Hibachi grilling is probably one of the least understood of all the barbecue terminology. A traditional Japanese Hibachi is a small, compact, charcoal heater. Over the generations, it came to have more uses but what is commonly thought of being a hibachi grill in the U.S. is actually called a “shichirin“in Japan.
There are different schools of thought as to why the discrepancy, but one thing is certain. The small, portable, rectangular grills, known in the U.S. as Hibachi grills, are a great way to enjoy grilled foods cooked over an open flame.
Understanding Hibachi/Japanese Grilling
Many call Teppanyaki restaurants, Hibachi style grills or Japanese Steakhouses. Teppanyaki differs from grilling, in that teppanyaki is cooking with a large steel griddle as opposed to a charcoal fueled open grate, as it is done with a Hibachi or “shichirin” grill.
While both produce delicious results, only one is technically grilling. So, unless a person is striving for authenticity, what is more important than the exact cooking utensils nomenclature, is the results.
Grilling on a Hibachi or “Shichirin“
Typically, the Hibachi grill is a small, rectangular grill that uses charcoal. It has one or two small grates that usually can be placed at various heights to adjust for the heat of the flame or coals below.
These grills usually do not cook at the higher temperatures found in larger grills, mainly due to the limited fuel space. As such they are great for small apartments, camping or small intimate settings.
They also do not have the heat retention properties as the larger grills and thus, are not used to cook large cuts of meat or for smoking. With all that being said however, they are perfect for steaks and smaller cuts of meats as they have excellent heat distribution properties and allow for a more exacting control over just how well the meat is cooked.
Five Hibachi or “Shichirin” Grills For Consideration
Best Affordable Hibachi Grill
Each cooking grate of the TrailWorthy 17″ Deluxe Grill has three height positions for heat adjustment and the fire plate is holed for ashes to drop to the ash pan for easy cleaning. Small, portable and simple, this grill is a good idea for table top use.
Best Hibachi Charcoal Grill
This hibachi cooking grill, is made of cast iron for perfect heat distribution. The cooking grates of the Marsh Allen Model #30052AMZ Hibachi Grill are also cast iron for heat distribution and are three height adjustable to get that perfect sear.
Each grate has a wooden handle for hand protection from the heat and the fire deck has two adjustable vents to help regulate the charcoal. This is a great, lightweight hibachi grill for small apartments, tailgating or camping.
Top Portable Cast Iron Charcoal Grill
This Hibachi grill is made of heavy duty cast iron for heat production and distribution. The cooking grates of the Hibachi Model #30010 Grill are made up of the same heavy duty cast iron to provide that perfect sear and can be adjusted to three height positions.
The fire deck has a heavy duty grate and an adjustable vent to promote heat management. Each cooking grate has a wooden handle and while this hibachi is slightly heavier than some of the others, this also have the advantage of lasting longer. This is the grill for those who love hibachi grilled food.
Best Portable Charcoal Grill
Not a hibachi grill by name, the Weber Model #121020 Grill is one in form and function. Weber is a leading manufacturer of grills and grilling accessories and this compact grill is great for small intimate settings. This grill is hibachi cooking on the go.
Porcelain coated for excellent heat retention, production and distribution, this is a one grate grill with 160 square inches of cooking space. It also features lockable legs and lid. This grill is excellent for camping, tailgating, apartments or bistros.
Bestselling Outdoor Tabletop Grill
Having perfect heat retention, production and distribution thanks to the all cast iron construction, the Lodge Model #L410 Grill can go anywhere. The cooking grate is adjustable and the grill has a forward facing draft door for superior heat management.
This grill is also preseasoned so it is ready out of the box for cooking.
Lodge is a leading manufacturer of solid, cast iron cookware and this grill meets that standard. This grill is perfect for camping, tailgating, small settings such as bistros and apartments or anywhere portable cooking is desired.
In addition, it is best to provide a cover for your grill when not in use to protect it from the elements. Since hibachi style grills are typically placed on a table top it is vital that it not be on an uneven surface to prevent tipping.
As with other grills, never allow flammable materials within five feet of a hot or cooling hibachi grill. Also due to the unique nature of hibachi grills, do not operate in high wind conditions, as the shape of the grill can allow wind to blow embers out from the grill.