Yakitori Japanese Grill For Skewers

Last updated on May 28th, 2023 at 08:52 am

If you are like me, you’ve probably heard about Yakitori grills. I would describe them as a small charcoal grill made specifically for chicken skewers. A Yakitori grill is compact and light which makes it quick and easy to make your favorite grilled skewers.

Yakitori is a Japanese style of cooking where you take small pieces of meat and pierce on a skewer and then grilled over a small bed of charcoal. Yakitori generally refers to grilling simple chicken skewers that are marinated and flavored with special sauces. 

The good news is that anyone can easily make some really great tasting yakitori skewers at home.

So without any delay, let’s dig in!

Hibachi and Yakitori are not the same grilling methods

Now, you probably have heard of hibachi, but maybe not yakitori. Although both are Japanese styles of grills, they are two totally different things! Hibachi grills come in several shapes and sizes and most are portable and use charcoal. Hibachi meals are cooked on a hibachi grill.

While “hibachi” is a general term for Japanese grilling, Yakitori grilling generally refers to grilled chicken which is usually skewered. Yakitori is a Japanese street food, yaki meaning ’grilled’ and tori meaning ”bird.” These juicy chicken skewers are tender, saucy and perfect for a quick bite! Today you can find recipes inspired by those mouth watering street food flavors that you can easily recreate on your backyard BBQ grill. I cook Yakitori chicken coated in a tasty homemade sauce, made with ingredients like soy sauce, mirin, sake, brown sugar, garlic, and rice wine for a flavor that is everything from sweet to savory to tangy!

What is Yakitori?

Now you know that Yakitori is Japanese skewered and grilled chicken. Its preparation involves skewering the meat with kushi a type of skewer typically made of steel, bamboo, or similar materials. Afterwards, you grill over a charcoal fire. During or after cooking, you will typically season with a sauce. The term is sometimes used informally for kushiyaki which means grilled and skewered meats and vegetables.

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What Can You Grill With A Yakitori Grill?

I enjoy cooking chicken breast because it is one of the most common cuts of chicken used for Japanese yakitori. It’s a lean yet tender cut of chicken that’s very healthy. You may also see chicken tenderloin or sasami, in a Yakitori cookbook or menu.

Grilled chicken skewers made from bite sized pieces of chicken, such as the breasts, thighs, skin, liver and even innards. Impress your family and friends as you grill the skewers over a hot charcoal bed. As chicken is one of the most affordable items you can grill, Yakitori is an inexpensive dish to make.

You can always start with a good basic Yakitori Chicken receipe. A classic yakitori skewer recipe is a good place to start if you’ve never made yakitori at home. Marinade in soy sauce, sake, sugar, garlic, and ginger.

  • momo chicken thigh.
  • hasami gizzard and spring onion.
  • sasami breast meat.
  • Negima Yakitori. chicken thigh and scallion skewer.
  • negima chicken and spring onion.
  • tsukune chicken meatballs.
  • tebasaki, chicken wing.
  • shiro chicken small intestines.
  • chicken heart reba.
  • chicken gizzard.
  • toriniku, all white meat on skewer.
  • yotsumi, pieces of chicken breast.

Remember, Yakitori is Japanese for grilled chicken. It is one of the oldest and most popular traditional Japanese dishes. You will often see this served by street vendors. Yakitori grilled skewers are made from all parts of the chicken including chicken breast, chicken thighs and gizzards. Some Japanese chefs will only use chicken sourced from specific towns known for their texture and flavors. Yakitori is all about the quality of the meat and not the marinade or seasonings.

Use Yakitori Skewers Made From 100% Bamboo

If you are making Yakitori, you will need skewers to do it right.

Yakitori grill skewers

Yakitori bamboo skewers are great for any occasion. Use for parties, events, BBQ, food catering and more. Look for sturdy and heavy duty skewers with a 4mm diameter. Much thicker than the Yakitori skewers you will find in a grocery store or supermarket. Chicken skewers are a classic summer dinner option.

Try them with a sweet honey garlic marinade and plenty of fresh vegetables. Chicken Yakitori or chicken kabobs with rice is one of my favorite meals.

