The simple hibachi charcoal grill has become a popular alternative for consumers looking for a portable and economical charcoal grill based on a traditional Japanese design.
Hibachi-style gas grills are now available (we included one in this roundup).
Without the frills of a modern grill, the best hibachi grills allow you to focus on the timeless technique of cooking with charcoal.
Table of Contents
Our recommendations for the best Hibachi grills
1. Best overall – Lodge cast iron sportsman’s grill
The Lodge Sportsman is a traditional hibachi charcoal grill with a straightforward and nearly unbreakable build.
It is almost entirely constructed of cast iron. Although this makes it quite weighty for a portable grill, the material advantages outweigh the inconvenience.
It also has multiple temperature adjustment mechanisms for precise cooking control. After some trial and error, you should be able to determine the ideal charcoal amount/height/oxygen level combo for any cooking you intend to accomplish.
Charcoal + cast iron is a terrific combo for grilling at high temperatures and producing tasty meals, whether you’re camping, tailgating, or using the Lodge at home as a tabletop grill.
- Cast-Iron — Because of its longevity and ability to maintain heat, pre-seasoned cast iron is an excellent material for a charcoal grill. Because the entire grill is composed of cast iron, it weighs more than 20 pounds in total.
- Flip-Down Door — This is a door that is situated right beneath the grilling surface. You can take charcoal from here or add more to reduce or enhance the heat accordingly.
- Two Grilling Heights – The two height settings allow you to manage the temperature even more precisely. It will take some trial and error though.
- Bottom vent
- Cheap Handle – The Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill has a single wire handle that runs across the top.
2. Best budget – Marsh Allen kay hibachi charcoal grill
The Marsh Allen Kay Grill has a cooking surface area of 157 inches.
It has several comforts, such as temperature vents and hardwood handles. The best part is that you can purchase this grill for a very low asking price.
The cooking grids can be moved to one of three different positions. As a result, multitasking is simplified.
- 2 Air Vents
- Wooden Handles
- 3 Grates Positions
- Cheap build
3. Best gas hibachi – Cuisinart cgg-180t petit gourmet portable tabletop gas grill
The Cuisinart CGG-180T has 145 square inches of cooking space with legs that fold up beneath the main unit. It’s extremely portable and simple to operate, and because it runs on propane rather than charcoal, it can be fired up and ready to cook in seconds.
- Legs that fold up
- Thick handle
- Porcelain-enameled grates
- Plastic conducts heat
- Burners are flimsy
4. Best round hibachi – Cajun classic round seasons cast iron charcoal hibachi grill
This grill is designed in a traditional Japanese circular shape. It boasts a 15-inch cooking surface that can hold up to nine standard-size burgers.
The Cajun was made in China, and the cast iron is of inferior quality to that of the Lodge Sportsman, which won our best hibachi grill award.
On the other hand, the Cajun has a greater surface area, which is useful if you need to maximize space.
- Compact size
5. Most durable grill – Giantex charcoal grill
The Hibachi Giantex Grill is the best barbeque utensil you can buy for cookouts, camping, or picnics. The grill has a sturdy build and is easily portable, allowing you to enjoy the great outdoors.
Most significantly, the grill is built to preserve the natural flavor of meat, fish, and other grill delights. It comes with a double-sided grilling net that you could use on both sides to adjust the height of the grill to your liking.
- The small design of the grill is its key selling point. It is lightweight and portable, and it is simple to put together.
- Cleaning is also a pleasure because the grilling net and charcoal net are easily detachable.
- There have been several complaints that the dimensions of the grill are not as stated.
6. Best traditional hibachi grill – Noto dia tabletop charcoal grill
NOTO DIA’s little hibachi grill is handcrafted in Japan in the traditional Japanese style. The grill has a limited cooking area of only 63 square inches.
As a result, it’s best suited for a single person or an intimate dinner for two – ideally, you’d use this grill to prepare an appetizer or a modest meal. In any event, this should not be your go-to hibachi grill for preparing dinner regularly.
