Updated August 22nd, 2018 – Grilling out on the back deck is as American as ketchup on a hot dog! Preferably a nice, char-grilled hot dog.
There are no shortages of blogs, books, and even clubs celebrating and expanding the knowledge around back deck grilling.
In a rush? Check out my favorite grill mat at Amazon.
However, with the increasing interest in home grilling, interest in pristine wood decks—a sure asset to any home—has also been on the rise.
Unfortunately, frequent grilling comes with some downsides. Your neighbors may not be fond of the seemingly endless plumes of smoke rising from beyond their backyard fence.
Propane or charcoal bills start to add up. And more importantly, your elegant, thrice-coated cedar deck starts to acquire unsightly burns and grease stains from the sometimes sputtering and spewing embers of your grill.
Fine, time-honored practice in building, finishing, and maintaining a wood deck is perhaps the one backyard activity more sanctified than grilling.
Therefore, it makes sense that there should be a conflict of interest between the urge to sear steaks and char chicken over hot coals, and the insistence on maintaining an unmarred surface of your carefully manicured wood deck.
While you risk the dissatisfaction of your guests by refusing to grill, you equally risk the devaluation of your property after years of char and grease mucking up your wood deck.
An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cured Meat
You don’t have to compromise endless summers of grilling to compensate for the desire to maintain a clean, marketable wood deck.
A home buyer will likely prefer seeing a wood deck that will not require much rehab.
They will also likely be put at ease knowing that their own plans for grilling will not be hampered by a grill-free past.
Sure, it is possible to move your grill after every grilling session to clean and scrub what has been deposited on the deck. But this means waiting on the grill to cool.
And lounging on the couch after a delicious meal, or a casual round of corn-hole with the boys is out of the question.
Not fun at all!
Who wants to clean immediately after grilling up and wolfing down a few fat steaks? This is where deck mats come in super handy…
The Battle for the Back Yard
The solution is simple (isn’t it always?). The use of some kind of mat below your grill will ensure that your wood deck maintains its integrity and luster, while still enabling you to grill as much as you’d like.
Sure, a simple tarp folded over on itself will work in a pinch, but after just a few grilling sessions, you’re bound to wind up with a ruined tarp, full of holes and splattered with meat grease.
Additionally, your top-of-the-line Weber machine will look pretty silly situated on top of a folded over a tarp.
What you really need to accommodate both a well-maintained wood deck and heavy use of your grill is the appropriate grill mat. Let’s explore some of the best options.
The Best in Grill Mats
Premium Grill Mat by Montana Grilling GearSee the Premium Grill Mat by Montana Grilling Gear at Amazon
Montana Grilling Gear offers a basic, dependable mat in their Premium Gas Grill Splatter Mat. This rectangular design measures 30 inches by 48 inches, giving it enough area to protect the wood below even the largest gas grills.
This grill mat is placed directly below your grill, protecting the wood or other material below. It features an environmentally friendly, PVC-free fabric blend that quickly absorbs and collects damaging liquids and greases.
It is an environmental friendly that collects and absorbs damaging fluid. Also, the mat is leak-proof thus ensuring that any surface is protected from the damaging liquid. The satisfaction of the customer is the top priority at the Montana grill to ensure you’re satisfied with your product, and you can reach to them in case of any defect.
Its shallow profile and synthetic fibers allow for easy and quick cleaning, with a simple hosing or hand scrubbing with warm, soapy water. All models include a convenient handle, in the form of a non-obtrusive hole in the material.
The Original Grill PadSee The Original Grill Pad at Amazon
The Original Grill Pad boasts a heftier design. It measures in at 30 inches by 42 inches, but its 8-pound weight prevents slippage and keeps it anchored, even when the grill is removed.
The Original Grill Pad is available in four different colors, each suited to a different deck design. Additionally, the Original Grill Pad is available in both a rectangular model and a circular model, making it suitable for both gas grills and charcoal grills.
You know you need to protect your grill or composite deck from stains, spills, and sparks. The original grill pad comes in hand to solve your problem. It is made from fiber cement material that is heat and weather resistant and durable. The mat is eight pounds heavy enabling it to anchor itself to any ground. The fiber cement material protects your grill ten times better than metal or plastic mats since it doesn’t rust and it will not deform under high temperatures. It is available I different shapes and colors giving you a variety to choose from. It is easy to clean since the grease doesn’t stick to it, use warm water and mild soap and wipe off the dirt.
