Monday, June 22, 2015

Is Anything You See on TV for Real?

Grill Mat with a Model
The As Seen on TV Grill Mat
I first heard about that barbecue accessory known as a BBQ grill mat quite a while ago and was initially quite dismissive of it. I’d never seen one, let alone used one, but I still didn’t like them. Typical male, I know. But here’s the thing. My thinking was that if you put a mat over the top of your grill you completely negate the whole point of barbecuing. At least that’s what I thought. Then my daughter gave me one for Father’s Day.

Obviously, when your daughter gives you something as a gift you don’t start bad-mouthing it. You act surprised and pleased and you use it at the first opportunity. Well, since it was Father’s Day and we always have a barbecue on Father’s Day, the first opportunity to use it was coming up fast. So later that day Christine and I headed out to the barbecue grill in the back yard. She’s carrying a bowl full of chopped veggies, which seemed weird because everyone knows you can’t barbecue chopped veggies. Everyone knows that.

What You Can Do on a Barbecue
It’s a big, nice barbecue, with all the bells and whistles and I’ve had it a long time and I’ve taken very good care of it. As we’re heading out there Christine is explaining to me how if I use the grilling mats I won’t have to clean the BBQ after we’re done cooking. I’m a little irritated but I figure I can put up with this whole thing for one afternoon just for her sake. So I dutifully spread the mats onto the grates and start putting the pork chops onto the first mat. Meanwhile she dumps this whole bowl of veggies onto the other grill mat. “Is that going to work?” I ask, totally not believing it. She just nods. “That’s how they did it on the video.”

The Best Results . . . Ever
Well fast-forward to dinner. The chops were the best I’ve ever had. What I didn’t realize is that with the BBQ grill mats you get all the benefit of the barbecue flavors and the barbecue experience but you don’t dry out the food like you do when cooking it directly on the grate. I know you hardcore grillers are rolling your eyes and groaning, the same way I did before trying them out. The other thing is the grill marks were still there the same as if I’d grilled them right on the grate. The veggies had grill marks on them too and everything had that great barbecue flavor. And Christine was correct about anther thing. I didn’t have to clean the grill when we were done. It was as spotless as when we started.

Barbecue Your Breakfast
So my next big surprise was the following weekend when I stumbled out of bed on Saturday morning and heard noises out on the deck. Christine and her mom were out there making breakfast on the grill. Not steak, but breakfast as in hash-browns, fried eggs, little sausages, pancakes and bacon. Of course they were using the BBQ grill mats. I can’t do an accurate comparison of how that breakfast tasted compared to a barbecued breakfast no using the grill mats. Know why? Because you cant cook a breakfast like that on the grill without grill mats. It’s impossible and it’s never been done and it never will be done.

Totally Changed My Mind
So, as you can see I’m a pretty big fan of the grill mats now and I’ve told a lot of people about them and given a lot of them away as gifts do people like myself, or I should say like my former self; people who would never use a grill mat to barbecue because it’s just flat out wrong. Some of them haven’t tried them yet, and maybe they never will, but the ones that did try them though they were fantastic and were very enthused about all the possibilities they opened up for ways to use the grill that you never could before. Like grilling breakfast.

Chef Caron As Seen on TV Grill Mat

Be Wary and Be Careful
One last thing I need to point out. When I decided to buy some for gifts, my daughter, who researches everything in great detail told me which ones she thought were the best, based on her research and showed me a video about how tell if a grill mat is of high quality. She said to avoid the “as seen on TV grill mat” types because they rely on heavy marketing and the credibility of TV to sell a substandard product. If you disagree with that don’t email me. I’m just the messenger, and that’s what she told me. But it did make sense. The as-seen-on-tv products are sold on a tight margin in enormous quantities. So they make their money on volume. They keep the price low by manufacturing in extremely large quantities, but the also cut corners where they can. Saving a penny or two in costs amounts to a lot of profit when you sell hundreds of thousands of something.

So in case you’re interested, I’ll embed the video that she showed me below, which I thought was very informative and helpful. And listen. Here’s my recommendation. Even if you can’t imagine that a nonstick grilling mat on the barbecue is a good thing, give it a try. I mean really, for 14.95 what’s the big risk. If you don’t like it you’re not out that much and the more likely scenario is that you’ll get years of enjoyment from. And they’ll open up a whole new world of possibilities to you with your barbecue that you never imagined possible. Come on, be open-minded and give it a try. That’s all I’ve got for you today.