This will soon deteriorate the delicate material, and there is little control over the charcoal, airflow, or cooking surface height.
Nonetheless, users were generally pleased with the grill. It is authentic in style and builds, and it works well for occasional cooking. Given that it is manufactured in Japan, the price is also reasonable.
- The traditional Japanese look is lovely.
- Ideal for a romantic meal for two.
- It can be used indoors on a tabletop.
- Build is quite brittle.
- The exterior design is on paper rather than ink, on a very small cooking surface.
7. Best for travel – Isumer bbq grill
The Isumer Charcoal Grill is a folding stainless steel grill that can cook meals in several settings. This grill includes two air vents for temperature control, but there is no cover.
So, while you may achieve the desired sears on your meat, this grill is not well adapted to low-temperature cooking. A built-in charcoal frame ash collection is another essential feature that makes cleanup a breeze.
The four legs are detachable for easy transport and may be modified to provide a new cooking height. If you want a portable grilling alternative and low-temperature cooking is not a concern, this is a fantastic choice.
- The legs are detachable for convenient mobile cooking, and the design is compact.
- For a portable grill, the cooking area is quite huge.
- This Isumer Charcoal Grill is made of rust-resistant stainless steel.
- Because it lacks a lid, it is unsuitable for low-temperature cooking.
- This is a tad heavy for a portable grill at 4 lbs.
- The cooking grate could be a little thicker.
What is a Hibachi grill?
Hibachi grills are traditionally charcoal grills that are compact and portable. They are straightforward and efficient. Rather than relying on electrical igniters and other modern equipment, they merely need to hold hot coals in their bowl to accomplish the job.
The grilling style originated in Japan, where the phrase Hibachi translates to “fire bowl.”
Hibachi grills are now used to prepare a variety of cuisines with a charcoal flavor.
When space is limited, hibachi grills may be used instead of traditional charcoal grills.
Although technically incorrect, the term Hibachi may also describe a flat iron hot plate used in Teppanyaki restaurants.
A lid is not used in traditional Japanese cooking on a hibachi grill. This is why most hibachi grills available for purchase do not include one.
Some hibachi grills have adequate room for a two-level fire. You can set different temperatures on either side of the grilling surface using this fire style.
Most Hibachi grills are used to prepare small food items or strips of meat because the food on the grill will be near an open flame. Many hibachi grills have vents on the bottom of their chassis that allow you to modify the power of your flames for fire and heat management.
Type of hibachi grills
In regions like North America and Australia, the phrase “hibachi grill” has a broader connotation. There are numerous styles and materials from which to pick. The lack of a top cover is consistent from one version to the next.
Here are a few examples of each:
- Charcoal hibachi grill – This style is often compact and portable, with a cast-iron grate placed atop a charcoal base. Cheaper versions use cast aluminum (rather than clay, cast iron, ceramic, or uncommon materials like diatomite), lacking character and quality. Some, but not all, have bottom vents to help with heat control. The majority are large enough to support two-level charcoal fires.
- Gas grill – This type of grill is common in outdoor kitchens and is made of cast aluminum or stainless steel materials. It employs propane gas as a heating source and looks like a regular BBQ or grill. It is not customary, but it is convenient. Just don’t expect any of that smoky charcoal flavor to come through.
- Teppanyaki grills – This is a freestanding style of flat-surface grill that has essentially become part of the hibachi family, if only for marketing purposes. It is frequently heated with propane gas and has a cast-iron surface.
What types of foods can be cooked on a hibachi grill?
Thin foods, such as chicken breast halves or small steaks, are ideal due to the narrow cooking area and direct exposure to hot charcoal. Fish or other seafood are ideal since they cook rapidly.
A hibachi grill can also be used to prepare vegetables such as mushrooms or long beans.
The biggest food type limitation you’ll have is that not all grills have the same size grates. Some hibachi grills, for example, have grates that are too large to cook little vegetables.
Other foods that could easily fall into the charcoal beneath the grilling surface should be avoided as well.
