How to make the best yakitori at home. We give you all the info on a home DIY yakitori grill, how to use a gas yakitori grill and where to buy yakitori grill.

What we are talking about is a specific type of grill which is commonly used to cook yakitori, which is also known as grilled chicken. However, throughout the world, yakitori refers to any kind of Japanese barbecue in which the meat is skewered and cooked over low temperatures.

The Yakitori

A yakitori is traditionally cooked on two paired long feet, rectangular grill that is just only a few inches wide. On top of the grill, you will usually have a grid or wire mesh. The open surface on the mesh is where the food is placed. Be sure that only the food is over the heat in order to avoid burning the skewers.

Most DIY yakitori grill cookers today utilize white charcoal for heating although if you are in a region where you can’t easily get a hold of it, you can always use regular charcoal instead. One feature that makes the yakitori unique from most other grills is the large amount of heat it can emit when cooking on it as well as the type of charcoal that is commonly used for it, that of course being white charcoal.

If you were to go to a yakitori restaurant in Japan you would find that the grills are built into the table. Guests would then order from a selection of raw meats which would then be grilled communally. One of the most popular locations for cooking yakitori is a restaurant called the yakitori-ya, which cooks skewered meat in an informal setting.

Bastes For The Tastes

A combination of soy sauce, sake, mirin and sugar is used when it comes to basting the meat and unlike many other types of meat that are marinated, yakitori is very rarely marinated. It is served accompanied with a rice wine dipping sauce and soy sauce. Natives commonly dip the yakitori twice in these sauces in order to glaze the meat for a smooth, sweet, and salty flavor.

Cooking on a DIY yakitori grill has proven to be quite popular in the United States. However, unlike Japan where chicken is the most frequently used meat, the US style of yakitori utilizes almost any kind of skewered meat and sometimes even vegetables. These meats are grilled on an open flame then glazed with a variety of sauces and finally served with a dipping sauce.

This type of yakitori cooking can easily be confused with the shish kebab, however there’s a clear difference. Unlike the shish kebab where a mixture of meats and vegetables are used, yakitori will either only use one kind of meat per skewer or only vegetables on a skewer. Yakitori is also only cooked on low temperatures.

Many Japanese natives know that the dipping sauce served along with the yakitori can make all the difference. The US yakitori is usually served with barbecue sauce, however Japan uses their very own Japanese style sauces made specifically to go along with yakitori.

Design Features

Like many other grills, a grill for yakitori possesses a number of distinctive features such as:

A compact design as well as a rectangular shaped grill. This shape allows you to use its large surface area for long skewers. Since yakitori is prepared and served on the table top, it’s better to have a small grill in order to allow for more space to facilitate service.

Nowadays, it is common when cooking yakitori to use a ceramic coating within the exterior and interior surfaces. However, clay molds were traditionally used when coating the grills surfaces in order to retain the heat within the grill, allowing for perfect cooking. If you decide to make a DIY yakitori grill, you should try to get hold of a clay mold, it is highly recommended as it is far better than the ceramic coating currently used.

Grill Charcoal

The preferred choice of charcoal used for cooking yakitori is a particular type of charcoal known as Binchotan otherwise known as Japanese white charcoal. White charcoal can be easily found throughout Japan, so it is pretty common for natives to prepare meals on yakitori-style grills during the evening. 

This frequent use of this type of grill results in a sweet smell frequenting the streets, usually from the drips of yakitori juices which is a blend of the Tare flavors and the meat itself.

However, many people disregard the importance of this particular type of charcoal when cooking on a DIY yakitori grill and end up using different types of common charcoal instead.

Lump charcoal is one of the more common types of charcoal and is made through the burning of wood with limited oxygen. It is meant to be burnt at around 500 ̊C and then extinguished. However given how it is composed of 70-80% carbon, the charcoal tends to burn away quite rapidly. Given how a bag of lump charcoal comes in inconsistent sizes, some parts of your barbecue grill will end up being hotter than others. It’s supposed to burn at very high temperatures at first, although the temperature will then begin to reduce through time.

Briquettes is another type of charcoal that was introduced due to the inconsistency of lump charcoal. However, not only does this type of charcoal posses a lower carbon content, it also has impurities and fillers as well as chemicals that make it is easier to light and maintain a steady burn. With that being said, this type of charcoal would not be a good choice for your barbecue. Briquettes are also known to produce much more ash than lump charcoal, however they do burn hotter.

