Hibachi grills come in many different shapes, sizes, and over all types. There are electric grills that can be safely used indoors, there are the more authentic mini hibachis that more closely resemble their ancestors of China and Japan, and then there are the portable hibachi grills that are popular with the outdoor grilling enthusiasts. These last 2 come in 2 basic types, propane (or gas) fueled, and charcoal fueled.
Both types of hibachi grills have their advantages and disadvantages.
Gas Hibachi Grills
Gas-fired hibachi grills are the most recent innovation. They typically use propane as a fuel source which cooks food clean. These are the perfect solution for those that do not want a charcoal aftertaste.
The advantages of gas hibachi grills over their charcoal cousins are that they are clean, simple, and easy to use and food is cooked over consistent heat for a “pure-tasting” result.
The biggest disadvantage to these gas grills is that you are usually left with numerous small, empty propane tanks that need to be disposed of in a proper manner.
Charcoal Hibachi Grills
If it’s the authentic taste of charcoal grilled food you are after than obviously charcoal hibachi grills are the way to go. They have not changed much over the years. Charcoal is placed at the bottom of the grill where it is then lit. Within a reasonable amount of time the flames subsides and the coals emit an intense heat that can last for hours.
Many outdoor grilling enthusiasts choose charcoal as their preferred fuel source solely for the subtle flavor imparted in the food cooked over it. There is also a certain ambiance induced around a glowing stack of coals that can not be accomplished with gas.
Charcoal hibachi grills definitely have a few disadvantages, or “trade-offs”, as I prefer to call them. Depending on who you talk to (and how hungry you are) the biggest trade off is in the amount of time it takes for the coals to be ready for cooking. Again, some folks (including myself) actually enjoy relaxing around the heating grill, maybe over a cocktail… or 2!
The other big issue, when compared to gas, is that charcoal grills require a little more care and clean up. You can’t just turn off the gas and put the grill away. With charcoal hibachi grills you have to ensure that the coals are out before putting the grill away. This can take some time.
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