Yakitori, which literally means burned chicken, is a Japanese type of skewered chicken which can be bought on literally every street corner in Japan. The word ‘yaki’ (焼き, burned) makes sense because traditional yakitori is grilled over a charcoal fire. (These days more and more yakitori is grilled on an electrical grill, or on a hot plate.) The skewer used for yakitori (is called a ‘kushi’) and is typically made of bamboo, steel or wood, and usually gets burned a little along with the chicken.
You can buy yakitori in many places in Japan, including every izakaya’s and yakiniku’s. At the izakaya the chef usually prepares the yakitori, and serves it with salt or with a soy sauce, depending on your choice. If you decide to go to a yakiniku it is usually expected that you grill or barbecue the skewers by yourself. Beside the usual places you can typically find this lovely meal at events like omatsuri’s and even a lot of convenience stores sell heated yakitori in different flavours.
Unfortunately not all of us have the chance to go to Japan, or to a good Japanese restaurant to enjoy some delicious yakiniku. Do not worry though, you are still able to enjoy the most delicious yakitori.
Do you want to be able to make the most delicious yakitori in the comfort of your own home? A good yakitori grill is just what you need! There are a lot of variaties available, and choosing a good grill can be tough. There are some things to consider when purchasing a yakitori grill. Luckily for you this site will help you avoid the usual pittfals, and make sure that you will be making izakaya-level chicken skewers in no-time!
Electrical, butane or charcoal heating ?
The first thing to consider when buying a yakitori grill is whether you want to use a charcoal, butane or an electrical grill. Even though traditional yakitori grills rely on charcoal to heat the chicken and give the meat a smokey flavour, this might not be the best for average indoor usage. Electrical grills do not give that typical smokey flavour, but they are a lot easier to use and control, and do not produce as much smoke or odour as the charcoal alternative.
Butane powered grills can be used to heat yakitori on a real flame, without excessive smoke or odour. Butane is a gas, and it provides a nice and clean flame. This is perfect for indoor usage for the real flamed yakitori fans.
If you decide to go for an electrical yakitori grill you must make sure that the device you purchase is suited for the voltage in your country. A substantial part of the yakitori grills on sites like Amazon are imported from Japan (or China), and might require a different voltage than what you are used to. For more information check out the article ‘considerations when buying Japanese appliances’.
Size and location of the yakitori grill
When purchasing a grill it is important that you have an idea of where and with how many people you want to use it. The smallest grills only offer room for heating 4 or 5 yakitori at the same time, which might not be sufficient when you are catering for a big party. You do not want a yakitori grill that is too large either, since it might take up more space on your table top than you wished for. Before purchasing always consider where you want to place your device. If you want to place it on your table top you might consider buying a smaller grill than when you are grilling yakitori in your backyard.
Other things to consider
Even though the most important considerations are already covered, there might be some other things to consider. The grate of the different grills available can vary significantly, and might influence the size of your yakitori, or the position in which you place it on the grate. Despite that, the shape of the grate can influence the effort it takes to remove burned chicken, fat and sauce residue after grilling yakitori all night.