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Make sure the skewers are sturdy enough to hold several delicious bites of your favorite meal or appetizer. Also great for kabobs and holding vegetables and meats too. When using wooden or bamboo skewers you should soak them in water for 10-30 minutes. Bamboo skewers will burn easily if not soaked in water first and then easily break when trying to eat off of them. Soaking the skewers helps lessen those issues and extends the life of the skewers.

Heat your grill and thread the chicken pieces onto the skewers. Then continue to grill, turning halfway after 4-6 minutes for chicken breast or thighs. Always follow your recipe guidelines for temperature and time. It takes time and practice to prepare great skewers. I like to bring them to the table and let everyone take a turn at cooking their skewers to their liking.

What is a Yakitori Grill?

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  • FEATURES: Genuine Japanese table barbeque | Handmade clay construction | Adjustable ventilation | Chrome cooking grill | Internal charcoal grates|…

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Yakitori grills are a specialized grill meant for handling skewers. Compared to your regular American bbq style gas or charcoal grill, these are usually smaller and typically rectangular.

The traditional Yakitori grill is typically made from clay and is rectangular shaped and just a few inches deep. It is also small, allowing users to cook with small bamboo skewers and taking just a few minutes to grill.

The traditional Yakitori grill also uses Japanese charcoal known as binchotan. This is why may hear Yakitori grills referred to as binchotan grills. The binchotan charcoal burns very clean and does not affect the flavor of the chicken. You can use traditional charcoal since binchotan is not always available.

How to Choose A Yakitori Grill and Features You Need

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A great Yakitori grill has a few key features. First, you want to make sure your grill is rectangular but compact. A rectangle shape will allow for the most efficient use of the cooking surface area when grilling with your skewers. Yakitori can also be prepared and served at a table, so you don’t want a grill that’s too big.

Yakitori Grill Size

Given that yakitori grills are mainly used for grilling skewers, I prefer the long, traditional yakitori grills as these fit skewers better than square or round grills. Think about the type of meals you will be preparing to ensure you pick a grill with a cooking surface area that fits your needs. A good-size grilling surface should be able fit skewers for 2 to 6 people.

Yakitori grills can also be used as a tabletop cooking grill. These grills are all about adding some fun and entertaining. Some of these grills do not offer much cooking space so pay attention to the size to be sure the grill will work for you.


Portability

These are small grills and you might think that moving them around or transporting these to the beach is easy but think again. Some of these grills are made out of clay and other materials that can easily crack or break if dropped. If you are considering transporting your grill around on camping trips or hiking, consider a grill made of steel, not clay or stone.

What Materials Are Used To Make Yakitori Grills

Ceramic. A ceramic Yakitori grill is an excellent heat conduit and does a great job with heat retention. Although this small ceramic Japanese style grill might be fragile, it will not rust and will last for years. Ceramic is very heat resistant and does well with heat retention.

Clay. Some Yakitori charcoal grills are made out of clay, which absorbs and radiates heat well. A clay grill resembles the original and traditional Japanese grills of the past. If you are trying to enhance your cooking area’s look, a clay grill will bring a more authentic Japanese look. Clay is also very heat resistant.

Metal or Stainless Steel. Though not the traditional choice, metal or stainless grills work great but can rust, scratch and will not do as great as ceramic or clay when grilling low and slow. However, if you plan to take your grill backpacking or on camping trips, metal or stainless steel grills will hold up better than a clay grill.

A little more about Yakitori Grills

The best Yakitori grills are rectangular and compact in shape. This shape helps you use indirect heat when grilling, while also ensuring that heat is spread as efficiently as possible to your skewers.

Traditional Yakitori grills were made with clay, so if you want something a bit more vintage in build and appearance then you’ll want to look for this. This isn’t required however and personally I don’t think adds anything to the actual performance of the grill or the taste.


What kind of charcoal do you use for Yakitori grills?

You can use any charcoal but the best charcoal for yakitori grills is Japanese Binchotan BBQ charcoal. Japanese Binchotan BBQ charcoal is made from Japanese Oak, known to produce high-quality 100% natural charcoal. Yakitori grilling is similar to cooking with a larger barbecue charcoal grill and produces that familiar charcoal flavor with a touch of the sauce you use.

