Before I became a travel and food writer, I spent a couple decades writing about health so I’m well aware of the health concerns about foods, especially meats, cooked over flames. According to health experts like doctors at Harvard Medical School, when meat is cooked at high temperatures, amino acids react with creatine to form heterocyclic amines, thought to cause cancer. Grilling also exposes meat to cancer-causing chemicals contained in the smoke that rises from burning coals and drips of fat that cause flare-ups. The COOKINA Barbeque Reusable Grilling Sheet prevents these flare ups and results in juicy grilled meats and other foods.
COOKINA Barbeque Reusable Grilling Sheet is a non-stick, PFOA-free, reusable, and reversible sheet. It’s made of a composite Fluoro Polymer plastic that combines two high-grade coatings encapsulated around a fabric interior. The result is a tough, flexible cooking sheet that can withstand the rigors of grilling. The main ingredient of the sheet is PTFE, a very stable plastic that’s been studied since the 1940s and has been proven safe for cooking.
No Flares, Juicy Food
When the COOKINA Barbecue Reusable Grilling Sheet arrived at our offices, I was skeptical. How, I wondered, could this roll of plastic work on the grill? After cleaning the COOKINA sheet according to the directions with warm soapy water and drying it off, I cut the sheet in half. (The directions state that you should leave some room on the grill for air and ventilation.)
I decided to give this product a tough test: grilling a half leg of butterflied lamb. I’ve cooked this cut of meat many times on the grill and it’s one of my favorites. I always marinate it in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh garlic, and fresh rosemary. However, the combination of oily marinade and the lamb fat always result in huge flare-ups on the grill. If I’m not careful, I can easily crispy critter my meat. And who knows what the health risks are from my charred-on-the-outside meat?
I also chose sliced beets to grill on the COOKINA sheet. It’s difficult to get beets to cook properly on the grill without drying them out and burning them.
I pre-heated the grill and then put the two pieces of COOKINA on the grill, leaving room around the edges for airflow. Once the sheets were hot, I placed the lamb, fat side down, on one half-sheet; the beet slices, lightly tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper, on the other and shut the lid.
The first thing I noticed about the COOKINA Barbecue Reusable Cooking Sheet is there were NO flare-ups. None. Not one. And that’s despite the grill cooking at 450 F. (The directions say not to cook the sheet higher than 500 F.) The lamb’s marinade and the natural fat from the lamb just pooled on the sheet, keeping the meat moist. The food also cooked much more quickly, at least 30% faster than without the COOKINA Barbeque Cooking Sheet. In fact, I slightly singed the edges of the lamb on the fat side because I didn’t turn it quite fast enough.
The directions that come with the COOKINA insist that “users can still achieve the coveted grill marks on foods.” I didn’t find that to be the case. Neither the lamb nor the beets had any grill marks. And, frankly, I don’t really see how foods can have grill marks when the sheet is between what’s being grilled and the grill.
However, both the lamb and the beets came off the grill easily with no sticking and they were amazingly juicy and delicious. One of our editors said this was the best lamb I’d ever cooked (and that’s saying something because I’m good at it!). While the meat lacked the char on the outside I like (despite it being unhealthful), the moist and flavorful meat was really a hit. It was also perfectly cooked to medium rare. Even the beets were full of moisture and flavor.
Once the COOKINA Barbecue Reusable Cooking Sheets were cool, they were a cinch to clean in warm soapy water. I let them air dry and then re-rolled them to use another day with the metal ring provided keeping them rolled up. My grill stayed clean too, eliminating messy clean-up.
I was so pleased with the cooking results of this COOKINA Barbecue Reusable Cooking Sheets I’m going to make it a regular part of my grilling routine. I’m anxious to see how this grilling sheet impacts my BBQ chicken, which tends to mercilessly drip sauce onto the grill’s flames and causes those pesky flare-ups. Any product that cuts the health risks of cooking over flames and makes food taste juicier and more flavorful gets my vote. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor
COOKINA Barbeque Reusable Cooking Sheets are available at Home Depot and online.