Binchotan charcoal is applauded by most chefs around the world as it has always offered great service. It’s made using oak and has a high level of carbon which not only makes it odorless, but allows you to maintain the aroma and natural flavors of your food.

Making White Charcoal

If you are thinking of making a DIY yakitori grill, then you need to know how to make white charcoal. A traditional grill for yakitori is made by firing an oak tree in a kiln at a very low temperature for a long period.

Like lump charcoal, the binchotan needs to go through carbonisation, which results in the reduction of oxygen. This process can take up to 4 days and once complete, has to go through a refining process which uses high temperatures of about 950 ̊c, however, the duration of the refining process is much shorter.

Finally, it is smothered with ash sand and soil to give it its distinct white color. White charcoal normally contains a high content of carbon but shouldn’t be confused with the other types of charcoal that were previously mentioned, since Binchotan has distinct features when compared to the others.

Binchotan looks white and grey, however if you want to make sure you have got the right charcoal, simply take two pieces and knock them together, they should emit a metallic sound.

Ippinku Kishu Binchotan Charcoal

This type of charcoal for originates from Kishu, a place that is praised for being able to produce some of the best white charcoal anywhere in Japan. This high quality charcoal is the perfect choice for either barbecues or grills. Although the charcoal itself may vary in size, it can still be reused if stored properly. This type of charcoal does not contain any chemicals whatsoever, can reach high temperatures when burnt and is quick to cool off.

What’s So Good About White Charcoal?

There are a number of reasons why Japanese choose to buy yakitori grill charcoal that’s white, the main upside being that it has a clean heat that is high and steady. White charcoal can burn for about 3 to 5 hours, this being largely due to the wood that is used to manufacture it as well as the charcoals overall thickness. Although it takes longer to ignite when compared to the previous types of charcoal, its advantages still far outweigh the disadvantages.

What to Look Out For

Does It Fit?

When the time comes to buy yakitori grill, you must decide the preferred size based on what the intended purpose of the grill is. If you are simply looking to make yakitori on a lower scale, such as for barbecues with the family, you will want to go for a small table top design. However, if you intend to make yakitori on a large scale for commercial purposes, then the best option would be to buy yakitori grill that’s a bit larger. 

What’s In A Shape

Traditionally, this type of grill was only used for the skewing of chicken, however in the western world, it would later be used for other purposes such as making kebabs, burgers and other varieties of meat.

If you are looking to cook on a DIY yakitori grill with a number of different meats, then it is recommended that you buy yakitori grill that’s cylindrical instead of the traditional rectangular shaped one.

To make your life just a little bit easier, try looking for a grill that comes with extra wires and adjustable coal beds. Make sure that your grill also comes with clear instructions to guide you on how to assemble it.

In Conclusion

If you have the right grill, then making an authentic yakitori shouldn’t really be much of an issue. The yakitori itself is considered to be one of the most popular Japanese dishes both within and outside of Japan. Therefore, owning a grill for yakitori can be a wise investment since you could be using this gadget to prepare a wide variety of different meals for a very long time.

If you want to buy yakitori grill, then we have 4 of the best you can get online. Have a look at our review as it will help buy yakitori grill that suits your needs. Otherwise, you can always go for the DIY yakitori grill.

The Review

Party Fairy Charcoal Grill

Party Griller 32

You want to buy yakitori grill then this unique commercial design is made using stainless steel on both the inside and outside of the grill. Upon delivery, it will only require minimal assembling as most of the grill is already assembled by the manufacturers. 

This grill also comes with a vent control on both sides in order to ensure that the heat is regulated and to avoid any uneven heat distribution. Thanks to its rectangular shape, grilling has never been easier and although the traditional grills are made using iron, this stainless steel grill is both portable and functional. Its massive grate mesh suits any kind of skewer, from kebabs to yakitori, to Malaysian satay and shish kebab. 

The size of the grill itself is 8 inches wide so only a small portion of the skewer is actually exposed to the heat, allowing your meat to cook perfectly and thanks to its contactless grilling, your food can cook while not getting stuck on the grill. This grill also comes with a few extras such as 2 stainless steel seasoning shakers, a wide mesh grill grate, and a pair of 12-inch scissor barbecue tongs. These accessories, along with the grill itself are incredibly easy to clean. Should storage space be an issue you can always fold the legs of the grill to make it more compact.

