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Healthy Grilling

Updated on August 14, 2014

EEZ BBQ Grill Mat

Grilling Foods Other than Beef, Pork, and Poultry

Our family loves grilling season, but it can be difficult for us to come up with new ideas of things to grill, in particular because we do not eat a lot of beef or chicken. We tend toward seafood, veggies, fruit, and cheese, but these are not the easiest things to grill. Some veggies can be wrapped in foil, but who wants to cook seafood in foil? Skewers are always an option, but the marinade tends to drip off from the seafood and veggies, defeating the purpose. We might as well get a skillet and just cook inside on the stove. Again, that just defeats the purpose. We really want to hang out outside while the kids play, and dinner cooks on the grill. Shouldn't people who don't eat a lot of meat have options too? Well, they actually do have many options because of the grill mats that have been showing up in stores and on the Internet. There is a lot that can be done with these grill mats, and the commercials basically fail at demonstrating how to use them well. So, I'm going to go over how to use these grill mats in the best ways so that you can cook great, healthy foods right on your grill without the foods falling through the grates, and without sticking.

Yoshi Grill & Bake Mat

The Problem with Advertising

If you look at these pictures, they are completely misleading, as are the commercials on television. If you cook some ribs on a mat as shown in the picture to the right, the barbeque sauce is not going to caramelize, and the ribs will cook in their own fat. For caramelization, you need a hot flame hitting the ribs, and the fat obviously has no where to go. The picture above, toward the the top of the page is obviously not an actual picture of the grill mat while it is in use. Rather, the food is simply superimposed onto the mat. It's the magical "food floating above the mat" trick. [That's me being sarcastic.] These kinds of advertisements are completely misleading because they fail to demonstrate what the mat actually does. It drives me nuts that these companies can't simply advertise what their products actually are good at doing. Instead they make it seem as if their products will solve all your problems. Truth in advertising is obviously idealistic in a world where advertisers can pay for commercial time, and government agencies lack the resources to actually investigate whether products function in the way commercials claim they do. So, in order not to waste your time, and to do a little of that investigating for you, I will briefly discuss how to notice better advertisements, and tell of my experiences with this mat.

Briefly put, I have found that the grill mat is useful, but you cannot just put the mat onto your propane grill or charcoal while the flames are high. Yes, the commercials show a person using the grill mat over a high flame, but, like most everything else, the mat would just burn up. In fact, if you look at their directions, which are inside of the box (of course), the companies tell you that only indirect heat should be used. So, sure, why in the world do these companies do this to us? Who knows?! But, at least I can clear some things up here without the deceptive tricks advertisers use. There is a reality to these products, and hopefully this HubPage helps.

Why Real Pictures Work Better

These two pictures are much more informative. Food actually cooking on a grill mat. Here, in the top photograph, it's grilled salmon with lemon and asparagus. The bottom photograph shows tomatoes, eggs, and pork chops.. The thing I like about these pictures is that they actually demonstrate that the lemon juice stays on the food while it cooks, rather than dripping through. It's also easy to remove/flip the fish, and the chef managed to get grill marks, which isn't easy even without a grill mat. The mat does make it more difficult to get the grill marks, but I have never been convinced that grill marks make any difference to the taste of food. I suppose how one's food appears does make a difference, but I prioritize the taste of my food over its appearance. Whether it looks a certain way isn't a very big concern. Also, this asparagus can be grilled without the mat, of course, but there are tons of veggies that cannot be grilled without a mat like this. Anything that is diced or julienned, for example, will cook up nicely on one of these. The fact that you can fry some eggs on the grill mats, or make an omelet, succotash, hash, and melted cheese is pretty awesome.

And The Reality Is...

Overall, these grill mats are a lot more versatile than the commercials let on. It is going to depend on who you are and what you like to cook on your grill, whether a grill mat is a good purchase for you. Our friends have made pizza, grilled cheese sandwiches, quesadillas with all of the fixings cooked right on the mat, as well as toast points for bruschetta. It's one of those cool products that you can experiment with in order to find out what works. We basically use ours as a skillet. Just melt some butter or heat up some oil and cook whatever you want on the grill in the same way that you would in your kitchen. Sliced vegetables, fruits, halloumi, melted cheese, and just about anything else that isn't too wet will sauce and cook up nicely on these grill mats. They certainly take some getting used to because they lack the edge that a skillet has, but the grill mats make the cooking and clean up much easier.

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