All About Hibachi Grills

How to Choose and Use Them

Vegetables and shrimp cooking on a hibachi grill

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Little hibachi grills offer a great grilling solution for people who love the taste of charcoal grilled foods but either don't have a lot of space or like to take their grill on the road. A good cast iron hibachi can do almost anything a full-size grill can do—except grill a lot of food. The advantages of using real fire, the portable size, and hot direct cooking make them a popular type of grill.

Types of Hibachi Grills

Hibachi grills come in different sizes, shapes, and configurations. The cheaper hibachis made from cast aluminum can be a problem because they tend to rust and fall apart. If you want to get a good hibachi, pay a little more and get a good solid cast iron one.

Some hibachis have racks that can be adjusted in height. This gives you versatility when it comes to grilling by allowing you to adjust how close the food is to the heat. The problem is that many hibachi grills with adjustable racks are also poorly made. You need good construction in a hibachi. If you intend to take your hibachi traveling, then you will want one that is sturdy and able to handle being transported without falling apart.

Charcoal Grilling With a Hibachi

Charcoal-fired hibachis really do give you a lot of grilling options. One thing to keep in mind is that a hibachi doesn't have a lid, as you would have with many other types of charcoal grills. While charcoal grilling can be a little challenging, once you get the hang of it, you will be able to grill most anything that will fit on the cooking surface.

Most hibachis are large enough to let you make a two-level fire, meaning you put more coals to one side than the other. This gives you a hot side and a not-so-hot side. This kind of fire is great for getting foods seared while providing the space to grill or keep foods warm while you do something else.

Because of the direct and close heat that a hibachi creates it is best to grill small items. Kebabs and thin strips of meat are perfect for a hibachi. Also, a hibachi is a fantastic hamburger cooker.

Bottom Vents

Some hibachi models have bottom vents which help you adjust your fire a bit. However, the open design of a hibachi makes sure that there is always plenty of air to keep your fire going. Still, the vents allow air to rise through the grill and increase the heat of the fire. When you first start out with your hibachi, play with the vents a little to get a hang for how you can cool it off or heat it up.

Hibachi Safety

Like any portable grill, you need to make sure you are safe when using a hibachi. Always place it on a sturdy surface and make sure that nothing is going to fall onto the hibachi or possibly knock it over. Keep a bucket of water or a fire extinguisher close by, just in case. Also, while it's pretty cool to have your hibachi out for a late- night cookout, make sure you have plenty of light on your hibachi while you are using it and never leave a hot hibachi unwatched.

The Bottom Line

A small, portable hibachi is a versatile grill. Experiment with your hibachi and grill up some great meals.

Compare various types of hibachi grills on Amazon.