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BBQ GRILL MAT FACTS

What is it made from & is it safe

BBQ Grill Mat Review

There has been a debate for years now over the safety of Teflon cookware, specifically the polytetrafluoroethylene coatings that are applied to nonstick pans, and the PTFE fabric used to make the popular BBQ grill mat and baking mat. Some people even question whether there is such a thing as safe nonstick cookware at all. So we’ll take a closer look in this nonstick bbq grill mat review.

PFOA – what is it? 

Most of the debate centers around a chemical formulation called perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). This is not actually an ingredient in the cooking pans or the bbq grill mats. Rather, it’s a catalyst used in making of all fluoropolymers, such as PTFE, which is the primary formulation used in most of the nonstick kitchen tools currently available.

PFOA phased out in 2015

The actual nonstick material used in these products is the PTFE coating, not PFOA, and it isn’t actually necessary for the final product to contain any of PFOA at all. Many manufacturers were producing PFOA-free cookware long before the phase-out was initiated. Generally, this was the case with higher quality, such as the BBQEZY BBQ Grill Mats.


Voluntary Labeling

This phase-out of PFOA  explains why you will now see notices such as the “PFOA-Free ” label prominently displayed on products.

Overheating

Another important consideration in the discussion of safety, is acknowledging the fact that overheating cookware in general produces toxic fumes, and this includes aluminum, cast iron, silicone, ceramic and of course the pans with a PTFE coating, as well. Consequently, the concept of safe nonstick cookware has more to do with practice and use, than with the specific materials the pans are made from. In that respect, the best nonstick pans are the ones you use with the most care, following the directions and restrictions. Nonstick cookware is for use on low to medium heat.


How to Be Safe 

If you purchase PFOA-free kitchen products, you’ve made a good step in improving the safety factors, as long as you use your pans correctly and follow a few simple rules. Let’s take a look.

260 Degree Celcius Limit. Whether we’re discussing pans with Teflon coating, PTFE fabrics, or any other nonstick tools, heat is the biggest consideration. Polytetrafluoroethylene (to use the long version of the term) is extremely stable and resistant to even very harsh chemicals, but that changes when the temperature goes above 300 degrees Celcius.

This should not surprise you. We’re all familiar with substances that change from solid to liquid and from liquid to gas based on temperature fluctuations – water, for example. The PTFE material is no different.


BBQ Grill Mat – Use of Tools

One area where people tend to be careless when working with nonstick cookware, is with the tools they choose. It’s easy to grab whatever tool is handy and start scraping away in your Teflon pan or your bbq grill mat. You should never use metal tools on PTFE material. It will scratch the surface and weaken the integrity of the nonstick coating. Use wood or plastic tools, or metal tools that have a silicone or PTFE coating.

Techniques
In addition to using the correct tools, your cooking techniques will be different when using non-stick cookware than when using stainless steel, glass or cast iron. As little friction as possible on the cooking surface is the rule, even when using silicone, rubber or soft plastic tools. With pans, toss the food by manipulating the pan and with bbq grill mats use tongs rather than spatulas.

Be aware of what types of food you’re cooking on your BBQ Grill Mat. Sticky sauces that burn easily will be harder to cleanup, simply spray with water while mat is still hot and wipe with paper towel as it loosens up. 

Nonstick BBQ Grill Mat – Lifespan

According to a source at Chemours, the lifespan of nonstick grill mat is about three or four years when using  according to instructions, depending, of course, how often you utilize them and what you’re actually doing with them. Use the grill mats carefully and get rid of them when the coating shows signs of breaking down. Grill mats that are advertised as having extra layers of PTFE will last longer and hold up better, our Premium Rigid Grill Mat is the thickest & strongest on the market, but be prepared to pay a bit more for it.

Nonstick BBQ Grill Mat – Cleaning

One of the biggest selling points of these products, especially the PTFE sheet or BBQ grill mat, is the ease of cleanup. Usually, you can wipe them off with nothing more than soap and water. At most, you’ll need to soak them first, but resist the temptation to scrub them or wipe them with scratch pads, powdered cleaners or any type of abrasive. It produces hundreds of tiny scratches. These will cause the premature breakdown of the PTFE fabric.

Nonstick BBQ Grill Mat – Summary

Does safe nonstick cookware exist? Well, don’t overheat your pans or bbq grill mats. Always use them on medium heat – 150- 200 degrees Celcius or low heat. Avoid using metal tools on the nonstick surfaces. Wash them with soap and water and don’t use abrasives. Store them carefully to avoid scratching. Stop using them when the surface begins to degrade. If you do that, then the answer is yes, safe nonstick cookware does, in fact, exist.