The Best Hibachi Grills for 2019

collage of the best hibachi grills

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Our picks for the best Hibachi grills reviewed

Based on a traditional Japanese design, the simple hibachi charcoal grill has become a popular choice for people looking for a highly portable yet affordable charcoal grill.

You can now also buy Hibachi style gas grills (we included one in this roundup).

The best hibachi grills let you focus on the timeless art of cooking with charcoal, without any of the fancy features you find on a modern grill.

1. Best Overall – Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill

The Lodge Sportsman is a classic hibachi charcoal grill with a simple and virtually indestructible design.

It’s almost entirely made of cast iron. Although this makes it a bit heavy for a portable grill, the material benefits outweigh the inconvenience.

It also features several temperature adjustment methods to allow for excellent cooking control. After some trial and error, you should find the perfect charcoal amount/height/oxygen level combination for any cooking you want to do.

At 10.25” x 8.25” x 19”, it has a large enough grilling area to let you prepare food for a small family if done in controlled batches.

You should be able to fit three steaks at once or two steaks and some vegetables.

At the same time, it’s not large enough to give you trouble when it’s time to store the grill in the home or garage.

What We Like:

  • Cast-Iron – The Pre-seasoned cast-iron is a great material for a charcoal grill due to its durability and ability to retain heat. Virtually the entire grill is made of cast iron, so it does weigh over 20 pounds in total.
  • Flip-Down Door – A door is located directly beneath the grilling surface. Here, you can offload charcoal or stuff some more in to decrease or increase heat, respectively.
  • Vent at Bottom – Another movable piece is the vent beneath the flip-down door. This vent can let you control the oxygen flowing into the charcoal.
  • Two Grilling Heights – Even more temperature control is at your disposal thanks to the two height settings available. It’ll take a little experimentation. 

What We Don’t Like:

  • Cheap Handle – There’s only a single wire handle that goes across the top of the Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill. 

The handle is a bit flimsy and likely to break with too much stress. That’s a shame since it’s quite heavy and cast-iron retains heat for a long time. After grilling, you’ll have to let the grill cool down somewhat before you can move it safely.

This is a great choice if you want a charcoal grill that’s portable but not so cheap and lightweight that it will fall apart after a few uses.

The grill has been pre-seasoned, but being made out of cast iron, it will require some care and attention to maintain.

Charcoal + cast iron is a great combination, allowing you grill at high temperatures and produce delicious food whether your camping, at a tailgate or using the Lodge at home as a tabletop grill.

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2. Best Budget – Marsh Allen Kay Hibachi Charcoal Grill

Marsh Allen 30052AMZ Kay Home Product's Cast Iron Hibachi Charcoal Grill, 10 by 18-Inch

The Marsh Allen Kay Grill offers 157 in.² of cooking surface.

It includes several conveniences like temperature vents and wooden handles. Best of all, you can get this grill for a very reasonable asking price.

The cooking grids can be adjusted between three different locations. Multitasking is made easy as a result.

However, the legs are often at a different height, making the surface wobbly. Worse still is the uneven height distribution of both cooking grids. It’s hard to lay a single piece of food across them and have it be totally flat as a result.

What We Like:

  • Affordable – This grill can be yours for far lower a price than most other competing grills.
  • 3 Positions for Grates – You can easily cook food on one side of the grill at a certain temperature and cook food on another part of the grill at a different temperature.
  • Wooden Handles – Wooden handles are superior to metal handles since they won’t take on as much ambient heat. Having the handles is a nice bonus since the grill weighs over 15 pounds.
  • 2 Air Vents – This grill has two air vents located beneath each cooking grid. You can, therefore, adjust the temperature of each half of the grill independently even further. 

What We Don’t Like:

  • Cheap Construction – As a result of its low price, some of the construction aspects of the Marsh Allen Kay Grill are a little uneven. 

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3. Best Gas Hibachi – Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill

Cuisinart CGG-180T Petit Gourmet Portable Tabletop Gas Grill, Red

The Cuisinart CGG-180T offers 145 in.² of cooking space and legs that can fold up beneath the main unit. It’s exceptionally portable and easy to use and since it relies on propane instead of charcoal, it can be started up and ready to cook in just seconds. 

