This post is part of our 'This Is Fire' series, where our editors and writers tell you about the products they can't live without in the kitchen.
I grill extensively, everything from a fairly standard salmon to less-known grilled treats, like sourdough flatbread and pickled pineapple, but I’m pretty minimalist when it comes to grilling tools. My husband and I mostly use a thrice-handed-down charcoal Weber kettle grill. We bought a charcoal chimney and cleaning brush for it, but otherwise, we tag-team the indoor prep and outdoor coal management with a multipurpose collection of stainless steel bowls, trays, tongs, and spatula.
When a friend suggested I add copper grill mats to my collection, I was skeptical. Did I really need what seemed like a specialized, even fad, tool? Curiosity and a low price tag got the better of me. After a couple of years, my two Yoshi Copper Grill and Bake Mats have become key components of my grilling setup—at home and elsewhere.
No matter what I want to grill or where I want to grill it, a mat makes the task easier.
Yoshi Copper Grill and Bake Mats (Set of 2)
These mats, made of heavy-duty PTFE coated in copper, turn an outdoor grill into a nonstick surface and help to evenly and safely distribute heat. The thin, flexible material can be rolled up for easy transport and storage. They’re safe up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, so they can even double as oven baking mats. They can then be washed by hand or in the dishwasher for easy cleanup.
What has me using these mats several times a week throughout the grilling season is their versatility. No matter what I want to grill or where I want to grill it, a mat makes the task easier.
Small foods that tend to fall through the grill grate, like chilies and leeks, become easier to spread out and turn on the mat’s solid surface. Foods that want to flop or stick, like raw pizza dough and flaky fish, become easy to land and flip. Juicy foods that tend to drip as they cook, like skewers of cherry tomatoes or scallops, can bubble away without a flare-up.
I can spread a hodgepodge of broccoli, artichokes, and sourdough garlic knots over the mat’s whole surface. I’ve even folded a mat when cooking asparagus, the charred favorite I lose most often between grill slats, to leave room directly on the grate for a salmon fillet too large to share the mat.
To keep these mats in tiptop shape, you do need to be gentle with the cleanup, especially when cooking sticky foods that caramelize over heat, like pineapple and shrimp in a sweet marinade. I didn’t give much thought to plunging a mat straight from the grill into hot water and scrubbing away at it with steel wool until I scrubbed off some mat, along with stuck-on marinade. Only then did it occur to me that I should treat these thin sheets with the same care I give nonstick cookware.
Lesson learned, I dug up the care instructions for the Yoshi Copper Grill and Bake Mats, which recommend cooling completely before cleaning with a soapy cloth and warm water or in the dishwasher. I’ve found a quick soak of the cooled mat in hot soapy water lets me gently wipe off any sticky bits without poking pinholes in the thin surface.
One mat lives in my picnic basket, because it’s the first thing I reach for when I cook on a public grill. Instead of wondering what was last cooked on the grate (and how well it was cleaned off), I can just heat the grill, remove any visible char with a quick brush, and flop down my copper mat.
Grilled fish tacos, green beans, shrimp, thin-crust sourdough pizza, and bell pepper pasta are staples of our sailing menu, all of which have become easier to manage with a copper mat.
The other mat shifts between the home grill and a little portable gas one aboard our small sailboat. Our sailing adventures are the water-bound equivalent of car camping, relying on coolers, a camp stove, and the grill for meals. But that doesn’t stop us from eating well: Grilled fish tacos, green beans, shrimp, thin-crust sourdough pizza, and bell pepper pasta are staples of our sailing menu, all of which have become easier to manage with a copper mat.
On a recent sailing trip, the grill mat cemented its place among my cooking tools. For our first breakfast on the water, I planned an egg-and-potato hash with fresh vegetables from the garden—but I forgot to pack a skillet. I didn’t even have a saucepan, since we would grill the other cooked meals on our three-day adventure.
So that morning, we scrambled eggs on the grill mat. They cooked up beautifully, with a halo of browned potatoes and veggies keeping the runny eggs in the center of the grill until they could form soft curds. I’ve since bought a second set of Yoshi Copper Grill and Bake Mats so that I can keep one permanently on the boat in case it again becomes my only cooking surface—although while sailing, we may never scramble eggs in a skillet again.
Price at time of publish: $18
What’s Included: Two grilling mats | Material: Copper, PTFE | Dimensions: 15.75 x 13 inches | Oven Safe: Up to 500 degrees | Dishwasher Safe: Yes
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Julie Laing has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years and is the author of the weekly newspaper column and food blog, Twice as Tasty. Every kitchen tool and gadget must earn its place in her 500-square-foot home as she bakes, preserves, ferments, grills, and eats well year-round. Julie published her first cookbook, "The Complete Guide to Pickling," in 2020.
Radulovic L, Wojcinski Z. PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene; Teflon®). Encyclopedia of Toxicology (Third Edition). 2014; 1133-1136. doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-386454-3.00970-2