The hibachi grill, a Japanese cooking barbecue, has become very popular all around the world. Largely due to Japanese restaurants such as Benihana, this indoor grill has spread like wildfire and now people even enjoy hibachi cooking in their own homes.
So what is a hibachi grill?
Actually, there are two different types of grill called by this name…
One is an actual grill which is usually either a table top model or sits on its own stand. It has a shallow pan for holding charcoal over which sits a grill grate. Because this barbecue typically has the grate very close to the hot coals, this is specialized for quick searing meats that cook quickly. In Japan and other Asian countries, this type of grill is used for quick cooking thinly sliced marinated meats such as beef teriyaki. It is perfectly suitable for other Asian recipes like Korean barbecue bulgogi (marinated sliced beef) or yakitori (chicken). This type of hibachi is less commonly seen in the United States although it is similar to the gas tabletop grills seen in Korean barbecue restaurants.
Much more common and familiar to most people is the hibachi grill similar to that seen is Japanese restaurants like Benihana. Rather than a charcoal powered grill with a grill grate, these are essentially a large flat cooking surface or skillet. Most home models are electrically powered but in restaurants often have a gas heat source below it. Small electric versions are available for the home. These do not have the grill grates of a true barbecue so the hibachi is best suited for stir fry type dishes.
The hibachi is perfect for frying up a large amount of stir fried vegetables. Also, softer, delicate or smaller fish or chopped meats which might fall through the grates of a normal grill cook beautifully on this expanded, smooth work surface.
In addition to typical Japanese-style stir fried vegetables and meats, the large flat surface of a hibachi can be used for numerous other purposes. Simple fried eggs, pancakes, bacon and other fried foods that require a smooth, flat cooking surface all shine on a hibachi grill!
One fun idea for a hibachi indoor grill is to put it in the middle of your table when guests are over. Simply serve platters of pre-sliced marinated meats like teriyaki beef or chicken, korean barbecue pork or beef spare-ribs, or satay skewers. Then let guests cook their own meat as they sit around and have fun! Remember to serve some rice and vegis too and lots of cold beer or wine so everyone has a great time!
Safety Note: Warn your guests that the grill is hot so that no one burns themself! Also, don't allow uncooked meats to contact the other foods or silverware. Always cook food thoroughly before eating!
Therefore, the hibachi grill is a versatile indoor grill which you can use for a wide range of recipes from breakfast to dinner. Its great both for day to day cooking as well as entertaining. Hibachi grills vary in size and price so shop around and find one that fits your lifestyle and budget.
Enjoy your hibachi grill!