What We Like:

  • Folding Legs – The legs of the grill are made of aluminum to keep things light and easy to carry. They can fold up or down and have wide stabilizing feet to provide an even cooking experience. It’s a great grill to use on a camping table, for instance.
  • Thick Handle – Adding to its portability is the briefcase-style carrying handle. The grill as a whole only weighs 13.5 pounds, so anyone can transport this where it needs to go.
  • Porcelain-Enameled Grates – The grates will last much longer, as a result, and can take a lot of heat without warping or degrading over time.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Burners Are Flimsy – The burners for controlling the temperature of the Cuisinart Gas Grill are rather weak. They have a tendency to be inaccurate or break if turned too quickly or hard. 
  • Plastic Transfers Heat – The plastic construction of the rest of the grill causes heat to be transferred too easily. Be careful not to burn yourself immediately after finishing a cookout. 

Get the latest price on Amazon.

4. Best Round Hibachi – Cajun Classic Round Seasons Cast Iron Charcoal Hibachi Grill

Cajun Classic Round Seasoned Cast Iron Charcoal Hibachi Grill - Gl10447

The Cajun Classic Grill is designed in the traditional circular Japanese-style. It’s cooking surface has a 15-inch diameter that can hold up to nine standard size burgers.

What We Like:

  • Small Size – The shape and size of this grill make it ideal for camping or for storage if space is at a premium.
  • Cast-Iron – The cast-iron material helps retain heat and cook food evenly and effectively. Even better, the cast-iron has been pre seasoned by the manufacturer to ensure an even longer lifespan and to make it ready to use right out of the box.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Heavy – The Cajun Classic Grill weighs about 40 pounds, which is a lot for some folks to carry. In addition, the handle is thin wire and isn’t likely to last long after some use. 

The Cajun has been constructed in China, and the cast iron is lower quality than the Lodge Sportsman which earned our best hibachi grill honors.

However, the Cajun has a larger surface area, so if you need to maximize space this is a good option to consider.

Get the latest price on Amazon.

What Is a Hibachi Grill?

Hibachi grills are small and portable, traditionally charcoal, grills. They’re simple and effective. They only need to hold hot coals in their bowl to do the job, rather than rely on electrical igniters and other advanced parts.

The style of grill originates from Japan where the term hibachi translates as “fire bowl”.

Today people use hibachi grills to prepare all kinds of different foods with a charcoal taste.

Sometimes hibachi grills are used in place of regular charcoal grills when size is at a premium.

You may also see the term Hibachi used to describe a flat iron hot plate used in teppanyaki restaurants, although this isn’t technically correct.

The traditional Japanese cooking style on a hibachi grill forgoes any lid. This is why most hibachi grills you can find for purchase won’t come with one.

Some hibachi grills have enough space for you to make a two-level fire. With this type of fire, you can set different temperatures on either side of the grilling surface.

Since the food on the grill will be close to an open flame, most Hibachi grills are used for the preparation of small food items or strips of meat. For fire and heat control, many hibachi grills will have vents located on the bottom of their chassis to let you adjust the strength of your flames.

Others may have different height settings for the grates that you can choose between.

Due to the presence of a real flame, you’ll want to keep a fire extinguisher or a bucket of water nearby in case of an emergency. Being able to douse the flames quickly could be necessary if you’re just starting to use Hibachi or charcoal grills in general.

Read More: The best portable charcoal grills

What kind of food can you cook on a Hibachi grill?

Due to its small cooking area and direct exposure to hot charcoal, thin meats like chicken breast halves or small steaks are great choices. Fish or other seafood are excellent, since they’ll cook through quickly.

You can also enjoy various vegetables like mushrooms or long beans with a hibachi grill. 

Not all grills have the same sizes of grates; this is the primary food type limitation you’ll experience. For instance, some hibachi grills have grates that are too wide to cook small vegetables. Other foods that might slip easily into the charcoal beneath the grilling surface should also be avoided.

Meats and vegetables of all types are perfect foods for cooking with a hibachi grill. Due to the high intensity of the heat source and the food’s proximity to flame, food tends to cook quite quickly.

Thin cuts of meat are especially good for preparing with a hibachi grill. They’ll be cooked through in no time at all, and such slices are ideally sized for most grates included on hibachi grilling surfaces.

However, you’ll want to avoid cooking larger cuts of meat on hibachi grills. There’s no lid to trap heat in and fully roast a bigger chunk of meat. Thin, quick-cooking meat items are much better.

In addition, hibachi grills don’t generate smoke, so anything you’d like smoked, such as fish, should be prepared elsewhere.

Hibachi grills don’t usually have as much surface area as a traditional charcoal grill. For this reason, cookouts for larger families aren’t always possible. But using a hibachi grill as a portable cooking implement is a great idea, due to its small size and normally-light weight.

Hibachi buying guide – what to look for in a Hibachi grill

Material

The material of your hibachi grill with affect its longevity and its cooking effectiveness. If you’re purchasing a traditional hibachi grill, you’ll want to find one that uses cast iron as its primary material.

