A hibachi tabletop grill is one of the most flavorful ways to cook at home. Fueled by charcoal, a hibachi is convenient and highly portable. You can cook most of your favorite meats and vegetables on a compact surface, making this style of cooking perfect for solo meals or family dining.
If you’ve never used a hibachi before, you’ll need to explore the benefits and downsides so that you can decide whether this type of grill is right for you.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of hibachi-style tabletop grilling with our best tips that will help you to get the best results.
The Pros of Using a Hibachi Grill
You may have used a hibachi grill before and not have even known it. Most portable charcoal grills are hibachi grills in almost every way except name.
A traditional hibachi is cylindrical in shape with a rounded grilling surface. Modern hibachi grills are usually rectangular, although there are some highly portable round models like this Update International Cast Iron Hibachi Set.
Portability is the key advantage here. Even if you don’t intend to take a grill camping or on the road, having something small and compact could still be useful.
If you want to enjoy alfresco dining during the summer, but you don’t want to fire up a large grill, a tabletop hibachi could be the best choice. If you’re cooking a solo meal but want the authentic flavor of grilled meat, a hibachi would be ideal.
People who live in apartments and smaller townhomes can make use of hibachi grills. The small size and convenience are well suited to outdoor living areas where there isn’t a lot of space available.
Hibachi grills can even be used in semi-enclosed areas, such as balconies and porches. As long as there’s enough ventilation, cooking with a hibachi is safe.
Hibachi grills are also:
- Fuel efficient so you will use less charcoal.
- Easy to clean and store.
- Incredibly affordable.
- Great for gifts.
- Fun to cook with, especially when teaching children how to grill safely.
A hibachi can’t take the place of a larger traditional grill, but as a secondary grill, this style is worth considering.
The Cons of Using a Hibachi Grill
There are downsides to using a hibachi grill. You’ll need to consider these before you spend any money.
Hibachi grills aren’t hooded, so you can’t cook with indirect heat. You also won’t have the option to smoke your food or cook it at low temperatures using radiant heat. The size will also be a concern if you need to cook for more than four people.
Hibachi grills work best for solo and couple cooking. If you’re cooking small pieces of meat and kebabs, then you could cook for a family of four. Anything beyond this is usually unrealistic.
Some hibachi grills lack vents to control heat. You’ll never get the same level of control and flexibility as you would on a larger tabletop or freestanding grill.
Tips to Get the Best Results from a Hibachi Grill
- Cook small pieces of meat and diced vegetables. Hibachi grills aren’t designed for slow cooking larger cuts of meat. Kebabs work best, or, you can cook smaller strips of steak, pork, and poultry like chicken breast.
- These grills are great for skewered vegetables. Mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, and zucchini work well. Diced tofu kebabs also come out amazing on a hibachi grill.
- Use a hibachi in a well-ventilated area. Cooking inside without adequate ventilation can be dangerous.
- Use the highest quality charcoal you can find. You may find lump charcoal to be too inconsistent in size to be useful for hibachi grilling. Try manufactured products like these Hardwood Briquettes from Duraflame Cowboy.
- Avoid cooking thick steaks on your hibachi. Unlike on a larger grill, you won’t get the same amount of heat to cook the meat thoroughly. Even at medium rare, it will simply take too long to get the inside meat up to temperature. Your steak should be no more than ¾ inch thick.
Always follow manufacturer safety instructions before using a hibachi grill.
Is This the Perfect Grill for You?
A hibachi may be the perfect grill for your needs. For solo and couple’s cooking, this is arguably the best style of tabletop grill to own.
You can also use a hibachi for special occasions, or buy more than one for a special dinner party where guests cook directly at the table.
The way you use a hibachi is entirely up to you. The key is to understand that there are limitations.
If you are happy with the compromises, you’ll enjoy a flavorful and fun cooking method suitable for small ingredients and deliciously fresh meals.