Best yakitori grill

Best Yakitori Grills in 2021 – Charcoal, Gas, and Electric

We’ve adopted a number of delicious trends from the Japanese, sushi, and ramen, to name a few. Yakitori grilling is another culinary concept worth trying. And it’s definitely going to make your backyard barbecue party a hit!

Follow this guide and get one of the best yakitori grills on the market so you will be all set up for a Japanese grilling experience.

Essentially, a yakitori grill is a unit specifically designed for cooking up small skewers of chicken all brushed with a delightfully flavored glaze. But you can use it for all kinds of skewers with meat and vegetables too.

Come on, who doesn’t like food on a stick?

Our recommendations for Best Yakitori Grill:

What Exactly Is a Yakitori Grill?

In the US people grill skewers, often made up of chunks of meat, along with onions, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and tofu. We’re also familiar with a Thai satay, usually dipped in a peanut sauce. 

Well, the Japanese have their tasty version too, and it’s been popularized over many decades to be commonplace and a way of life.

yakitori grill and skewers (1)

What we know as skewers or kebabs is called Yakitori in Japan, and it actually means grilled chicken.

Yakitori grill is a rectangular open grill that can be wide but the depth is often only some inches.

This type of grill is specifically designed with skewers in mind, so you can make them without burning your fingers or flaming the sticks to ashes. Perfect for cooking many small skewers at the same time!

How to Cook Yakitori?

When cooking with a Yakitori grill, the traditional way is to use slow-burning Binchotan charcoal (more about this later) and grill the chicken on low heat.

The basic version of this delicacy is usually pieces of chicken grilled on a stick glazed for extra taste. Then having different types of dipping sauces, including soy and rice wine, while eating them.

yakitori restaurant in Japan

There are little Yakitori joints all over Japan where people can pop in to grab a quick skewer and a cold beer.

Now, since there are so many quality Yakitori grills on the market, you could have an experience like that in your own backyard. A fun, accessible treat that is also healthy and flavorful finger food that satisfies like a full meal should.

Are you excited to start cooking already?

I recommend you watch this excellent video that shows the basics of making delicious Japanese grilled chicken skewers:

How To Make Yakitori (Japanese Grilled Chicken)

The Best Yakitori Grills Reviewed

What kind of yakitori grill are you looking for?

Tabletop, stand-alone, or the most affordable option? Charcoal, gas, or electric grill?

Well, whichever is your preference, we got you covered. We have carefully selected the best product for each type.

Note: Below you can find a few more guides that we think you will find interesting:

Best Freestanding Yakitori Grill: Isumer Charcoal Kabob Grill

This charcoal grill from ISUMER is your basic all-around winner when it comes to Yakitori-style grilling. It’s made of stainless steel, so it looks sharp and sleek with its glistening silver exterior.

The cool thing is, it’s rust-proof, so this color will last even through season after season of exposure. It’s also warp-proof, so it won’t develop those bends and kinks you see in other grills.

ISUMER Charcoal Yakitori Grill

Specifications:

  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Grilling Area: 350 (sq.in)
  • Weight: 12.32 lbs
  • Build Materials: Stainless steel
  • Dimensions: 28.7″ x 12.8″ x 26.8″ (L x W x H) – with stand

Features

Size: The grill is long and lean, with enough room to really fill it up with skewers. With about 350 square inches of grilling area, it’s the largest unit in this review.

Portable: This grill is portable, too, so you can bring it to the next tailgating party, and it will be a hit. It only weighs about 12 pounds and can be folded to fit into small space.

Vents: You’ve got vents on both ends so you can control the heat that way. There is also an ash catcher for more uniform internal temperature easy cleaning.

Conclusion

The ISUMER Yakitori grill uses charcoal as fuel. It’s the original way of cooking these tasty skewers producing flavorful aromas wafting around your food. If you really want to prepare some authentic Japanese yakitori, be sure to stock up on the Binchotan variety of charcoal. It ensures a long and clean burn and great sear.

The only complaint we have about this product is that it could be a bit more sturdy. So be careful not to let anyone bump into it while you’re in the middle of cooking!

Have fun with this grill because overall, it’s the best Yakitori grill available. Make it a priority to have a gathering as soon as you can to show off your new specialty purchase.

Enjoy the delights that skewers can bring – alongside your friends and family. It will definitely be a lovely time!

What We Love

  • Large grilling area
  • Great value for money
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Made of durable stainless steel
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Uses charcoal for an authentic taste
  • Includes a non-stick grill pan

What We Don’t

  • Could be more sturdy

Best Gas Yakitori Grill: Nomadiq Portable Propane Gas Grill

The Nomadiq is a nice and convenient gas Yakitori grill. It’s a portable unit that is one of the best options for hassle-free cooking in your backyard or while camping, tailgating, or even on a boat trip.