The Gas Grill Splatter MatSee The Gas Grill Splatter Mat at Amazon
The Gas Grill Splatter Mat boasts an effective, no-frills mat. This rectangular, 30-inch by 48-inch mat will protect all decks, whether made of wood or anything else from harmful splatters of grease, gas, or other charred detritus.
Its non-woven fiber design makes it the easiest mat to clean, without compromising its powers of absorption and surface protection.
And its low-profile black design makes it a sure match with any grill/deck combination.
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PBKay BBQ Grill Mat
The PBkay mat helps you in keeping your grill clean at all times. They are non-stick mats that are excellent in grilling burgers, seafood, ribs, steak, and vegetables. You’ll have a tasty, delicious meal with this mat.
It can withstand high temperature allowing you to grill your meal at the desired temperature. It is easy to clean, dishwashable, and no need of scrubbing. It’s made from PTFE material that is heat resistant, hydrophobic and can handle extreme temperatures.
Copper Grill Mat
The copper grill mat is FDA-certified as safe. The chemical coating doesn’t infuse in the food thus qualifying as a safety mat to use while grilling. It can handle extreme temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and it’s 100% nonstick allowing you to cook or grill without the worry of stains and grease.
It’s a versatile grilling mat that can be used as a cooking mat, non-stick oven liners, and barbecue grill mat and is excellent in the char-broil grill, Weber porcelain grill and charcoal grill.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are grill mats dish washable?
A perfect grill mat should be dishwashable and reused. I prefer the grill mat made from synthetic fibers because it allows easy and quick cleaning with less effort. It should have a convenient handle with an obtrusive hole in the material. It’s recommended to use warm, soapy water for cleaning the mat. Avoid use of the abrasive tools such as hard scrubbers as they will end up damaging it. A significant number of the grilling mats are dishwasher safe, and you can immerse it in the dishwasher for cleanup.
Can I use steel wool to clean my grill mat?
I wouldn’t advise you to use steel wool in cleaning the grill mats. Steel wool is an abrasive tool and it may tear and wear down the mat. If your mat has sauces or marinades that have carbonized in it, I would advise you to use warm water for one minute and wipe it using dish rag or dish brushes. The dirt will come off quickly. Also, avoid scrapping using metal rods and spatulas because it will tear the mat.
Do I need to pre-heat the grill before placing the grilling mat?
The grilling mat takes little time to heat. If you have a grill, place the mat on it after it has reached a specific temperature. If it’s charcoal or wood grill, I would advise you to wait for the dying ember before placing the mat on the rack. This is recommended to avoid damaging the mat with charcoal flames and undesired temperatures.
What is the difference between a BBQ mat and other grilling mats available?
The main difference between BBQ and other mats available is the material used in making them. BBQ mat is made of Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) material that is hydrophobic, resistant to high temperature and its excellent electrical insulator. Also, the PTFE material can withstand high temperatures and is chemically resistant. Thus it doesn’t react with food when it comes in direct contact. Besides, it’s easy to clean allowing you to remove the grill marks with less effort. However, not all the mats have these features. Some have a quarter the thicknesses of a piece of paper thus are prone to wear.
What is the average size of a grilling mat?
If you have a BBQ grilling mat, the average size would be 13 by 15 inches. The advantage of grill mat is that you can cut it down into different small sizes. Avoid overlapping them because they can stick together when cooling and in the process, you can end up removing the Teflon surface as you try to split them.
What is the maximum temperature that a grill mat can withstand?
A large number of the grilling mats can withstand temperatures of up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperature beyond this can damage the mat. Exercised a lot of care while grilling to avoid exposing the mat to extreme temperatures as it can deteriorate it.
Grill without Splitting Hairs
Back deck grilling is not going out of style any time soon. Neither are carefully built and finished wood decks.
With any of these affordable grill mats, now you can grill without worrying about compromising your expensive, pristine wooden deck.
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Image Credit via Flickr Creative Commons License Olger Fallas