Meats and vegetables of many kinds are ideal for cooking on a hibachi grill. Food cooks quickly due to the high intensity of the heat source and the food’s proximity to the flame.
Hibachi grills often have less surface area than a standard charcoal grill. As a result, cookouts for larger families aren’t always feasible.
However, because of its compact size and low weight, using a hibachi grill as a portable cooking tool is a terrific idea.
What to look for in a hibachi grill
Your hibachi grill’s material has an impact on its longevity and cooking performance. If you want to buy a traditional hibachi grill, look for one made primarily of cast iron.
Cast-iron lasts a long time and can resist high temperatures and use without breaking or buckling. Cast-iron hibachi grills will also improve the flavor of your meal over time.
Cast-iron is also an excellent material for the building of your grill’s grates.
The sole disadvantage of cast iron is that it is often heavier than other grilling materials, such as aluminum and requires more maintenance.
While metal hibachi grills are available, they are less likely to survive as long and require more frequent cleaning to minimize corrosion and wear and tear.
We also like hibachi grills with wooden handles rather than metal handles. Wooden handles will not absorb as much heat from the grill as metal ones will. As a result, your hands will be less likely to burn.
Gas vs. charcoal for Hibachi
Propane is the primary heating fuel for gas hibachi grills. Gas grills have a few advantages: they start faster and are easier to handle regarding temperature management. But you can’t top the authentic charcoal flavor imparted on meals cooked on a charcoal grill.
Charcoal hibachi grills necessitate the transport of bags of charcoal and take longer to heat up.
Temperature management on charcoal hibachi grills is also a little more difficult.
Overall, there is no clear winner between the two. Everything comes down to personal taste.
Because of their ease of use, gas hibachi grills may be better for beginners. However, experienced cooks may prefer the added taste of a charcoal hibachi grill.
The majority of hibachi grills are lightweight. You should look for one with handles for easier transport. One of the most significant advantages of the hibachi grill is that it can be taken with you on camping trips or to a friend’s house for a cookout.
Buying a large hibachi grill is usually not worth it. At some point, you will be able to purchase a standard gas or charcoal grill. Such a device will have a larger surface area for cooking more food while weighing like a heavy hibachi grill.
Some larger hibachi grills will have distinct compartments within the charcoal basin.
These areas can be used to stack or remove charcoal, allowing you to have varying heat levels in different areas of your grilling space. This type of setup allows you to sear some dishes while warming others, for example.
Consider the entire cost of your hibachi grill. Hibachi grills constructed of cast iron are often fantastic buys that offer exceptional value for money. However, they are frequently more expensive than less-priced plastic hibachi grills.
Making use of your hibachi grill
Let’s get started with a hibachi grill.
Seasoning your Hibachi grill
You may need to season a cast-iron grilling surface before using it.
Before beginning, make sure the grill is clean.
Then, lightly coat the grilling surface with olive, vegetable, or food-grade mineral oil. You don’t want to season with bacon fat or anything like that; these compounds contain salt, which can corrode cast iron over time.
After that, place the hibachi grill in a regular oven at 350°F for one hour. Allow it to cool after the baking process and your seasoning is complete.
How to light your Hibachi grill
It is also simple to light a hibachi grill. You only need to use the igniter button or knob on a gas hibachi grill if you’ve already input some propane.
- You’ll need to light your coals if you’re cooking with charcoal.
- Place your charcoal coals in a charcoal chimney starter to get them going.
- Stuff some oil-soaked paper towels (or a few fire starter cubes) at the bottom of a charcoal-filled chimney. Both lump and briquettes will suffice.
- After you’ve lit the paper, the coals should be ready to use in approximately 10 minutes.
- Pour the ash-covered coals into the bottom of your Hibachi when they have begun to ash over – make careful to remove the grate first! Using standard tongs, stir the coals around to your preference.
- To create a two-zone configuration, add more charcoal to one side of the grill.
- The grilling surface can then be replaced at the desired height. The grill should start heating up almost immediately, and you can start cooking!
- You should be able to change the temperature of your hibachi grill in a few different ways, depending on the model.
