The Best Yakitori Grills – Our Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

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    OUR TOP CHOICE

    OUR TOP CHOICE

    Key Features

     Material: porcelain enamel (firebox), stainless steel (grate)

      Style: portable charcoal grill

      Indoor use: No

      Dimensions: 13.66” x 16.73” x 9.06”

      Total grilling area: 115 square inches

      Total weight: 15.43 lbs.


    Chicken BBQ

    Yakitori (meat skewers, usually chicken, brushed with a delicious sweet sauce) is an interesting tradition going back about a hundred years. Now a ubiquitous salaryman food in Japan, the snack (and by extension the grills that make it) are becoming more and more popular worldwide.

    Today we’re going to go over what, exactly, a yakitori grill is, and some of the best ones on the market. Let’s get started!


    Here are the best yakitori grills you can buy:

    For the complete product list, please continue reading…


    Top 7 Best Yakitori Grills (2020 Reviews)

    1. Everdure by Heston Blumenthal Portable Charcoal Grill

    Pros:

     Very portable, with integrated storage and a latching lid (that doubles as a cutting board)
     Usable on any surface due to impeccable heat shielding
     High quality materials and construction
     Good overall grilling surface area

    Cons:

      Very expensive for a portable charcoal grill

    Specifications:

      • Material: porcelain enamel (firebox), stainless steel (grate)
      • Style: portable charcoal grill
      • Indoor use: No
      • Dimensions: 13.66” x 16.73” x 9.06”
      • Total grilling area: 115 square inches
      • Total weight: 15.43 lbs.

    This is one of the most interesting portable grill designs I’ve ever seen. While far from the traditional yakitori grill in many ways, it gets all the important stuff right.

    First, it’s portable, as you can see. It has a set of easy to hold handles on the sides, and it even has a locking lid to keep everything inside contained.

    The grill contains everything you need besides the charcoal and utensils as well, giving you an all in one package that also acts as a great storage container on its own, allowing for easy transport of everything you need to grill delicious food on the go. It even has a cutting board that doubles as a lid for the grill.

    The design is excellent, safe to use anywhere. The heat shielding on the bottom of the grill ensures that it can sit atop wooden tables and similar potential hazards without any worry of harming whatever you set it on.

    The grilling area, while not immense, is still pretty great for a yakitori grill; about 115 square inches. Plenty for a few cuts of meat or several skewers arranged carefully.

    Even the construction is amazing, an interesting heat resistant enamel that traps heat well and provides an excellent cooking platform.

    So long as you don’t mind shelling out a fair few bucks (this is one of the more expensive grills here, and by far the most expensive charcoal grill) this could be a lifelong companion for you if you plan to grill on the go a lot.


    2. Isumer Portable Charcoal Yakitori BBQ Grill

    Pros:

     Easy to assemble and disassemble
     Exceptionally lightweight and portable
     Very low price
     Solid grilling space
     Charcoal grilling provides superior flavor

    Cons:

      Not usable indoors

    Specifications:

      • Material: stainless steel
      • Style: portable charcoal grill
      • Indoor use: No
      • Dimensions: 15.9” x 11” x 8.8”
      • Total grilling area: roughly 175 square inches
      • Total weight: 3.83 lbs.

    This one is as simple as it gets, and very cheap, but quite well made for what it is.

    The stainless steel body is made thick and sturdy, just what you like to see in a grill like this. It’s also compact and easily portable, with a very slim profile, and easily detachable legs that can be stored away easily (inside the grill body most conveniently).

    The performance is good on top of that, with about 175 square inches of cooking space and excellent air ventilation for a grill of this type.

    There are better yakitori grills out there in a lot of ways, but in terms of portability and durability this has all of them beat. If you’re not looking for anything fancy, and just want a grill that will get the job done with minimal fuss, at an exceptionally low price, this grill has you covered.


    3. Iwatani Fire Burning Gas Powered Yakitori Grill

    Pros:

     Very compact and easy to store away in small spaces
     Portable
     Gas powered and conveniently usable
     Decent cooking area; enough for a good sized snack

    Cons:

     Quite expensive
     Low availability
     Requires specific gas cartridges to function

    Specifications:

      • Material: powder coated steel plate (body), stainless steel (grate)
      • Style: gas powered yakitori grill
      • Indoor use: Yes
      • Dimensions: 409 mm x 214 mm x 131 mm
      • Total grilling area: roughly 80 square inches
      • Total weight: 5.28 lbs.

