Yoshi grill mat: Does it work?

No matter what type of grill you prefer, chances are you'll agree the worst part of grilling is cleaning the grill. So how about a grill mat that promises to cook food evenly, reduce flare-ups, and keep your food off the grill? It's called the Yoshi Grill Mat.

The Yoshi Grill and Bake Mats, as they're technically called, sell for about $10. You get two mats in the box -- black for outdoor grilling and brown for baking. To put it to the test I prepared fish, fresh veggies, and burger patties. Per instructions, I heated the grill no higher than medium, placed the grill mat directly on the grates, and added the food.

The marketing touts "Perfect grill marks every time!" And sure enough, after the broccoli, onion, asparagus and yellow squash had been cooking a while on the covered grill, the grill marks were coming through.

With the burgers and fish, the heat also transferred through the mat, as promised. But forget about that crispy searing you get on meat from direct contact with hot grates. In our test, it was more like the meat and fish were simmering in their own juices. And some of the fish juices were beginning to run toward the edge of the mat where they could potentially spill over onto the grates. You have to be careful not to over crowd the mat or place food too close to the mat edge.

Overall, the grill mat lived up to the claims of even, mess-free grilling. And back in the kitchen, the grease and drippings washed right off the mat with mild dish soap and warm water. But here are some key things to keep in mind:

  • No metal or sharp utensils
  • no abrasive cleaning production
  • No heat higher than medium
  • Contrary to the flaming coals shown in the commercial, direct fire is not recommended- which can effect cooking time and final results on thick steaks.

Finally, since the manufacturer makes no mention of what the grill mat is made of, I did some research. Turns out- grill mats are sold under a number of brand names that are widely available. And many are made of fiberglass coated with PTFE, which stands for polytetrafluoroethylene - also known as Teflon.