Are Grill Mats Safe? The Complete Safety Guide For Fantastic Outdoor Cooking
April 24, 20237 min read
How many times has it happened with you that there was great weather and you thought about having a BBQ with your loved ones? Outdoor grilling offers a great food and socializing experience for everyone involved. If you want to get the most out of your outdoor cooking experience, you need to invest in the right tools that will guarantee you a fantastic experience. For example, grill mats can help with an even cooking surface and more.
However, your experience will depend on the material and other factors you consider before purchasing these mats. So, if you are wondering whether grill mats are safe, you have come to the right place. Here is a complete safety guide for you.
Grill Mats Explained
Before we move on to safety, you need to know what these mats are and their purpose. These mats are thin sheets that have been created for you to place on the grill. The primary purpose of this mat is to ensure that you have a non-stick and even surface to cook the food.
In the long run, these mats guarantee that the food doesn’t stick to the surface. Keep in mind that there are various types of grill mats you will find in the market. Some are reusable, others are disposable, and they come in different sizes and shapes.
This is why you have to keep all of these factors in mind before you select one for your grill. The material will perhaps be the most important determinant of the type of grill mat you select.
Are Grill Mats Safe: Different Materials Explained
Grill mats are available in versatile materials that provide a unique level of safety. Here are some of the most common materials that you can choose from and their safety levels:
PFOA is a synthetic compound and it has been used as a raw material for grilling mats for many years. We recommend that you stay away from this material because it is not safe. PTFE has been linked to different health problems you might face if you keep on using this grill mat continuously.
This includes health issues such as cancer and much more. Keep in mind that the latest grill mats don’t come in this material or contain this compound in any way. However, some older grill mats in the market might still have this material.
This is why you should check all the ingredients and ensure you are not purchasing grill mats with PFOA. You don’t want to expose yourself or other people to such health risks.
PTFEis another great material for grilling mats. Many people confuse PFOA and PTFE and think that the latter is also toxic and harmful. However, you need to keep in mind that PTFE is non-toxic, and you can use it for your cooking. The only thing you need to remember about this material is that it can be harmful at a very high temperatures.
That is because the breaking point of this material is 570 F. When it reaches this point, the grill mat can release fumes that will be harmful to your body. However, as long as you keep the temperature in check, you don't have to worry about the harmfulness of this material.
Fiberglass is used in the production of many things and grill mats are one of those things. Grill mats that have been produced recently have fiberglass, as it is the most common material. That is because this material offers various benefits, which include lightweight, durability, and flexibility. In addition, it is highly resistant to heat, and most grill mats are coated with this material to make them more efficient.
As you may know Fiberglass is completely safe and non-toxic, and that is what makes it an ideal material for grill mats. However, we recommend that if the grill mat of this material starts breaking down, then you should dispose of it. That is because wear and tear mean it will not work well.
Besides that, you will also notice that fiberglass grill mats are incredibly easy to clean, and storage will not be an issue. So, if you want a safe and common material that will offer you use for a long time, you can opt for fiberglass grill mats.
Many people think that copper grill mats are made when copper is rolled out into a sheet. However, that is not true at all. Instead, these grill mats have been manufactured using a thin copper layer coated with a non-stick surface.
Usually, these grill mats are made from a flexible material that includes copper strands in between. You can think of the mat being infused with copper rather than being made entirely out of copper. You will notice that these grill mats are usually thicker than the rest.
Because of this, they last long, and copper is one of the best conductors of heat. So, the grill mats will heat in no time and distribute the heat throughout the surface evenly. The material is also completely non-toxic, which is why there are no safety concerns with using copper grill mats. The only con you might face with this material is that they are a little stiff, meaning that you can’t roll it to store.
Silicone is a prevalent material that is used in many industries and products, including grill mats. The material is resistant to moisture, stretchable, and completely synthetic. Keep in mind that the silicone used for grill mats is food-grade, which means that it doesn't contain any harmful chemicals or toxins.
One of the top advantages of using silicone grill mats is that the material is incredibly resistant to high temperatures. Because of this, you can use it for cooking without worrying about how it will hold up. The material is also easy to clean and will last you a long time.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that it might not be as non-stick as other materials on the list. So, it is important to consider this factor before you decide which material to choose.
What Safety Precautions You Can Take When Using Grill Mats
The key to getting the most out of your grill mats is to follow the right safety precautions that will help you ensure durability. Here are some of the top guidelines that will keep your mats safe for a long time:
1. Keep It Clean At All Times
It is crucial that you keep the grill mats clean at all times. Besides that, it is also just as important to clean the grill. If you don’t do this, then debris and grease might start building on the grill.
In the long run, this will be a big problem because it can lead to a fire. Health and safety precautions are important, and cleanliness is a big part of these precautions. So, follow the right cleanliness techniques to reduce fire risks.
2. Use Heat-Resistant Mats
You need to invest in heat-resistant grill mats so that they can last at high temperatures and provide you with optimal use. The key is to do your research and find out which materials can resist the highest temperatures. For example, materials such as silicone, fiberglass, and PTFE can handle heat up to 500F.
However, your final decision will also take into consideration other factors. So, consider the heat resistance and other factors before you select the right grill mat for your cooking needs.
3. Keep An Eye On The Grill
You should not leave the grill unsupervised, especially if you have a family at home. You must keep an eye on the grill at all times so the temperature does not get too high. The reason we recommend you do this is to make sure that you can contain the problem before it gets bigger.
For example, if there is a risk of fire because of high temperatures, then you can contain it immediately. So, you should never use your grill and mats for a long time while you are cooking outdoors.
4. Mat Placement Is Important
Yes, the way you place the mats is also important because it means that you are creating an even surface for the cooking to take place. We recommend that you keep the grill dry and clean before you place the mat on it. Doing this will ensure that the mat doesn't stick to the grill, and neither does the food.
When food sticks to the mat or the grill, it can also create a risk of fire. The mat can easily catch fire if too much food sticks on it. So, make sure that you place the mat properly before you begin the grilling process.
5. Don’t Use Metal Objects On The Grill Mats
Using metal objects and utensils on your grill mats is a big no. That is because such material can damage your mat. For example, we recommend that you use utensils made from wood, silicone, plastic, or more.
The problem with metal utensils is that they can scratch the mat's surface. Because of this, it will be incredibly challenging to clean the mat and compromise the non-stick property. If you want the mat to last long without any risks or issues, then avoid using metal objects on it at all costs.
6. Follow The Right Storage Methods
Finally, it is important for you to store the grill mats correctly. For example, it is best to store the mats in a dry and clean away from any heat sources. The heat sources can be a risk as the grill mats can catch fire because of it.
Besides that, it is also best to keep the mats away from sharp objects. These can scratch the surface of the grill and hinder its longevity.
7. Check For Signs Of Degradation
If you are using the grill mats a lot, then make sure that you check for signs of degradation from time to time. If there are cracks, scratches, and other such signs on the mat, then we recommend that you throw the mat away. You can use such a mat, but it will be a health and safety hazard for you.
So, after every few uses, make sure that you thoroughly check the grill mats. It will help you spot any issues before they escalate. Once you do, you can invest in a new one.
That was everything you needed to know about the safety of grill mats. They are an essential accessory you can invest in for your grill if you want to cook vegetables and other such things. As long as you follow the right guidelines and precautions, these mats will be safe for you.
You can choose between different materials, and your decision will depend on your budget, safety concerns, and other factors. Most materials are safe, which is why you don’t need to worry about toxic chemicals leaching into your food while you are cooking.