My good evening ends with a walk down the streets of my city. Mostly, it’s for the fresh air and a good excuse to buy my favorite meat-yakitori. The yakitori will get you hooked the moment you eat it. The best thing is that it’s a meal you can eat while standing.
Open grilling is an old technique of cooking known to the vast majority in the world. Japan like other countries in the west has over the years enjoyed grilling especially during social gatherings.
They founded the yakitori grill which is trending in the world today.
WHATS A YAKITORI GRILL?
Basically, it refers to a grill type that you use to cook your yakitori which refers to grilled chicken.
However, to the world, yakitori refers to any kind of Japanese barbecue. The meat is always skewered and cooked over low heat.
The yakitori is traditionally cooked on a rectangular grill that is two feet long and just a few inches wide. It then has a wire mesh or grid on top. The open surface on the mesh is where you place the food. Make sure only the food is over the heat to avoid burning the skewers.
The grills today use white charcoal for heating although in other parts where you can’t find the white charcoal its okay to use the regular charcoal. You see what makes the yakitori grill different from the other grills is the amount of heat that’s used to cook (200-250˚F) and the charcoal.
WHAT OF YAKITORI COOKING?
When you go to the yakitori restaurants in Japan you will find the grills built into the table. The guests then order the raw meats and they are grilled communally. One famous place for cooking yakitori is the yakitori-ya. The restaurant will cook the skewered meat in an informal setting.
They use the soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar. You may also find the yakitori in the Japanese streets from street vendors who either use the gas grills or charcoal. Unlike other meats that you marinate, the yakitori is rarely marinated.
Nevertheless, it’s served with soy sauce and rice wine dipping sauce called tare. The natives dip the yakitori twice the aim being to glaze your meat with sweet, salty and silky flavor.
The yakitori cooking is popular in the USA as well. But, unlike Japan where the widely used meat is chicken, the USA yakitori refers to any kind of skewered meat and sometimes veggies.
The meat is grilled on an open flame then glazed with different kinds of sauces and served with a dipping sauce.
It’s easy to confuse it with shish kebab but there’s a clear difference. Unlike the shish kebab where you may use a mix of meats and veggies, yakitori only uses one kind of meat per skewer or veggies only on a skewer. Yakitori is also cooked in low temperatures.
A native Japanese knows that the dipping sauce creates all the difference and there’s a specific one for yakitori. The US yakitori uses barbecue sauce while Japan utilizes the Japanese style sauces.
What makes the grill popular?
It has distinctive features from other grills which include:
It’s a compact design and a rectangularly shaped grill. The shape allows you to utilize the large surface area for your skewers. Since the yakitori is prepped and served on the table top, it’s better when the grill is small to allow for service space.
Today most yakitori grills use the ceramic coating on the inside and exterior surfaces. However, the traditional coating was clay mould. This was meant to retain the heat within the grill thus allow for perfect cooking.
This is to mean if you can get the clay mould buy that one as opposed to the ceramic coating.
HOW TO MAKE THE JAPANESE YAKITORI GRILL
This is vital for you if you love parties and having families yet you either have no space or funds to buy the grill. You can make yours at home with the readily accessible tools.
- Begin by finding 2 or more clay bricks then covering them with a strong aluminium foil. To extend the hibachi (a fire bowl) size of the grill use many bricks and cover them in foil.
- On a heatproof surface like the patio, place the hibachi and then on top of the hibachi place the wire mesh or grate. Ensure its just a few inches above the charcoal.
- To begin using it, remove the grill grate then add the white charcoal. Using your lighter, light the charcoal then wait for the charcoal to turn greyish. That’s when it’s coated with ash and fully li. Check to confirm that the temperature is evenly distributed.
- Place your grate back.
- Next, place the bricks that you had covered with aluminium in the first step on the grill grate. Make the two rows of bricks on each side of the grill. This should leave some space between the bricks down the middle of the grill.
- The bricks will hold your skewers ends in place, this means the meat is held in the middle to cook. The bricks are also high in the middle to avoid burning.
TYPES OF CHARCOAL
Yakitori grill charcoal
This charcoal is also known as binchotan or Japanese white charcoal. If you live anywhere near the Japanese you will not miss the thick sweet smell in the evening. It’s usually from the drips of yakitori juices which is a blend of the tare flavors and the meat itself.
You won’t understand the charcoal if you don’t know the other two that people confuse them with.
The lump charcoals
This is the most common kind that features a kind of charcoal made from the burning of wood at a limited to no oxygen. You burn it at about 500˚C then you extinguish it. The charcoal burns away quickly since it is composed of 70-80% carbon.
A bag of lump charcoal comes in inconsistent sizes which means other parts of your barbecue grill will be hotter than others. Its nature is that it burns at very high temperatures at first and then begins to lose the temperature.
