The traditional hibachi is a charcoal burning fire bowl that has been used for cooking in Japan since the Heian period from the 8th to 12th century.
Today in the USA, the hibachi grills are popular mainly because the grills of this type are affordable, portable, and offer the benefits of charcoal grilling.
There are even some gas powdered hibachi-style grills on the market.
Here is a quick guide for the best hibachi grills you can buy in 2021, as well as some tips on how to choose the most suitable one and how to maintain and use it for maximum efficiency.
Top Hibachi grills in 2021
The Sportsman hibachi grill by Lodge is our top favorite pick for this type of cooker.
It is entirely built from sturdy and durable cast iron, which makes it a bit bulky, but on the other hand, it makes it very durable and reliable, offers even heating, and will allow you to prepare steaks and burgers with a perfect sear every time.
The cast-iron cooking surface comes pre-seasoned, so you can start using your new charcoal grill straight out of the box.
The Sportsman grill has two adjustable heights for easy and superb temperature control.
It offers excellent heat retention and is fuel-efficient which will help you save money for charcoal.
The size of the charcoal cooker is 19 x 8.25 x 10.25 inches, and it weighs 27 lbs.
Its cooking area is 17.25 x 9 inches which are sufficient for grilling up to three steaks at the same time.
Thanks to the nifty flip-down door, you can add more coals to the firebox without having to lift the cooking grate.
Overall, this high quality and durable hibachi grill by Lodge Cast Iron offers all of the essential features of a good quality cooker of this type, including – sturdiness, even cooking, excellent temperature control, and a space-saving portable design.
- Made of virtually indestructible cast iron, which is not only durable but also retains the heat evenly longer
- An easy to access flip-down door for the charcoal
- An added bottom vent for better airflow and temperature control
- Adjustable cooking heights
- Portable and easy to store
- It is rather heavy (27 lbs.)
- Some users find the handle rather flimsy in comparison to the other parts of the grill
The runner-up is another top-quality hibachi grill that will last for years and can easily be transported and stored. It is smaller and lighter than our top pick, so it is perfect for those of you looking for easier portability and those with limited outdoor or storage space.
You can use it to prepare delicious food with the traditional smoky flavor on this portable cast iron charcoal grill.
The hibachi cooker is designed and made to last and to enable you to get the most satisfying results out of the classic combination between cast iron and charcoal. You can easily adjust the cooking temperature via the adjustable double-sided cooking grate.
There is also a convenient front firebox door for easy access, loading and unloading of the charcoal, and a sliding airflow regulating door for added temperature control.
The cooking area of this grill is 12.5 x 8.5 inches, and the total size of the unit is 15.5 x 10.5 x 7 inches. It weighs 20 lbs. making it portable and very easy to store when not in use.
As a whole, we love this cast iron hibachi grill by Giantex for its high quality, sturdiness, adjustable cooking heights, portability, and space-saving design.
It is among the most compact charcoal grills, which will allow you to prepare steakhouse quality dishes at home when camping, or anywhere you happen to be spending your time.
- It is compact and relatively lightweight, making it suitable for traveling, camping, and for limited storage
- The grill is made of cast iron which is very durable and retains heat for much longer than other metals
- You can adjust the temperature by choosing the cooking height and by toggling the airflow vent on the bottom
- There is a separate door for easy access to the firebox
- There are no stay-cool handles to move it when it is hot
Top budget option
If you want a small-sized, light, and inexpensive charcoal grill for your outdoor adventures or for occasional home use, then we recommend the top-budget pick by Samdray.
This hibachi grill costs under $25 and yet is a fully functioning charcoal grill that can be used anywhere and even in the tightest outdoor spaces.
It is entirely constructed of stainless steel, which is easy to clean and, when maintained properly, is rustproof. The grilling pan is made of non-stick steel for easy maintenance.
This affordable charcoal grill is very compact. Its size is 16.5 x 11 x 7.9 inches, and it weighs 4.14 lbs. Plus, it is foldable and has carry handles for even easier transport and storage. Its grilling surface is 181 inches.
This lightweight and portable charcoal grill is an excellent choice for picnics, hiking, fishing, camping, or any other outdoor activities.
The charcoal net and ash catcher are easy to remove and clean, and the grill comes with two mesh baskets to hold the food and condiments.
There are airflow vents that allow for superb temperature control and for even burning and cooking.
In conclusion, if you are looking for the most inexpensive hibachi or another portable charcoal grill, then this may be the most suitable option you will find on the market this year.
- It is very inexpensive
- The grill weighs only 4.14 lbs. and is foldable, making it among the best portable charcoal grills
- Made of rustproof and easy to maintain stainless steel
- Not as durable as the more expensive cast iron grills on this list
- There is no separate door for the firebox
Top gas Hibachi
If you prefer buying a propane gas hibachi grill, then our suggestion is this excellent portable grill by Cuisinart.
