounds that make them flexible, heat-resistant, and non-stick.
  • Some of these compounds can begin to break down at high temperatures, emitting fumes that can potentially get into your food or respiratory system.
  • The safety of grill mats depends on the type of material used and how carefully they are designed and manufactured.
  • While some companies use pure, solid materials that are less likely to break down at high temperatures, others may use cheaper, lower-quality materials that pose a greater risk to your health.
  • It’s important to choose a grill mat from a reputable brand that uses high-quality materials and has a good track record for safety.

Alternatives to Grill Mats

If you’re concerned about the safety of grill mats, there are a few alternatives you can consider:

  • Natural materials: Some people prefer to use natural materials, such as cedar planks (for recipes like these) or banana leaves, to cook their food on the grill. These materials are less likely to emit harmful fumes and can add a unique flavor to your meat.
  • Stock grates: Another option is to use the basic stock grates that come with your grill. While these may not be as convenient as grill mats, they are a safe and reliable way to cook your food.
  • Improving grill performance: If you’re looking for a way to cook your food more evenly and prevent it from sticking to the grill, consider investing in a high-quality grill that is designed to perform well without the need for a mat.

Cleaning and Maintaining Your Grill Mats

If you do choose to use a grill mat, it’s important to clean and maintain it properly to ensure its safety and longevity. Here are a few tips:

  • Clean your grill mat carefully after each use, using warm soapy water and a soft sponge or cloth.
  • Avoid using abrasive cleaners or scrubbers, as these can damage the surface of the mat and cause it to break down more quickly.
  • Store your grill mat in a cool, dry place when not in use, and avoid exposing it to high temperatures or direct sunlight.
  • Check your grill mat regularly for signs of wear and tear, and replace it if you notice any cracks, holes, or other damage.


So, a grill mat is a non-stick surface used to grill food. They’re great for preventing food from sticking to the grill and making clean-up easier. You should consider material, thickness, and size when buying a grill mat, and I hope this guide has helped you do just that. So, go ahead and make the grilling experience easier with a grill mat!

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.