- Some grills allow you to reduce or increase the grilling surface, while others include bottom vents that allow you to control the amount of oxygen that flows to the charcoal.
- Of course, direct temperature adjustments will be accessible on gas hibachi grills.
How should I use my hibachi grill to get the best results?
You should use Binchotan charcoal. It’s an extremely pure, white charcoal derived from the Japanese ubame oak tree. It is carbonized before being shaped with damp earth, sand, and ash.
It burns extremely hot and cleanly, emitting almost no smoke. It’s a flavorful and effective choice for indoor grilling.
Binchotan is a more expensive type of charcoal. To preserve it, place any unburned lumps in an airtight metal container to extinguish any leftover flames.
Can I use a hibachi grill exclusively with charcoal?
All of the hibachi grills we looked at are meant to be used with charcoal. However, there is no reason why you can’t utilize an alternative fuel source, such as wood pellets or even petrol, for a low flame.
What is the maximum temperature of a hibachi grill?
Hibachi grills can get extremely hot. The core of the grill can reach 450°F depending on how much charcoal you’ve added to it. The grill surface’s edges may be slightly cooler, approximately 250°F.
Are hibachi grills intended for use indoors?
Because hibachi grills use charcoal, it is generally suggested that they be used outside. The charcoal might produce a lot of smoke and ash, which you don’t want indoors.
You may utilize a hibachi grill inside in a pinch, as long as you cook in a well-ventilated space.
What kind of material should the Hibachi be made of?
Cast-iron grills are popular due to their well-documented heat retention and the grate’s nonstick characteristics. However, they are typically heavier, prone to rust, and more difficult to clean.
Hibachi grills were traditionally cypress wood (lined with clay), volcanic soil, or beautiful porcelain or ceramic. Today, they are also fashioned of steel or diatomite bricks, which can be just as effective, if not more so, at retaining heat than clay bricks.
What foods are most suited to grilling on a hibachi?
Hibachi grills are completely open with no cover or lid. Therefore they cannot be used for indirect or smoke cooking (unlike pellet grills).
Instead, they work best with thin portions of chicken, pork, beef, or fish that can be cooked with direct, focused heat (so, probably not a porterhouse steak or prime rib roast).
Hibachi grilling is especially good for kabobs and other foods that can be skewered. Consider yakitori, which are skewers of bite-sized chicken slices seasoned with salt and a tare sauce composed of mirin, soy sauce, sake, and sugar.
What’s the difference between Hibachi and Teppanyaki?
These two are frequently confused. Teppenyaki is a type of grilling that employs a teppan, a metal grill plate with a flat, solid surface. Teppan is commonly used for cooking stir-fries and is typically heated by propane.
Hibachi grills have an open grate (or sometimes metal bars) that exposes the meat or vegetables cooking on it to the direct heat and flame of the charcoal underneath.
Teppanyaki and Hibachi are terms used to describe Japanese restaurants that grill meals tableside, giving customers an up-close-and-personal experience as they watch their dinner being prepared.
Bonus (terminology guide):
Here are a few Japanese phrases that have already appeared in this tutorial. You may have mixed some of them up in the past, but not any longer!
- Hibachi – fire bowl (in Japan); tiny Japanese charcoal grill (outside Japan); also, a style of cooking with a konro or shichirin
- Shichirin – a small, portable charcoal grill: squat, generally bowl-shaped
- Teppanyaki – a kind of Japanese food cooked on a teppan
- Yakitori – skewered grilled chicken
- Yakiniku – a style of cooking bite-sized meat tableside over charcoals or on an electric/gas grill
- Binchotan – charcoal created from the wood of the Japanese ubame oak tree
Bringing it all together
If you want one of the best hibachi grills on the market, the Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill is an excellent choice.
It is made of cast iron and features various doors and vents as well as two grilling heights. These features combine to make it a piece of special cooking equipment that gives you complete control over the temperature of your charcoal.
Whatever you decide, best of luck and happy grilling!
Last update on 2023-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
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