The compact gas grill has foldable legs, which allow for its use on a tabletop or other surfaces, and at the same time, makes it easy to store and transport.
Its porcelain-coated cooking space is 145 square inches which is sufficient for cooking up to 8 burgers or steaks, and its overall size with the legs unfolded is 18 x 13 x 12 inches. The overall weight of the unit is 17 lbs.
The grill is powered by a 5,500 BTU burner, and it is quick and easy to light up and preheat, thanks to the twist to start ignition.
When folded, the grill is easy to carry, thanks to its briefcase-like design and handle.
The Petit Gourmet propane gas grill is among the top choices if you prefer the convenience of using propane instead of charcoal and still want a small-sized grill that can be used even in the tightest outdoor areas.
- A clever briefcase-style foldable design and carry handle
- It has a lid, unlike most other hibachi grills on our list
- The cooking area is a generous 145 square inches and is made of porcelain-enameled steel
- It uses propane gas which makes it much faster and easier to light and preheat than charcoal grills
- The expandable legs make it suitable for use on a table so that it is easier to access
- A quick and easy to use ignition button
- The plastic parts are less durable and prone to heat transmission
- It is not a charcoal grill, unlike the traditional hibachi grills
Best round Hibachi
This round-shaped hibachi grill by Cajun Classic resembles the traditional Japanese cookers of this type the most.
Thanks to its circular design and compact size, you can place it and use it even on small patios and balconies.
The cooking grate of this charcoal grill has an 11.5-inch diameter, and it, as well as all other parts, is made of cast iron.
It has a door for feeding the charcoal without removing the grate and comes with a hook for easy lifting and removal of the cooking grate when needed.
The cooker comes pre-seasoned and is ready for use right away.
It is an excellent choice for campers and for people who do not have enough outdoor space for a regular charcoal grill.
- A space-saving round design
- It is entirely made of cast iron which is very durable and which retains heat for long
- There is a hook for lifting the cooking grate
- It has a separate charcoal door, so you can add coal during use easily
- The cooking area may be small for some users
- The grill is heavier than others which are made of lighter materials
Food suitable for cooking on a Hibachi grill
The hibachi grill is a compact grill with a limited cooking area. Plus, in most cases, its small size makes it difficult to create a two-zone heat setting in many cases. So, the grills of this type and size are more suitable for smaller food items that are cooked at high temperatures than for meat which requires low and slow cooking.
Since the food is placed directly over and close to the flame, you should pick products like fish, seafood, chicken breasts, or thin and small steaks, kebabs, and meat strips. These small-sized cookers are excellent for grilling veggies such as mushrooms, carrots, and others too.
Depending on the design of your grill’s cooking grates, you may want to choose veggies and food that is not too small and which can fall through them and onto the coals.
The traditional hibachi grills don’t have lids, which is another reason why you should avoid cooking larger-sized meat cuts.
Instead, opt for thinner and smaller foods that cook fast.
Overall, you can cook just about anything that you would cook over direct heat on a larger-sized charcoal grill on one of these hibachi grills.
Still, keep in mind that these portable cookers are usually quite limited when it comes to cooking space, so if you will be using the grill for cooking larger batches of food, this is something you should be aware of as well.
Things to consider when choosing a Hibachi grill
Here are some of the main features to consider when you are shopping for the most suitable hibachi grill for your needs:
The hibachi grills which are being offered on the market are made of different materials. Some of the cheaper and lighter options are made of aluminum which is affordable, light, and unfortunately pretty flimsy and prone to rusting.
Others are made of more durable and easy-to-clean stainless steel and other steel alloys or other materials.
Our recommendation is to opt for a cast iron hibachi grill. Cast iron is durable, retains the heat, and allows for the even cooking of the food.
A good-quality cast iron hibachi grill like our top picks will last for decades when maintained properly.
The only problems with cast iron are that it weighs more than some of the cheaper materials and that it needs to be seasoned periodically. The good news is that over time, the food you prepare on the cast iron grate will become even more delicious due to the seasoning.
One essential element you should consider when choosing the best hibachi grill is the material of the handles. It makes sense to invest in a grill that has safe and stay-cool handles to prevent painful burns during use.
Gas or charcoal
The traditional Japanese-style hibachis are all charcoal fueled. But today, you can purchase propane gas hibachi grills as well.
Like with all other gas grills, there are several benefits that have made them so popular, even when it comes to smaller-sized hibachi grills.
Gas grills are very easy and quick to set up, light and they preheat quickly. Plus, the temperature control is straightforward, especially as compared to that of most charcoal grills.