Party Griller 32

RUST-PROOF AND WARP-PROOF, EASY TO CLEAN - 32 Inches x 8 Inches Wide. Made of Heavy Duty Stainless Steel Inside and Out

Smoke Hollow Propane Gas Grill

Smoke Hollow 205

A gas yakitori grill can have many advantages over the traditional type. The number one is not having to clean up all the charcoal after you have finished. These days a gas yakitori grill can be very handy especially if you live in an apartment and you don’t want to fill the building with the smoke and smell of charcoal. 

A gas yakitori grill is also very handy if you need to cook indoors. That is something that is almost impossible with a wood fired grill. There can be no doubt that gas yakitori grill is cheaper on the fuel bills that charcoal based grills.

This beautiful stainless steel gas yakitori grill from smoke hollow is not only stunning to look at but cooks a mean yakitori as well. It will look great on your veranda or in the kitchen and will complement any summer garden. It is 205 sq. in.

of primary stainless steel, with a cooking area 105 sq. in. and a chrome-plated warming rack. It comes with a 10,000 BTU stainless steel “U” burner, foldable stainless steel legs, stainless steel drip tray, and a beautiful chrome temperature gauge. It uses 16oz. disposable gas cylinders.

This is a truly beautiful gas yakitori grill from a reputable grill maker with a long history of making great gas yakitori grill products.

Smoke Hollow 205

205 sq. in. primary stainless steel cooking area 105 sq. in. chrome-plated warming rack

Fire Sense Charcoal Grill

Fire Sense Large Yakatori Charcoal Grill

Fire sense focuses on producing outdoor heating items that are both innovative and well made. Being fully aware on how much the Japanese treasure the clay and ceramic products, the company decided to make this grill using ceramic. 

This is factory grade type of ceramic which focuses on distributing the heat equally in order to guarantee a faster and more efficient form of cooking. Should you want to cook some hot dogs or kebabs, there is no need to worry about them falling or rolling when they are cooking, as the grill has a lip.

The grill also comes with a clip to keep it in place while on top of the ceramic body, as well as adjustable ventilation that will allow you to control the heat and change the cooking temperature. The cooking surface of the grill itself features a Japanese style table top used for yakitori cooking and is not only portable but also incredibly easy to clean.

Fire Sense Large Yakatori Charcoal Grill

Features 17 x 10 inches cooking surface area

Uten Charcoal Grill 

Barbecue Charcoal

This simple lightweight grill is sure to give you a smokey barbecue if you love smokey grills. It suits the outdoor smoker cooking and can be used for your very own picnics or patio dinners. The grill was designed with special features to facilitate its transportation, possessing sturdy handles that will allow you to take it from one point to another as well as foldable legs for both easier transport as well as storage.

To enhance the grills stability, the feet are made of non-slip rubber so you can set it up anywhere. Storage also shouldn’t be an issue since the grill itself takes up very little space. Not only is this product incredibly easy to assemble, but it also comes with a simple guide that will properly instruct you on how it is used. The grill also comes with ventilation vents built into it, which allows for more control over the airflow within the grill. The material used to manufacture the grill is designed to avoid rust. Upon purchasing this grill, you will also receive a couple of extra accessories such as a wire mesh and an extra set of tongs.

Barbecue Charcoal

If you love a smoky grilled flavor in meats, vegetables, etc., this simple lightweight BBQ charcoal grill will allow you to savor delicious foods ANYWHERE & ANYTIME!!

Mikasa Jones
Mikasa grew up in the dynamic Harlem neighborhood of New York City. Mikasa defines herself as an adaptive young woman who has been immersed into various cultures not just in the United States, but also her mother's hometown in Yokohama, Japan. She is a chef by profession and is an active member of the American Culinary Federation. She swears by a cup of hot matcha after a long day, saying that it helps her relax and focus on her tasks on a day-to-day basis.

Japan Daily Press is one of her outlets for sharing information with readers about the accessibility of commercially available Japanese products. She thinks that the misconception of sub-standard quality and taste of commercial food should be erased because there are a lot of manufacturers that are really stepping up their game in terms of developing products that are as close to authentic as possible.