Nomadiq Portable Propane Gas Grill

Specifications:

  • Fuel Type: Propane Gas (standard 1lb / 16oz tank)
  • Grilling Area: 226 (sq.in)
  • Weight: 12 lbs
  • Build Materials: Powder-coated steel and stainless steel
  • Dimensions (assembled): 25.6″ x 16″ x 7.5″ (L x W x H)

Features

Size and Power: This grill is surprisingly large when assembled as it has 226 square inches of cooking space. It boasts a total of 9,200 BTUs of heating power (4,600 per side) on 2 stainless steel burners.

Portable: The innovative design allows you to fold the grill into a very small package. Its light weight and carry handle make it even more portable. The grill only weighs about 12 pounds.

Easy and Fast: Setting up the grill and starting it with the electric ignition is done in a matter of seconds. And because you don’t need to wait for coals to heat up, you’re basically able to turn this guy on and have skewers ready in no time at all.

Conclusion

The Nomadiq is a gas Yakitori grill ideal for those who don’t like to mess with charcoal. Also, the heat control is super user-friendly so even a beginner chef will have an easy time with it. One great thing is that it’s also versatile and works well on burgers, steaks, and almost anything else that you want to have a nice sear on.

It is meant to be used on a table only, so you need to be aware of that if you’re planning on having a Yakitori zone in your yard. Make sure that you have a nice spot designated for it because it doesn’t have its own legs to stand on.

Consider bringing this grill along to your next picnic, road trip, or tailgating. With a 1 lb tank of gas, you can have over 3 hours of grill time, which is an ample opportunity to cook up something delicious.

What We Love

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Large-enough grilling area
  • Push-button ignition
  • Long burning time with 1 lb gas tank
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Good grease management system

What We Don’t

  • A bit pricey

Stylish Tabletop Charcoal Yakitori Grill: Noto Dia Shichirin Hida Konro

This is an absolute treasure of a grill because it’s so authentic looking AND it’s a great performer. 

Specifications:

  • Fuel Type: Charcoal
  • Grilling Area: 70 (sq.in)
  • Weight: 5 lbs
  • Build Materials: Diatomaceous earth (grill), Paulownia wood (base), and Iron with zinc plating (mesh)
  • Dimensions: 6.3″ x 11.4″ x 5.1″ (L x W x H)

Features

Size: If you’re cooking for a large group of people, you might want to have another bigger grill as well. Or you could have one of these for each table since the grilling area of this unit is only about 70 square inches.

Design: It has a beautiful pearl colored backdrop with lovely Japanese lettering and whimsical artistic touches.

Materials: It’s enameled so it is smooth to the touch and will not overheat during the cooking process. Another slick thing is, it’s got a wooden base so you don’t have to worry as much about the surface of the table you’re cooking on. The insulation is built in here.

Conclusion

The Noto Dia is a table-top charcoal grill that is sure to be the center of attention at your next family dinner or backyard party because of the decorative Japanese exterior.

It uses charcoal, so you’ll get a great sear and that subtle flavoring from the smoke.

This grill is not just eye-candy, it’s the real deal!

What We Love

  • Easy to transport and store
  • Authentic Japanese charcoal grill
  • Looks beautiful
  • Lightweight with sturdy wooden base
  • Made in Japan

What We Don’t

  • Small grilling area
  • Not the most durable grill

Best Electric Yakitori Grill: Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill

Zojirushi grill might be small, but it’s a true powerhouse.

This is a table-top model that uses electricity, so if you’re looking to cook some skewers but don’t want to go outside or “fire up” anything, this could be your ideal grill.

Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill

Specifications:

  • Power Source: Electricity (1,500 watts)
  • Grilling Area: 158 (sq.in)
  • Weight: 10 lbs
  • Build Materials: Stainless steel, ceramic
  • Dimensions: 21″ x 14″ x 4″ (L x W x H)

Features

Size: It’s a very compact unit, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it can’t handle a decent amount of food. All black in color, this grill is able to be easily stashed away in your kitchen after you’re done using it. You don’t need to waste precious counter space leaving it out. Instead, tuck it away out of sight in a cabinet.

Materials: It’s got a nice ceramic nonstick grill surface ideal for all types of meats, vegetables, and other tasty treats.

Easy and convenient: Since it’s electric, you don’t waste any time with coals or gas bottles either.

Conclusion

The Zojirushi is also nice because it’s suitable for other types of food, like burgers and steaks.

You can cook that up just as easily as a yakitori stick, and all in the comfort of your own kitchen. Just plug it in and you’re ready to roll!

What We Love

  • Easy to use
  • Versatile
  • Can be used indoors
  • Dishwasher-safe drip tray
  • Cast iron grates
  • Compact and lightweight

What We Don’t

  • Can produce some smoke

Want to check out more options for indoor use? Take a look at our guide with the best smokeless electric indoor grills.