This came to cover the inconsistence nature of the lump charcoal. However, they have impurities and fillers as well as a lower carbon content. They also have chemicals which make them easy to light and maintain a steady burning.
The chemicals and impurities aren’t good for your barbecue though. The lump charcoal is known to produce way less ash than the briquettes yet they burn hotter.
It’s applauded by most chefs around the world for offering a great service always. It’s made from oak and has a high level of carbon which makes it odourless. This allows you to maintain the natural flavors as well as the aroma of your food.
How to make the white charcoal
They are produced by firing the oak tree in a kiln at a very low temperature over a long time.
Like the lump charcoal, the binchotan needs carbonisation thus there’s reduction of oxygen. This may take about 4 days. After this is the refining process which takes place at a high temperature of about 950˚c. This should take a shorter duration.
The last part is where it’s smothered with ash sand and soil to give it the distinct white color. The white charcoal normally has a carbon content of between 93-95%. Don’t confuse the three since the binchotan has distinct features from the others.
If you want to know which is binchotan, take two pieces and knock them together, it should produce a metallic sound. The binchotan is also whitish-grey in color.
This is from Kishu-Japan which is the place that is praised to produce the best white charcoal made of 96% carbon. It’s high quality and suits your barbecues and grills. The charcoal may have varying sizes but it’s reusable if you properly store it.
It contains no additives in terms of chemicals and It will burn highly and cool off quickly.
Why does the yakitori grill only use the white charcoal?
- There are many reasons why Japanese prefer white charcoal for their yakitori. However, the major one is that it has clean heat that is high and steady.
- It also has alkalized heat which neutralizes the harmful acids that occur during cooking.
- Moreover, it seals the flavors within the food in a short time because it produces distance infrared radiation.
- This is the best charcoal because it burns for about 3-5 hours which may be attributed to the wood used to make it and the charcoal thickness.
- It takes longer to ignite compared to the previous two but its advantages outweigh the disadvantage.
THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING A YAKITORI
- The size
The size of the grill is influenced by the intended purpose of using the grill. What do you want it for? If you want Japanese kind of grill then you will go for a small table top design. If you need a yakitori for the commercial purposes then getting one meant for commercial reasons is best.
- The shape
While the traditional yakitori was solidly used for the chicken skewing, today especially in the western world, it’s used for other purposes which include making burgers, kebabs and other kinds of meat.
When you want to use it for other causes then buy a cylindrical one instead of the traditional rectangular.
- Is it convenient?
Go for one that has adjustable coal beds and extra wires.
Lastly, ensure it has instructions on how to assemble it and that they are clear.
THE BEST YAKITORI
This is a unique commercial design yakitori grill. It’s made using the stainless steel both on the inside and outside. It’s assembled from the manufactures and it arrives the destination needing minimal assembling.
It has a vent control on both sides that ensures the heat is controlled to eliminate the uneven heat distribution. It’s rectangular in shape which makes yakitori grilling, satay and kebab easy. Although the traditional grills are made using iron this stainless steel is portable and functional.
It has a massive grate mesh that suits any kind of skewer. From kebabs to yakitori, to shish kebab and Malaysian satay, cooking has never been easy.
The grill is 8 inches wide which means that only a small portion of the skewer is exposed to the heat which allows your meats to cook perfectly. It offers contact-less grilling this means that your food can cook while not getting stuck on the grill. That usually messes up with the meat juices.
We all enjoy extras for our convenience, right?
This grill comes alongside 2 stainless steel seasoning shakers, 12-inch scissor barbecue tongs and a wide mesh grill grate. It’s easy to clean with a hose pipe. And don’t even question the storage because you can fold the legs for storage ability.
Anybody will love this design because it looks like a radio that has an attractive color. Your classy design is easy to use and suitable for yakitori skewers. The grill is reasonable in size and only weighs 6 pounds making it portable.
Worry not about it’s height because its adjustable. It also has a detachable stainless steel grate. As you continue to grill your meats, the bottom section holds the excess fat that drips leaving you with a healthy piece of meat.
The cooking surface area is reasonable enough, the grill is further versatile since you may use it for your burgers and steaks too. This is a small indoor grill that you can use in the house especially since it uses electricity.
It heats up to 1450 Watts and remember, it’s equally convenient to use outdoors.
Cleaning the grill is a breeze because it only needs wiping to keep it shining. Alternatively, you can remove the metal grate and soak it to free the stuck food. Some people use this grill for baking purposes.
Fire sense produces outdoor heating items that are not only innovative but also high-quality standards. Since the company knows how much the Japanese treasure the ceramic and clay products, this grill is made using ceramic.
