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If the hardest tasks related to cooing were ranked, keeping a grill mat clean would be high on the list. It’s almost impossible to do, provided you only cook meat on the grill itself. A lot of grills are discontinued from use simply from there being too much ash and built-up residue that has accumulated on the grill, and the underlying components of it.
But there is one way to make things look cleaner for a longer period. Grill mats are plated sheets that are placed directly on top of the grill, capable of cooking almost anything with the benefit of faster cleanup time. But how to use the grill mat to its fullest potential? What are the steps that should be taken in the process?
Below is everything that you’ll need to know when cooking with a grill mat. Read through the directions and you’ll be ready to cook with them in no time. Let’s begin!
How to Use Silicone Grill Mats
A silicone grill mat is a usually colored black, made entirely of the substance for which it’s named. They’re non-toxic and are difficult to melt, provided that one grill with them according to the directions of the brands/product.
This is important because some grill mats are made to be stronger than others, whereby it would be okay to place one mat over direct heat and not okay for another. You can find this out by going to the brand’s product descriptions page.
Preparation to grilling
When you’re ready to grill, ensure that the fire on the inside has lowered to the point where you would normally be ready to place food on top of the grill. Instead, add your silicone grill mat to the top.
According to the direction of your product, anywhere that’s lower than 400 or 500 degrees Fahrenheit would be okay.
If the grill is hotter than this, allow for more time to cool, or rearrange your charcoals underneath. If your grill is propane, you could simply lower the heat to an acceptable level.
Feel free to add meats, veggies, or even other small pans to the top of your silicone grill. Check the interior temperature with a thermometer whenever you can. However, don’t do this too frequently if you want your food to cook in a timely manner. Have you ever used steel or cast iron griddle before? The same rules apply.
This means that some foods, such as eggs, would require that you place an oil (or butter) at the top before laying the food down. Things like hot dogs, bratwursts, and kabobs (with skewers) would cook without any of this.
After that’s done, it’s time for cleanup to begin. Based on the silicone grill mat that you’re using, it might be possible for you to reuse it again. This is why you should use care to go over its temperature capacity.
If you didn’t wash the grill mat off by placing the used sheet in warm, soapy water. You’ll want to clean it off with a mild abrasive, such as a common kitchen sponge. Most won’t come clean in a dishwasher.
How to Use Copper Grill Mats
Copper grills mats are a little tougher than silicone and built to last a bit longer. While both products are typically sold in rolled sheets, you can expect a copper mat to last for at least two to three grills before it’s discarded.
A copper grill mat is made of copper and nothing else. It’s much stronger than aluminum foil and can withstand temperatures in excess of 500 to 600 degrees Fahrenheit.
Preparation should commence in the same fashion as silicone grill mats. Be sure that you’re starting off with a clean grill that has no food residue on the grill covering itself.
The whole point of using a copper mat is to give you time to cook, and to cook foods that would normally be more difficult to do on the grill.
A lot of copper mats are pre-cut, so there’s no need for you to make additional divisions in the sheets. If your grill is oddly-shaped and you must cut, do so with a good pair of scissors.
Prepare your grill’s heat by bringing the inside to a hot flame, making sure to place the copper mat on top only after the fire has settled down. Once that’s done, it’s time to cook. You can sauté vegetables on copper mats without the need to add vegetable oil.
The surface is nonstick, so even eggs can be cooked without any oil. The flavors from meats will stay on the surface with the mat, allowing for the food to taste more flavorful as a result.
Use the Correct Tools
Grill mats require no specialized tools, at least besides what you should already have for grilling. However, it would help for you to have a handheld thermometer, if possible.
While some thermometers on grills are useful, you won’t be able to get as accurate a ready as you would from a one that’s digital. Maintaining the perfect balance of heat is crucial to getting the most from your grill mat, and allows them to last a lot longer.
Maintaining Grill Mats
This is where a lot of users make mistakes, mostly from using grill mats the same way that one would aluminum foil.
Never place your grill mat on an open flame; this is a surefire way to damage not only the mat itself but your food as well.
Of course, there are exceptions to this but always assume that the mat will become damaged if this happens, even if the manufacturer says that it won’t (for the first time using the product, anyway).
Copper grill mats are sometimes washed in a dishwasher, though you might get cleaner results from doing this by hand. Soak your mats in warm water for about an hour or two to make the residue easier to lift off.
Unlike copper mats, you’ll be able to tell that it was used a lot easier due to burning marks on the other side of the sheet. Don’t expect to get them all out; the important thing is to keep the sheet in one piece.
Do you know how to use grills mats without making a mess of things? Follow the instructions lists, and you won’t have any issues doing so. Consider them as a semi-permanent alternative to griddles. You can cook all of your meats and veggies on the sheets, and they prevent food residue from getting on the inside of your grill.
Once you use either a copper or silicone grill mat for the first time, you’ll quickly say goodbye to cheap aluminum foil. They’re compatible with propane, charcoal, and pellet grills. You’ll get through several cooking sessions with just one mat, increasing the cleanliness of your main grill and making your food taste bolder and more flavorful in the process!
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