Cooktop Conniptions - RV Enthusiast Magazine

Cooktop Conniptions

by | Mar 29, 2024 | Cool Gadgets, RVEXPERT

Photos by the author
Cleaning up a burner pan that’s been soiled from boiled over food, grease splatters and plain ‘ol chef sloppiness is much easier when the surface is lined with a silicone barbecue-grill mat.

I’m not crazy about housework, but keeping everything clean and tidy is part of the deal when living full time in an RV. Cleaning the cooktop may not rank right up there with dumping the holding tank, but it’s a job that’s no fun — especially if food has “cooked” on the surfaces around and under the burner grates. You can find foil protectors at grocery and home improvement stores, but they don’t fit right on my Furrion cooktop with the oblong high-output burner between the other two burners, and lining the area with aluminum foil was not an option for me.

While cooking meat on one of those silicone mats on the barbecue grill, I got the idea to modify one of the mats and place it around the stovetop burners. These mats work great on barbecues and smokers, preventing cooked food from sticking while keeping the flames under control. They are cheap and can be found on the Internet; I got mine when it was one of those “As Seen On TV” products.

Fortunately, I had an extra silicone mat, so my smirky brain “told” me that all I had to do was cut some holes and lay the mat down. Boy, was I wrong! I couldn’t believe the detail in trying to cut two round and one oblong hole and get them centered — plus having to deal with a swale at the knobs and the many angles, turns and other curves.

I figured I would need a template.

I started by drawing a rough diagram of the shape of the cooktop and jumped through a bunch of centering measurements. Rather than do the math, I grabbed a metric measuring tape, which is simple to decipher when trying to find center points. The measurements were then transferred to craft paper along with lines drawn with a plastic cup that mimicked the circumference at the bottom of the burners; spice jars were used to make rough circles for the rounded corners. I think maybe I measured 70 times throughout the whole process.

a standard measuring tape is used to find the center points for the burners
At first, a standard measuring tape was used to find the center points for the burners, but that required doing the math on fractions. A centering tape is good way to go, but I had a metric tape, which is easier to read and calculate.
a hand holding scissors cuts a piece of craft paper to size
A piece of craft paper was cut to the same size as the silicone mat. This craft paper was used as a template for cutting the silicone mat.
Once the template looked like it would work, it was set on the pan surrounding the burners to verify the fit. A construction crayon was used to mark the silicone grill mat, and the cuts were made with scissors. (I knew the curves were going to be a challenge, so I used a very sharp, small scissors. An X-Acto Knife would probably also work.)

Only a few adjustment cuts were needed after the paper template was removed from the silicone mat. The final fit was as flat as possible, and even though it wasn’t perfectly flat against the burner pan, it really doesn’t move very much. If you have a square or a rectangular cooktop with all round burners, the job is going to be much easier.

a small spice container is traced on the craft template paper to mimic the arc for the center burner
top view of a piece of craft paper on a cooktop, on the paper are markings for trimming holes
I dug through my spice box for jars that would mimic the arc for the center burner. Other cups and spice jars were used to outline the different shapes that would be cut on the silicone mat. The template was then dropped in place (on top of the burners) to make sure the outline was accurate. Once I was comfortable with the markings, it was time to cut the holes in the template for the burners using a small, sharp scissors (longer scissors made it difficult to cut a tight radius).
close view of a Sharpie marking a central hole for further trimming
The first cuts were pretty close but when the template was placed over the burners, additional trimming was needed. A Sharpie was used to mark the areas that needed trimming.
a hand tapes the craft paper template to the silicone mat
a construction crayon is used to outline the areas to be cut from the silicone mat
In order to mark the areas to be cut, the template was taped to the silicone mat in several places to keep it from scooting out of place. After trying chalk and a felt pen to outline the areas to be cut from the silicone mat, a construction crayon did the trick. This provided bold markings that were highly visible during the cutting process.

The barbecue mat is rated for up to 500 degrees F. I checked the temperature at the mat with a heat gun and recorded 436 degrees F. while boiling water in a 12-inch cast iron pan for 10 minutes on the high-output burner. After removing ¼-inch of material from around the burner, the temperature was reduced to 321 degrees F. after testing the same way.

top view of the RV cooktop with its base covered by a silicone barbecue mat
top view of the RV cooktop with its base covered by a silicone barbecue mat and the burner grates back in place

The barbecue mat fits almost flat against the cooktop and the burners centered nicely. The flame is almost an inch above the mat, which is rated for up to 500 degrees F. After cutting the mat back ¼-inch from the high-output burner, the temperature reached only 321 degrees F. while boiling water in a 12-inch cast iron pan for 10 minutes (not shown). The mat looks good through the grates and can be easily cleaned when spills occur.

Although it took much more time to complete this job than expected, the result made it all worthwhile. Nothing sticks to the silicone mat; everything wipes off with no effort. If necessary, the mat can be removed for additional cleaning. Now I can cook away with little punishment for being sloppy.

Get Updates
Subscribe today and never miss an issue!
Get all the latest tips and news to keep you moving on that open road!
RV Enthusiast April 2024 Issue
Current Issue
April 2024
No fooling, it's here–our latest issue of RV Enthusiast! The April issue covers 2024's Newest Parts & Accessories, RV OEMs Debut New Entry-Level Towables, an in-depth slideout floor replacement, PLUS so much more!

Already a Subscriber? Click here for Access to the Full Issues.

Share This