    A gas powered option this time, compact and usable anywhere you please. It’s a nice little grill and looks right at home on a tabletop as it does outdoors, providing a consistent low heat to make perfect yakitori skewers.

    The capacity isn’t bad, despite the appearance; about 80 square inches of cooking area, well enough for 2 to 3 skewers at a time. It runs on little gas cartridges (“cassettes”) that can be plugged in and provide about 90 minutes of cooking time with each use; enough to get a good meal going for a few friends, and great for cooking small snacks especially (largely the point of yakitori anyway).

    The entire body is very compact and easy to move around. It’s great for stashing in your car or keeping in the bottom drawer of your cupboard and keeping it there for whenever you might need it.

    The main issue is the expense. Whether due to its construction or perhaps import costs, this tiny little yakitori grill is quite expensive and that cost is compounded by the need to keep filling it up with the little gas cartridges which are good for only one grilling session a pop in a lot of cases.

    That turns something which might otherwise be an easily recommended oddity with solid performance into an iffier prospect that might best be left to enthusiasts and novelty collectors.


    4. Lovt Charcoal Yakitori Grill and BBQ Stove

    Pros:

     Excellent thick and sturdy construction
     Great heat retention
     Good air flow
     Decent enough capacity
     Okay price

    Cons:

      A bit less portable than other options

    Specifications:

      • Material: cast iron (body), stainless steel (grate)
      • Style: charcoal grill
      • Indoor use: No
      • Dimensions: 9.5” x 5”
      • Total grilling area: roughly 50 square inches

    This one is as simple as it gets, but it looks quite nice.

    The symbology on the outside looks good and adds a bit of flair to an otherwise quite plain yakitori grill. The material is nondescript but sturdy metal (likely cast iron by the color and thickness, but not specified) and it performs well, with good ventilation on either of the longer sides of the grill helping to fan the flames higher.

    The steel grate performs well, heating to a high heat and helping to sear food easily. If you want something with a bit more consistent cooking power, this is also compatible with a few cast iron barbeque plates that can add to the versatility of this grill.

    It’s small, but not too small. You can put a few skewers on here fairly easily without crowding them.

    It’s a great grill, and not too expensive either; the perfect yakitori grill for reliable, consistent, and frequent use.


    5. Iwatani Smokeless Korean Yakimaru Grill

    Pros:

     Easy to use
     Nonstick grill surface
     Gas powered, so it’s usable indoors
     Gas cartridges last a long time per use
     Compact, lightweight, and very portable
     Easy to store away
     Great price for the quality

    Cons:

      Requires gas canisters, so the cost can rack up over time

    Specifications:

      • Material: die cast aluminum (body), nonstick (grate)
      • Style: gas powered yakitori grill
      • Indoor use: Yes
      • Dimensions: 10.94” x 11.93” x 5.87”
      • Total weight: 4.4 lbs.

    Not QUITE a yakitori grill, but close enough for our purposes. It’s made for much the same purposes, and performs quite well overall. It runs on gas cartridges (similar to another Iwatani gas grill we’ll talk about below), that gives this an easy  method of use and allows it to be properly used indoors with little danger, similar to other gas or electric grills and skillets usable indoors.

    The grilling area is decent enough and allows you to make some good sized skewers a little at a time. You’ll have to make multiple batches to feed anyone but yourself, but the 217 minutes of operating time per canister will give you ample time to do so, and is likely enough for 2 to 3 different grilling sessions

    On top of that, the price is great. While you need to keep buying the cartridges, you get a lot of mileage out of each one and can keep using this grill for a long time on a single charge, so it’s not as burdensome as if the charges were much shorter.

    Iwatani Yakimaru Grill is a great midrange priced yakitori grill you can use easily in your home to make good food. What’s not to love?


    6. Fire Sense 17 inch Large Yakitori Tabletop Grill

    Pros:

     Ceramic construction makes for great heat retention
     Great charcoal grill
     Large cooking surface
     Good air flow
     Durable and long lasting
     Decent price

    Cons:

      A bit heavy
     Loses out to a similarly sized but much cheaper model

    Specifications:

      • Material: ceramic (body), stainless steel (grate)
      • Style: charcoal grill
      • Indoor use: No
      • Dimensions: 17.73” x 10.24” x 7.09”
      • Total grilling area: roughly 157 square inches
      • Total weight: 23 lbs.

    Fire Sense Large Yakatori Charcoal Grill is a nice little tabletop job, with a stainless steel grate and sturdy ceramic body. The ceramic construction there is the key part, giving it much different properties than the usual steel or cast iron work that goes into these.