The ceramic used is factory grade ceramic which aims at distributing the heat for efficient and faster cooking. Grilling your meat on this item ensures you have a juicy and tender meat. For the safety of your kabobs and hot dogs from rolling and falling as they are cooking, you have a grill lip.
Moreover, it has a grill clip to keep your grill in place while on top of the ceramic body. Also, it has an adjustable ventilation that will control the heat you let in or change the cooking temperature. The grill is reasonably large to suit your patio and picnic events.
Its cooking surface features the Japanese style table top for the yakitori cooking. It perfectly suits a small family cooking. It’s portable and easy to clean.
For all your finger-licking barbecue buy this long charcoal grill. Like the party fairy grill, this kind of grill is designed to let skewers sit on both sides of the grill. This allows the meat to cook in the mid-section. This grill is portable with its foldable design.
For all the yakitori lovers and outdoor lovers, this will extend your outdoor living comfort. It also has the foldable grate design that makes adding charcoal easy. The grill has an innovative design ventilation for ease in the air intake.
This further promotes convection ventilation cooking which is the ultimate fast cooking system. The assembling process is a breeze because it comes pre-attached. The manufacturer has taken upon themselves to keep you safe while you work by making the smooth sides to prevent accidental cuts.
Now, this is a simple lightweight grill that will give you some smoky barbecue if you love smoky grills. It suits the outdoor smoker cooking. You can use it for your picnics, night outs or patio dinners. If you don’t exceed 10 people, this grill will suit your yakitori.
It was designed for ease in transportation. If you take a keen look at it, you realize that it has sturdy handles that allow you to take it from one point to another. It has the foldable legs for easy storage and transport.
The feet are made of non-slip rubber to enhance stability while you are grilling anywhere. Storage should be a non-issue since it occupies limited space. It’s easy to assemble and it has an easy to use guide. Its ventilation vents control the airflow within the grill.
The material is designed to avoid rust. Furthermore, it’s heat resistant and can’t be transformed. On buying it you receive an extra set of tongs and a wire mesh.
This comes with an attached cover that is awesome and it usually weighs 11 pounds. It cooks your food first and its meats are full of flavor. It’s best to use this grill outdoors as it produces some smoke. However, you may use it inside if your house has a smoke vent.
It’s an electric grill that reaches a high of up to 1100 watts. It has a wide surface enough for your yakitori grills.
7. Portable Charcoal Grill for Outdoor Grilling
First, this grill is portable and has a steel grate with an ample space for grilling whichever kind of meat. The steel grate further has handles to help in lifting it whenever you want to add more charcoal. The steel can stand whichever kind of charcoal heat without getting burnt.
It has an air vent damper to control the heat. Furthermore, it has an enamel coating bowl and the lid that help to retain the heat within. Covering the grill as it cooks helps with even heat distribution. It has a step by step guide for assembling that anyone can use.
Its air vent allows you to adjust the grilling condition to a particular position. Lastly, this item is easy to clean and use.
With this lightweight item, enjoy your picnics parties or camps with friends. Its weight enhances its portability. It’s also foldable and doesn’t occupy a large space. With this item, you are able to enjoy your grills and barbecues at home.
The grill is made of a high-quality iron material that is heat resistant and corrosion free. It’s a long-term investment that has a wide cooking surface for your grills. The charcoal grill is further easy to set and everybody loves that it’s foldable.
- Most people like to use the synthetic fire starters to ignite any kind of charcoal but this beats the logic of having a healthy binchotan. You can take the pieces and place in a charcoal chimney or better yet on a portable gas burner for about 15-20 minutes. By this time, they will be glowing hot.
- When you transfer your charcoal to the yakitori grill let it burn for about 10 minutes then shuffle the logs for even heat.
- If you intend to use the charcoal again, dunk it in water and place in an old pot then cover it to cool off.
- Handle the white charcoal with care when hot since its hotter than the regular charcoal though it doesn’t show.
TIPS TO DISPOSING ASHES
- Most people don’t know that it’s important to safely dispose of ashes. This is because the charcoal may remain within the ashes for hours and ultimately cause unprecedented accidents.
- Never store the used charcoal before 48 hours. For the faster cooling process, dunk the charcoal in water.
- Take the cooled charcoal ashes and wrap in a strong heavy-duty foil.
- In your outdoor garbage container, place the wrapped ashes to be collected by the garbage collectors.
Making an authentic yakitori shouldn’t be an issue especially if you have the right tools. The yakitori is one of the popular Japanese dishes within and outside Japan. Therefore, owning a yakitori grill is a plus for you because you may use the cooking gadget for various other meals.
Like the traditional yakitori grilling, this cooking will bring people together and help start a conversation.