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What Is a Hibachi Grill?

What Is a Hibachi Grill?

What is hibachi grilling, and is it the same as teppanyaki? This is one of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to these two techniques of grilling. The two styles are quite confusing for many and understandably so.

We live in a diverse world, and food forms an important part of a person’s cultural heritage. For most people, it's an expression of their cultural identity. Japan has long been known as a powerhouse for innovation, not just in the technology domain but in the culinary world as well.

Hibachi and teppanyaki are two of the most recognized Japanese cuisines. It’s impossible to talk about one without mentioning the other. This guide explores what a hibachi grill is and what makes it different from teppanyaki.

What Is Hibachi?

Hibachi is an 8th-century ancient Japanese innovation that directly translates to “fire bowl.” It is essentially a round stove that uses charcoal as its fuel source. Hibachi-style food involves cooking meat, seafood, and vegetable dishes on a searing hot surface that sits on top of a wooden or ceramic bowl filled with burning charcoal.

Teppanyaki, on the other hand, is a technique that uses an iron griddle with a flat solid surface to cook the food. The word “teppanyaki” can be broken down and translated as “teppan,” which means iron plate and “yaki,” which means grilled food.

Despite the glaring differences between the two techniques, the term “hibachi” has evolved to mean:

  • Small portable charcoal grills
  • Flat-top grills which are also known as Gas Griddles or Planchas
  • Teppanyaki grills which generally refer to the free-standing range of flat-top grills

So, a hibachi grill could mean any of the three things depending on the context in which it is used. Here are some notable features of the three.

Hibachi Charcoal Grills

If you love the taste of charcoal-grilled food but don’t have a lot of space in your backyard patio to put a full-sized grill or you simply like to grill on-the-go, a portable hibachi grill provides the perfect solution to your grilling woes.

  • Hibachi charcoal grills are small, lightweight, portable and affordable
  • They are perfect for tailgating and camping
  • They’re ideal for people who have limited space in their homes
  • The food is usually extremely close to the heat source, so it captures all that smoky goodness to enhance the flavor
  • They cook food fast and conveniently
  • They are made from cast iron or aluminum

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Flat-top Grills / Gas Griddles

Flat-top grill or gas griddles are the perfect addition to your outdoor kitchen.

  • They allow you to place pots and pans directly on the hot griddle surface
  • They spread the heat uniformly on the surface for even cooking
  • They eliminate the risk of flare-ups since grease doesn’t drop directly onto the burner
  • They have multiple cooking spots
  • They come in built-in or freestanding configurations
  • They provide a great way to bring the family together for an unforgettable cooking and dining experience.

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Teppanyaki Gas Grills

One of the show-stopping aspects of teppanyaki grilling is the entertainment aspect of the whole process.

  • They have all the features of flat-top grills/gas griddles with the only difference being that they are freestanding
  • Your family gets to gather around the grill and socialize as they marvel at your superb knife skills and cooking prowess
  • They are perfect for cooking steak, fish, poultry, and vegetables at the same time on multiple cooking spots
  • Foods are cooked in their juices which creates amazing flavors
  • Provides high entertainment value when hosting family and friends

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Five-Star Japanese Cuisine at Home

You don't have to go to a Japanese restaurant to enjoy hibachi-style cuisines. With the right hibachi grill, you can delight in restaurant-quality Japanese food right in the comfort of your home.

Looking for the perfect Kamado grill? Check out our blog for the ultimate Kamado grill comparison chart.