If you’re an average everyday griller, you may have seen the term ‘Hibachi Grill’ and been left in the dark. While they are a very unique type of grill, they aren’t generally as well known as your basics – charcoal, gas grills, etc.
In fact, what some people know to be a Hibachi grill isn’t actually even a typical Hibachi. We’re going to give you some information about what a Hibachi grill is and what makes them special compared to other types of grills.
What is a Hibachi grill?
The traditional Hibachi grill is a very old device that dates back more than a century, to the Japanese Heian period which began in 785 AD. They emerged because Japan was going through some serious economic difficulty, and the winters in Japan are cold and unforgiving which can make winters during times of economic turmoil a difficult time. A time for innovating.
Since Japanese houses were made of paper-thin wood, they didn’t want to use fire indoors, and since burnable wood wasn’t available, they had to find other alternatives for cooking. They began putting charcoal in open-topped containers to heat their food.
This formed the basis for a Hibachi grill. Hibachi actually means ‘fire bowl,’ but the Hibachi grill have evolved a little bit from their origin.
It first became used as a grill during World War II when the Japanese didn’t have enough time to afford cooks for their troops. They began using Hibachis for personal cooking utensils. They’re very durable, very portable, and they work great for cooking meals over the hot charcoal.
The term Hibachi is now used to describe pretty much any portable, round cooking device, though true Hibachis will still use charcoal and have no lid.
So what makes Hibachi grills special?
The term Hibachi means different things to different people now. A true Hibachi won’t be gas powered or electric, though many electric or grass, rounded personal grills use the name Hibachi now.
A Hibachi should just be a round container that holds hot coals with a grill placed above them so you can cook food on it. Some true Hibachis are modified to have air vents, but you don’t really need these on an open grill and these are often just cash grabs for companies.
There should be legs on the bowl to make sure that it doesn’t topple and that you don’t have to put it directly on a surface. That’s all a Hibachi grill is, in a traditional sense.
They’re great for a few reasons.
- Since they have minimal components, they’re very cheap.
- They’re reliable, not only because they use charcoal as a fuel source which will always treat you the same, but because they’re made of durable materials. The bowl has to be made of fireproof material, but that’s about it, and in today’s modern world, many cheap metals are fireproof.
- They’re very simplistic which is great for people who don’t need a grill to cook gourmet meals. There are no adjustable flames, you don’t have to deal with liquid fuel sources, you don’t have any moving parts, you don’t even need to decide whether or not you should keep the lid on, because a true Hibachi won’t have a lid.
- Charcoal, the typical fuel source for a Hibachi, is very cheap. However, you can also use other cheap fuel sources like wood or anything that will burn down to produce embers strong enough to heat them.
- They make great heaters as well as grills, since embers from charcoal don’t release a lot of smoke. You can set them up in a ventilated room and you’ll hardly be able to detect the smoke. Some people even report using them in tents without having to smell the smoke, which is great because you can’t use propane heaters in a confined space.
- They’re also portable, so you can use them for camp cookouts or bring them to your tailgate parties. They’re much cheaper than other portable grills, and they don’t usually take up a lot of space or require much of a safety zone.
Mind you, Hibachis aren’t perfect. Due to their size, you can only cook so much food on them and the typical sized Hibachi won’t be enough to feed a group of people. In retrospect, though, you could probably buy a couple cheap Hibachi grills for the same price you’d pay for a bigger portable grill.
- Since there’s no lid, things that need to be steamed aren’t ideal for a Hibachi – though you can use something else, like the lid of a pot, to make your own.
- The fact that you can’t adjust the temperature might be a bit irritating for some people who likes to have complete control over their food. You can adjust how much fuel you use and the height of the grill, but that’s about it.
- They’re best for cooking thinner meats like steaks, burgers, pork chops, chicken breasts, but not thicker meats. You won’t want to cook a whole chicken on a Hibachi.
- If you get a lower-grade model made from steel, it could rust, but they’re not very expensive and you’ll probably still get your money’s worth.
Despite these few cons, Hibachi grills are still top of the line if you’re looking for a cheap grill that’s highly effective and great for use while you’re on the move.
Not a lot of people know what a Hibachi grill is, which is a shame because they have such interesting history and are so versatile. A Hibachi grill is only going to cost you a few bucks, but you can take it with you anywhere. The fuel source for most Hibachi grills is charcoal, which is also cheap, but you can also use wood which is great if you’re camping.
A Hibachi grill might not be as heavy duty as a portable camping grill, but if you’re just cooking burgers and hot dogs for a night out or an evening with the family, they will be more than enough to suit your needs.