Cast-iron lasts for a very long time and can withstand a lot of heat and use without buckling or breaking. Cast-iron hibachi grills will also make your food taste better over time.

Cast-iron is also a great material for the construction of the grates of your grill.

The only downsides to cast-iron is that it is typically heavier than other grilling materials, like aluminum and will require a little more upkeep.

While you can find aluminum hibachi grills, these aren’t likely to last as long and will need to be cleaned more frequently to avoid rust and wear and tear.

We also prefer hibachi grills that use wooden handles instead of metal. Wood handles won’t transfer as much heat from the grill into their material. Your hands will be in less danger of burning as a result.

Gas vs charcoal for Habachi

Gas hibachi grills rely on propane as their primary heating source. Gas grills have a few advantages in that they are easier to start quickly, and they are easier to control when it comes to temperature management.

What you gain in convenience you miss out on in flavor.

You can’t beat the traditional charcoal taste imbued on food cooked with a charcoal grill. 

Charcoal hibachi grills require you to carry around bags of charcoal and take longer to start.

Charcoal hibachi grills are also a little more difficult to control in terms of temperature.

Overall, there’s no superior choice between the two. It comes down to personal preference.

Beginners might see more success with gas hibachi grills due to their ease of use. But experienced cooks might prefer the extra flavor from a charcoal hibachi grill.

Portability

Most hibachi grills are relatively lightweight. You should definitely try to find one that has handles for easy carrying. One of the biggest advantages to hibachi grill is that you can take it with you for camping excursions or to a friend’s house for a cookout.

It’s not usually worth it to purchase a very heavy hibachi grill. At a certain point, you can purchase a regular gas or charcoal grill. Such a device will have more surface area to cook more food but be the same weight as a heavy hibachi grill.

Grilling Size

Check the total surface area that a given hibachi grill has to offer before making a final purchase. This surface area limits the amount of food you can grill at one time.

Some wider hibachi grills will have separate spaces inside the charcoal bowl.

These spaces can allow you to stack or remove charcoal so you can have different heat levels on different sections of your grilling space. Such a setup can let you sear some foods while warming others, for instance.

Cost

Keep the overall cost of your hibachi grill in mind. Hibachi grills made of cast iron are typically great purchases and provide excellent value for money. But they’re often more expensive than cheaper plastic hibachi grills.

Using your Hibachi grill

Let’s get into using a hibachi grill.

How to Season your Hibachi grill

If you have a cast-iron grilling surface you might need to season it before use.

Make sure the grill clean before starting this process.

Next, put a light coating of olive, vegetable, or food-grade mineral oil over the grilling surface. You don’t want to use any bacon grease or similar material for seasoning. Those substances have salt that can corrode the cast-iron over time.

After, put the hibachi grill into a standard oven for one hour at 350°F. Let it cool after the heating has completed and your seasoning is finished.

How to light your Hibachi grill

Lighting a hibachi grill is also a breeze. Gas hibachi grills only require you to use the igniter button or knob, provided that you’ve inserted some propane beforehand.

If you are cooking with charcoal, you’ll need to light your coals.

To start your charcoal coals, place the coals into a charcoal chimney starter.

Stuff some paper towels soaked in oil (or use a few fire starter cubes) at the bottom under a chimney full of charcoal. Lump or briquettes will both work fine.

Light the paper and the coals should be ready to use in about 10 minutes.

After the coals have started to ash over, pour the coals into the bottom of your hibachi – be sure to remove the grate beforehand! Take some regular tongs and move the coals around to your liking.

You may want to pile more charcoal to one side of the grill to create a two-zone setup.

You can then replace the grilling surface at the height you desire. The grill should begin to heat almost instantly and you can start to cook!

Depending on your hibachi grill, you’ll probably be able to adjust the temperature in a few different ways.

Some grills will let you lower or raise the grilling surface, while others will have vents on the bottom to adjust the oxygen flowing to the charcoal.

Gas hibachi grills, of course, will have direct temperature adjustments available.

Wrapping it up

The Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill is a fantastic choice if you’d like one of the best hibachi grills on the market.

It has cast-iron construction, multiple doors and vents, and two grilling heights. These elements make it an exceptional cooking device with plenty of control over the temperature of your charcoal.

Whatever you choose, good luck and happy grilling!

Last update on 2019-09-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Joe Clements

Joe Clements

As the son of a vegeterian, I grew up dreaming about meat. Now as the founder and editor in chief of Smoked Barbecue Source I get to grill, barbecue and write about meat for a living!I'm sharing everything I learn along the way on my journey from amateur to pitmaster.

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