Every other BBQ grill mat review I’ve seen online tended to focus on a single brand-name, but I’d like to take a different approach with this one – a more generalized approach. I’m going to sort through the myths, claims, hype and facts surrounding the ubiquitous BBQ grill mat, and I promise you that by the end of this review, you’ll know how to select and purchase a grill mat that’s perfect for your needs. Even though they all look basically the same – a flexible black rectangle with a nonstick coating – there are some big differences you will want to be aware of when shopping for one.
Every single grill mat on the market today has certain features in common with all others. We’ll start there. All are constructed of the same materials – fiberglass cloth and some version of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). The manufacturing process begins by treating the fiberglass cloth with a specially formulated undercoat that will adhere to both the fiberglass and the PTFE (the nonstick material).
Multiple layers of the PTFE are then applied, building up a heavy coating of the nonstick surface. (PTFE is either sprayed or rolled on, much like painting). Once the desired thickness is achieved, the material goes through a process called sintering, which involves the application of high heat (780 degrees Fahrenheit) for a few minutes. That’s it in a nutshell.
Is It Teflon?
The process described above is used to make most other types of nonstick cookware, as well. Most people refer to all of it as Teflon, but that’s not an accurate reference. Teflon is a brand name owned by DuPont, and as such, only DuPont cookware is made with Teflon.
If you find that confusing, think of crayons. Lots of companies make crayons, but Crayola, a brand name, is a crayon made exclusively by Crayola; Just as Teflon is a PTFE coating made only by DuPont. I point this out because the grill mat is sometimes referred to as a Teflon sheet, or Teflon paper when the term “PTFE sheet” is the more accurate name. I just thought I’d clarify that – besides, you really can’t write a grill mat review without that issue coming up.