As Grillaholics, we pride ourselves on being able to grill just about anything. From meats to vegetables to fruits, nothing is safe from our grilling expertise. With so many foods in our grilling arsenals, we always have hundreds of options for lunch and dinner every day. Unfortunately, while lunch and dinner are always covered, breakfast has always been an area where finding things to grill can be a struggle. Breakfast foods like eggs, hashbrowns, or pancakes simply don’t work on grill grates (for obvious reasons), and even solid foods like bacon don’t work well because of huge flare-ups caused by the amount of grease falling into the flames.
Sure, some people use outdoor griddles to simulate the grilling experience and allow them to cook breakfast foods out on their decks, but you still lose the naturally smoky flavor that cooking anything on the grill brings.
At Grillaholics, we weren’t content with this mediocre solution. We wanted to be able prepare the most important meal of the day on the most important cooking tool in existence: the grill. We wanted bacon and sausage with a naturally smoky flavor, and hashbrowns and eggs cooked to perfection. After years of struggling, we have finally perfected the art of preparing breakfast on the grill in a simple and effective way.
What You’ll Need
Obviously, the biggest issue with preparing breakfast foods on the grill is the face that grill grates are spaced out, rather can a flat, continuous surface like a skillet. That means that liquid foods like eggs and pancakes are literally impossible (physics sucks), and even small foods like shredded hashbrowns and pork sausage are nearly impossible to grill without losing a majority of them between the grates.
At the most basic level, conquering the issue of cooking breakfast foods on the grill involves finding a solid, flat surface to cook on, so that the food can get that delicious smoky flavor from the grill, without falling through the grates. The issue comes down to finding a surface that results in the best tasting food and grilling experience possible.
We started with sheets of aluminum foil. It was thin enough to get grill marks on whatever we grilled, but that thinness was also it’s downfall. Trying to flip anything on the aluminum foil would usually cause the foil to rip, sending anything we were cooking to its fiery grave below, and getting small pieces of aluminum foil mixed in with our scrambled eggs (which I guess is fine if you are part goat).
We then tried taking the same tools we used on the stovetop and just placing them on the grill. From skillets to griddles to pans we tried it all. This solution was definitely a step in the right direction; we were able to cook things like eggs, pancakes, and bacon on the grill with no problem. However, just like when you use these in your kitchen, the cleanup after grilling with all of these different containers was a pain. Burnt cheese from omelets and pools of bacon grease took forever to clean. We wanted a quicker and easier solution so that we could grill our breakfasts even on mornings where we had to be into work earlier than usual.
What we ultimately settled on was somewhat of a combination between the first two options. A nonstick grilling accessory that was thin enough to cook food evenly, yet thick enough to cook on without ripping. A grill mat. Once we found the grill mat, we were hooked. Eggs, bacon, pancakes, French toast, vegetables, omelets, sausage, hash browns, cinnamon rolls, burritos. You name it, and the grill mat could handle it with ease, All of the food cooked evenly and perfectly, and came off with a smoky flavor that you could never get in your kitchen. And once cooking was done, the nonstick grill mat would wipe clean in seconds no matter what we cooked on it. It’s also dishwasher safe, which is about as easy as it gets.
Tips For Grilled Breakfast
If you are planning on using your grill mat for preparing breakfast, there are a few important things to keep in mind before you start grilling.
Tip 1: Do not let your grill mat exceed 500° F or come into direct contact with flames.
This shouldn't be too big an issue, as most of the breakfast foods you'll be cooking won't need temperatures this excessive (unless you like your pancakes to have the consistency of charcoal), but just it's still important to know. Grill mats are tough, but extremely high temperatures and direct flame contact can cause them to break down over time, so you should avoid it. If you are cooking anything (like sausage links) that you want to have a bit of charring, just move it onto the grates directly towards the end of cooking for a few kisses from the flames. If you're worried about grill marks, don't. You'll still get perfect grill marks on everything cooked on your grill mat.
Tip 2: Use silicone tools to flip your food.
Breakfast foods love to be flipped, and whether you're making eggs, pancakes, or french toast, you're going to need a spatula or tongs to help you out. I know that personally all of the tools I have near my grill are made of metal, but metal tools can cause damage to grill mats if used inappropriately. To avoid scratching or even slicing your grill mat, we recommend you use silicone tools to make sure there's no possibility this happens.
Tip 3: Watch for large amounts of grease pooling up.
This is an especially important tip if you're cooking something like bacon (if you're like us, then you cook the entire pack at once). Because grill mats are flat, solid surfaces, grease has a tendency to pool up on the top of the mat during cooking. If these pools get too large, they can begin to run off of the edge of the mat and into the flames below. And I think you can guess what happens next. To make sure your bacon (and your eyebrows) don't end up EXTRA crispy, make sure to keep the grease under control during cooking. We like to keep a wadded up paper towel and a pair of tongs handy, and wipe away any grease pools that get too large. Works like a charm.
Tip 4: Get creative.
You are Picasso and the grill is your canvas. Meaning, there's no reason you can't use your grilling prowess to make breakfast a bit more interesting! One of my favorite ways to do this is to combine all of my breakfast favorites with one of grilling's most loved foods: the noble burger. Grill up some juicy burgers and stack them with your favorite breakfast foods like bacon, eggs, cheese, and hashbrowns. If you really wanna go all out on the breakfast theme, use two pancakes as buns and drench the whole thing in maple syrup! You won't regret it, I promise.