Budget Pick: Isumer Portable Charcoal Grill

Isumer has got the traditional look and feel of a Japanese grill but is easy on the wallet.

Specifications:

  • Fuel: Charcoal
  • Grilling Area: 175 (sq.in)
  • Weight: 4 lbs
  • Build Material: Stainless Steel
  • Dimensions: 15.9″ x 11″ x 8.8″ (L x W x H)

Features

Size: This grill has a nice 175 square inch cooking area good for preparing food for 4-6 people.

Portable: This grill is lightweight and travels well – it would make for a wonderful companion when you’re camping or grilling up at the lake.

Design and Materials: The stainless steel exterior is super slick looking, and the grating and size make this perfect for skewers, burgers, and steaks alike.

Vents: Side vents help you to control the heat, but you can also access the coals via the grate to adjust the temperature.

Conclusion

If you’ve got your heart set on a Yakitori style grill, but you’re on a budget, this Isumer grill could be the perfect option for you.

The best news is that it’s totally affordable, so you can try it out and see if it suits your grilling style.

What We Love

  • Very affordable
  • Decent sized grilling area
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Easy to clean

What We Don’t

  • Short legs only
  • Not the most durable body

How to Choose the Best Yakitori Grill?

From hundreds of options available we have already picked up the best yakitori grills and reviewed them in this guide. Now it’s up to you to consider which one is the most suitable for your needs.

Here are some important things to consider:

Size and Shape of the Cooking Surface:

Most yakitori grills are long and narrow which makes them excellent for cooking skewers. If you want to cook other things as well, you might want to get model with wider cooking area.

Also, if you want to organize bigger parties, it makes sense to get a unit like the Party Griller Charcoal Yakitori Grill which has a large grilling area that can fit dozens of kebabs.

Dimensions and Portability:

When you are only using the yakitori grill occasionally, it is convenient to have a small unit that fits in your cabinet.

One great way to make skewers is to have a picnic or a camping trip and bring your grill along. This means that the grill should be lightweight and easy to carry around.

Materials and Design:

Would you like to have a durable stainless steel grill or a traditional one made with natural materials?

A stainless steel unit is more durable and easy to maintain. Yet, a traditional and decorative option like Noto Dia Shichirin Hida Konro is something that will be a stunning addition to your outdoors dinner table.

Can it be used indoors?

If you are going to grill outdoors and don’t mind setting up the charcoal, then getting a charcoal yakitori grill and some Binchotan is your best option. This will provide you with the best result for taste and authentic experience.

However, in the wintertime, you might want to cook some skewers indoors. This is done best with an electric or gas yakitori grill. Using this type of unit is also much easier and more convenient.

What Kind of Charcoal To Use?

Since the tradition of yakitori is charcoal-based, there is a preferred fuel source that most avid grillers recommend above any other.

It’s called Binchotan, and it’s a type of charcoal prized for a consistent, slow, and clean burn.

binchotan charcoal from Japan

You won’t need to worry about this if you opt for a gas or electric grill, but if you go with charcoal, you can get Binchotan charcoal for the most authentic experience.

It’s a natural alternative that avoids a lot of the filler and toxins in many commercial brands of charcoal. This charcoal burns for a long time and imparts a mild aroma that lets the natural flavors of your food shine through.

You can get some high-quality Binchotan charcoal from Amazon.

Are You Ready to Grill Japanese Style!

When you are looking to step up your grilling game, you start to specialize in things, and you get to know your tastes more.

Sometimes you like to grill all American steaks or hot dogs. Other times it’s a perfect night for cooking Japanese style, which means pulling out your teppanyaki, Yakitori, or hibachi grill.

While it’s possible to rig up a makeshift Yakitori-style grill on your existing gas, charcoal, or electric grill, part of the fun of this dining experience is gathering around the grill and being a part of the cooking process. 

You can make it an authentic Japanese feast by using Binchotan charcoal and grilling chicken skewers served with soy sauce and rice wine dips.

But you can also just use regular charcoal and grill all kinds of skewers and kebabs.

Imagine a party or a backyard family BBQ with do-it-yourself kebabs available. Folks could pick from wide varieties of meat, veggies, or prawns and put them on the skewers. 

You could have a designated griller, or it could be more DIY on the grill as well, with everyone taking a turn to flip their skewers. It can be a special grill for a special night, or it might be a regular Tuesday afternoon – when you have your own Yakitori, the option is always on the table.

Yakitori grills are also quite versatile. You can definitely use it for foods like steaks, chicken breast, and burgers, that have nothing to do with sticks.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Joonas!

As soon as I learned to walk, I started to assist my dad and uncles with grilling and smoking. I always loved helping them and later took over the role of the grill master in my family.

My goal is to cook tasty barbecue food, enjoy it with family & friends, and help others do the same!

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