Binchotan charcoal

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Traditionally used in Japanese cooking, like yakitori, yakiniku or grilling fish etc. Binchotan charcoal is made by firing wood in a kiln until it is carbonized. Once the carbonization is complete, a blend of ash and sand is thrown over the charcoal to extinguish the flames. Due to its extremely porous structure, Binchotan charcoal is known for its ability to absorb impurities and unwanted tastes and odors as well as purify the air.

Binchotan charcoal takes on a white appearance and is used in most Robata Yakitori restaurants in Japan and is preferred by most chefs.

The high heat of this charcoal is great for searing all kinds of meats skewered or not. It retains the true flavor of the meat and the flavor of the meat will not be lost with unwanted smoke or odor from charcoal. Binchotan is used as a fuel for grilling due to its ability to produce high heat, low ash, and minimal smoke.

Yakitori grills are designed to accommodate a row of skewers which are typically 6-8 inches long. With different width grills so you can grill even more skewers at a time side by side. While there are various cuts of chicken meat that are pierced onto bamboo or metal skewers, it can also refer to grilled vegetables or other meats like pork belly.

Yakotri Grill Preparation

Traditionally, grilling was accomplished using portable charcoal grills. That is the method most often employed in Japan. However, restaurants may use stationary grills and, depending on the situation, higher quality binchotan charcoal.

To facilitate even cooking, I cut the meat into small, roughly uniform shapes and then skewered. Then the yakitori are seasoned and cooked. Charcoal is the preferred method of cooking as it produces high heat and strong flames while giving off little to no water vapor. This allows for the ingredients to cook quickly while imparting a crunchy texture to the skin. While gas and electric heat sources can be used, they do not develop the same aromas or textures as charcoal Yakitori.

The Yakitori Grill Comparison Table

I put the popular Bincho Grill MG-168 Yakitori Tabletop against the YAK Grills Yakotori charcoal grill. Both of these are in the $300-$400 price range.

If you are looking for something that will compare to the big boys, I think the Bincho MG-168 is a serious contender. Its got some great features for the price including a lightweight 17 pound design and is great for backyards and outdoor picnics.

I also included the budget friendly Fire Sense 60450 Yakatori Grill. It’s a great Japanese tabletop grill that uses clay and has a 17“ x 10″ cooking surface area. You can often find the Fire Sense grills on Amazon for under $50.

Bincho Grill vs Yak Grill side vs Fire Sense by side comparison.

Trending
The Bincho Grill MG-168 Yakitori Tabletop Charcoal Griller-Mini Japanese Style Hibachi
Our Choice
Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill, YAK Grills Hibachi, 100% Stainless Steel, Grill at 750ºF, Patio, Balcony....
Budget Friendly
Fire Sense 60450 Yakatori Internal Grates Charcoal Chrome Cooking Grill Japanese Table BBQ Handmade Using Clay...
Brand
Bincho Grill
Yak Grills
Fire Sense
Model
MG-186
S400
60450
Description
The Bincho Grill MG-168 Yakitori Tabletop Charcoal Griller-Mini Japanese Style Hibachi
Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill, YAK Grills Hibachi, 100% Stainless Steel, Grill at 750ºF, Patio, Balcony....
Fire Sense 60450 Yakatori Internal Grates Charcoal Chrome Cooking Grill Japanese Table BBQ Handmade Using Clay...
Dimensions
8"D x 16"W x 7.5"H
7.5"D x 18"W x 5.8"H
10"D x 18"W x 7"H
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Amazon Prime
Trending
The Bincho Grill MG-168 Yakitori Tabletop Charcoal Griller-Mini Japanese Style Hibachi
Brand
Bincho Grill
Model
MG-186
Description
The Bincho Grill MG-168 Yakitori Tabletop Charcoal Griller-Mini Japanese Style Hibachi
Dimensions
8"D x 16"W x 7.5"H
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
More Details
Our Choice
Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill, YAK Grills Hibachi, 100% Stainless Steel, Grill at 750ºF, Patio, Balcony....
Brand
Yak Grills
Model
S400
Description
Portable Tabletop Charcoal Grill, YAK Grills Hibachi, 100% Stainless Steel, Grill at 750ºF, Patio, Balcony....
Dimensions
7.5"D x 18"W x 5.8"H
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
More Details
Budget Friendly
Fire Sense 60450 Yakatori Internal Grates Charcoal Chrome Cooking Grill Japanese Table BBQ Handmade Using Clay...
Brand
Fire Sense
Model
60450
Description
Fire Sense 60450 Yakatori Internal Grates Charcoal Chrome Cooking Grill Japanese Table BBQ Handmade Using Clay...
Dimensions
10"D x 18"W x 7"H
Prime Status
Amazon Prime
More Details

Last update on 2024-04-14  Using Amazon Product Advertising API

Just like other grills, Yakitori grill prices range from $39 on up to $800.