On the other hand, if you want the traditional taste of charcoal-grilled food, then you should opt for a charcoal hibachi grill.
But just like with the rest of the charcoal grills, these portable cookers take more time to set up and light up, and the temperature control requires more experience and skills.
If you are a newbie to grilling, then a gas grill is probably a better option for you.
If you are a fan of traditional grilling, then you should opt for a charcoal hibachi grill instead.
Most hibachi grills are compact and lightweight, making them among the top preferred portable grills.
If you are looking for a charcoal grill that you can take with you hiking or on another outdoor trip, you may want to opt for one that has a foldable design and comfortable handles.
Some of these grills are very light, but the more durable and higher quality cookers of this type are made of cast iron which is traditionally heavier than the other metals and materials used.
The top-quality cast iron hibachi grills can be quite expensive, so you should think about whether you are buying the grill for its portability or because you have limited outdoor space for a grill. If the tight space is the reason, and it is within your budget, you should definitely go for a cast iron grill, but if portability is your number one concern, you may want to choose a lighter and more inexpensive one.
Shape and size
The traditional Japanese-style hibachi grills are round-shaped, but most of the ones being offered in the US are rectangular. The rectangular design may take up more space, but the cooking area is larger and less limited than the circular ones.
As for the size of the grill, you should pick one that has a surface area sufficient for the type of food you are planning on preparing and the batches of food you will be cooking.
Obviously, if you are going to be feeding a large family or group of people, it makes sense to choose a grill with a larger cooking space. The smaller and more portable grills are suitable for smaller families or for those who don’t mind spending more time cooking batch after batch.
Please note that the grills with larger cooking spaces are easier for setting up a two-zone cooking area, which will allow you to cook the food directly over high heat and at lower heat when needed.
We recommend that you choose the grill which offers the best value for the budget you have set for buying a hibachi grill.
Keep in mind that the prices can range from $20 up to several hundred dollars and that the more durable and higher quality grills usually cost much more than the flimsier and cheaper ones.
How to use your Hibachi grill
The traditional hibachi grill is small and doesn’t have a lid, making it quite different from the charcoal grills you are probably used to.
If your hibachi is large enough for setting up a two-zone cooking area, then you will just need to place more coal on one side for the hotter zone and less coal on the cooler side.
The hibachi grill is started just like any other charcoal grill, but since its cooking area is so close and directly over the fire, and because it is usually quite limited, it is recommended to cook foods that can be prepared quickly over high heat.
Some of the suitable foods for grilling on a cooker like this include meat strips, fish, seafood, burgers, kebabs, veggies, thin steaks, chicken breasts, and others.
Seasoning a Hibachi grill
One of the few downsides of cast iron grills is that they require more maintenance than others. Seasoning is an essential part of this maintenance.
While some of the hibachi grills come pre-seasoned, others you will need to season yourself before using them.
All of them will require regular seasoning if you want the cast-iron grates to last longer and the food to taste better every time.
When seasoning a brand new cast iron grate, you should first make sure that it is clean and then use oil such as vegetable, olive, or food-grade mineral oil to rub the entire cooking surface.
Avoid using any salted fat such as bacon grease for the seasoning, as this can cause corrosion over time.
When you have applied the oil or other fat, place the grate in an oven and let it cook at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about an hour.
After you are done, let the cast iron grate cool down completely, and then you can use it on your hibachi grill.
Starting a Hibachi grill
If you have a propane gas grill, then lighting it up is pretty straightforward. All you need to do is attach the propane bottle or tank and then use the igniter knob or button.
With charcoal hibachi grills, you will need to start the grill like a traditional charcoal grill.
You can use a charcoal chimney starter with coals placed over oil-soaked paper towels or fire starter cubes. Then you should light the paper and allow the coals to light up.
Due to the small size of these grills, you can expect that your fire will be lit and ready in about 10 minutes.
You can use briquettes or lumps as fuel in these cookers.
After they have lit up, pour the hot coals in the firebox of the hibachi, and arrange them to your liking and preferences using tongs.
If you have enough space, you can move more hot coals to one side and leave the other with fewer coals. This will allow you to sear food on one side of the grill and slow cook or keep warm food on the other side.
The temperature can be adjusted by adjusting the height of the cooking grate, opening the vents, or other methods, depending on the type of charcoal hibachi grill you have.
Propane grills are much easier to adjust when it comes to temperature control.
A hibachi grill is an excellent solution for those of you who would like to enjoy charcoal-grilled food but have very little outdoor space available. They are also a great choice for camping, picnics, or any other traveling purposes.
We hope that we have helped you find the most suitable hibachi grill for your needs and that soon you will be enjoying making delicious burgers or other grilled meals on your own small-sized charcoal grill.