    Ceramic has some fun properties, with insanely good heat retention. Combined with the solid air flow provided by the holes on this one, you have a great reliable grill that will heat up fast and keep those coals hot for a long time, allowing for a very easy time making the skewers yakitori grills are so famous for.

    The capacity on this one is great as well, larger than any but the isomer portable model. The main reason this one falls behind that on the list? Cost. It’s not exorbitant by any means, and comes in at about what you’d expect from a yakitori grill. Unfortunately that still means it’s about 4 times the price of that isomer grill, which does have roughly similar performance, even if it doesn’t quite look as nice.

    I’d say this one is significantly better, but not quite enough to justify the massive price gap.


    7. BBQ Aid Ultimate 5 in 1 Grilling Accessory

    Pros:

     Exceptionally compact and easy to pack or store
     Lightweight and easy to move
     Interesting grate design provides a slightly different kind of char or sear than normal
     Easy to use
     Sturdy stainless steel construction
     Comes with a bunch of useful accessories
     Very inexpensive

    Cons:

      Lacks any kind of legs or stand

    Specifications:

      • Material: stainless steel (overall).
      • Package includes: charcoal grill, 4 steel skewers, beer can rig
      • Style: charcoal grill
      • Indoor use: No
      • Dimensions: 14.33” x 10.31” x 3”
      • Total grilling area: roughly 140 square inches
      • Total weight: 5.04 lbs.

    While not specifically billed as a yakitori grill, the spirit is still here. This is a very simple, extraordinarily compact little grill that essentially consists of just a small tray (that acts as a depository for charcoal) and a little grate that goes over it.

    The great shape is interesting here, a steel plate with a number of holes punched out of it as opposed to a more standard welded number of steel bars.

    That puts the food in contact with a larger surface area of material while it cooks, which has its pros and cons. You’ll get a lot less char on individual portions, without those nice grill lines, changing the overall flavor profile of what you get just a little. However, the food will cook more quickly and evenly, and likely with an excellent brown sear that it’s hard to come by on a standard grill as opposed to a skillet.

    In addition to the interesting design, this one is also worth noting for its variety of included accessories, with a set of 4 steel skewers, and a beer can chicken rig for easy use.

    All of this comes in at a very low price (one of the lowest on the list), and makes for a great cheap alternative to a “traditional” yakitori grill or especially any of the gas powered options we’ve covered.

    It is, though, an exceptionally simplistic grill, without even a set of legs to stand on. That design might not be for everybody, especially if it’s something you expect to use on more uneven ground.


    Final Verdict

    Everdure by Heston Blumenthal

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    Each of these grills has something to offer, but there are a few standouts. The Korean “yakimaru” grill is the best of the non-charcoal variants, but really I believe the main two choices here are between the Everdure portable grill and Isumer’s offering, on opposite ends of the pricing scale. Both perform well and capture the spirit of a yakitori grill perfectly.

    The rest are good, but pale in either quality or price to the two of those while performing much the same role.


    What Makes a Good Yakitori Grill?

    A yakitori grill is, essentially, just a portable charcoal grill. However, they are universally very small ones. Remember, yakitori is a snack food, meant to be eaten in fairly small qualities, and prepared on skewers besides. You don’t need a ton of space, and a yakitori grill probably isn’t going to have more grilling area than needed to make about a half dozen skewers, if that.

    So you’re looking at grills as small as 50 square inches, on up to maybe three times that at the biggest; a far cry from a full sized grill or even some of the larger portable charcoal grills which hover around the 250 to 300 square inches range.

    However, a lot of the same principles of overall quality apply. You want your grill to be made of durable, long lasting materials. Metal is typically preferred, though ceramic and sufficiently tough porcelain are also nonstandard but acceptable choices.

    With that criteria taken care of, you move onto portability. Yakitori grills are small, and lend themselves to being moved around and stored easily. They should be lightweight and compact, or at least break down into some kind of compact area, via detachable legs and the like. You don’t want something bulky and awkward.

    An interesting novelty to note is the existence of gas powered yakitori grills. While most yakitori grills burn charcoal or wood, and are made to be used outside (traditionally as part of an outdoor food stall, but now maybe as part of a nice trip to the local park, or your own balcony) there are gas powered units that are fairly rare and hard to procure in the west. These are typically fairly expensive, and run on gas cartridges which drive up the cost even further over time. In exchange, though, you get to make your yakitori indoors, which may be worth the tradeoff.

    Speaking of price, it’s hard to nail down a hard and fast rule. I’ve seen grills go for under $30 and up to $200. It all depends on the overall quality of the grill itself.