How To Make Yakitori Japanese Grilled Chicken

Find related products and accessories. Need patio lights to light up your backyard or camping event. Thinking about trying a few Yakitori recipes? Try some favorites from these Yakitori cookbooks.

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What I Love About A Yakitori Grill

They are designed for convenience and portability, Yakitori meals are typically cooked using step-by-step methods. Traditionally, it was accomplished using portable charcoal grills. That is the method most often employed by Yatai, however, restaurants may use stationary grills and depending on the situation, higher quality binchotan charcoal.

To facilitate even cooking, cut the meat into small, roughly uniform shapes and then skewered. The Yakitori are then seasoned and put on the grill. Charcoal is the tradional method of cooking as it produces high heat and strong flames. This allows for the ingredients to cook quickly while giving the chicken a crunchy texture. While gas and electric heat sources can be used, they do not develop the same aromas or textures as charcoal-cooked Yakitori.

Maybe Yakitori grills are a little pricey

They are just slightly more expensive than one of the smaller portable grills for camping or tailgating. One thing I think you should know is that some of the Yakitori grills can be over $600. That’s on the high end of affordability for many people. My advice is to start out with the entry level Yakitori grill which you can buy for around $39. Use one for one complete season and then decide if you want to switch to a larger grill or go back to a your gas or charcoal grill.

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What if you really just grill burgers?

I talk a lot about grilling and chilling. The biggest advantage I see in Yakitori grill is the ability to make a great chicken skewer. If you are someone who spends your outdoor time looking for unique ways to prepare a meal, you may find that a good Yakitori grill is what you need. If you are mostly a burger guy or gal, you can always go back to the classic charcoal or gas grill if the Yakitori is not for you.

It’s just a cool way to grill

I am confident a Yakitori grill could be a long term addition to your grilling options. I am a big fan of unique ways to prepare food with and open flame and these grills do a really good job. A Yakitori grill will most likely be your optional grill to complement your main grill. To get the best from it, make sure you are going to be using it frequently and especially for skewers. Otherwise you’ve just bought a great grill with features you are not using.

But they are cool. You will probably have people asking you what it’s called and where you bought it. In my experience, if you enjoy the outdoors, its one of the best grills to skewer chicken that you can buy. Overall, I think it has one of the coolest designs and its worth the price tag. You can buy these right from the manufactures sites or Amazon. I have also seen a few at Wal Mart, Costco and Sams Club. I have not seen them at Home Depot and Lowe’s yet.

Why Buy A Yakitori Grill?

The sun is out and you’ve got a cold beverage and you’re ready to grill and chill. These are the grills that are best suited for creating something a little different and doing it the right way! While all of the Yakitori grills listed above work brilliantly in the backyard, they are best used for skewers and kabobs and not burgers or steaks.

Yakitori grills are small grills meant to mainly cook skewers and sides just like their Japanese origins and purpose. I like these grills because they are also portable, available in electric models and some can be used both outdoors and indoors.

So if you are looking for a new fun way to share BBQ food with your friends and family, these grills are a great option. A Yakitori grill can help unlock Japanese inspired recipes and add a great home grilling add-on to your menu.

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I am really impressed with these grills. The key is to make them with a traditional Yakitori sauce made of soy sauce, mirin, sake and caster sugar. Not only do they make your chicken skewers taste really good, they only take a few minutes to grill up! 4-6 minutes on each side is just enough time for all of the delicious flavors of the Yakitori sauce into the chicken.

It’s a quick and easy dish you can serve as both a snack or a meal. Pair your Yakitori with white rice for a simple dinner that the whole family will love! My kids are always asking for chicken skewers not and can’t get enough. And all your guests will be always ask for seconds. I’m sure you will love it too!

Your possibilities are endless so it’s time to grill and chill.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a small commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no cost to you.