Having one of the best Yakitori grills at your disposal alone won’t guarantee that your skewered chicken will taste authentic. A grill will only get you so far especially when you’re talking about cooking Asian cuisine.
Seasoning, prep work, the quality of the meat –it all goes toward creating an authentic taste. That being said, Yakitori grills will help a lot. They allow you to cook in front of your guests or customers. They allow you to maintain a steady temperature to ensure that the meat still turns out juicy. And, perhaps best of all, they’re small and easy to use for the most part.
6 Best Yakitori Grills - Modern & Traditional Grills
Check out my favorite Yakitori grills and give the buying guide below that a read to decide which one is the best choice for you.
If you want to respect the tradition of Yakitori cooking, a charcoal grill is paramount.
This is why I’ve made this Yakitori charcoal grill from Fire Sense one my top recommendation. It has a 17”x10” cooking surface which is small enough to use to cook at the table.
It also has the classic rectangular shape which maximizes the amount of space you can use to spread out your skewered chicken. On top of that, the grill is made of clay. This is as historically accurate as you can get.
For those less experienced, there’s room for ventilation adjustment. This is useful to either increase or decrease the temperature and make sure that you’re in the 200-to-250-degree range.
The EB-CC15 is an electric indoor grill. It’s not exactly a traditional Yakitori grill by any means, but it is very efficient at grilling chicken at specific temperatures while preventing burning.
As with most electric grills, this one also features a nonstick grill plate. It’s no bigger than 12.5”x9.25”. This means that it’s still small enough to use on a table to up your presentation style. Note that the actual grill is slightly larger than the cooking surface but not by a lot.
Operating the grill is very easy since the handles and the housing remain cool to the touch. Since you’re not dealing with charcoal, you get to set the temperature. It requires less cooking experience to get things done right, which is one of the main reasons I like it.
The grill is not dishwasher-safe as a whole, but can be disassembled with ease. Some parts are dishwasher-safe. All in all, if you don’t want to worry about technique or charcoal fumes in your home, the Zojirushi EB-CC15 is a solid alternative to the classic Yakitori grill.
Here’s another interesting compromise between a traditional Yakitori grill and a compact modern grill. The Weber 741001 is a 22” charcoal grill. It has the classic rounded pit and cooking surface that everyone knows how to use.
What makes it suitable for Yakitori cooking? It’s compact and it uses charcoal. What doesn’t make it Yakitori? It is round and has an enameled charcoal pit.
It’s not that big of a deal really, and I do recommend the 741001 for more than just its ability to hold charcoal and close the lid. The durability of the porcelain-enameled bowl is very impressive. If you’re not the tidiest person in the world, this is about as low-maintenance as you can get.
Sometimes having a forgiving grill is better than being historically accurate. After all, you can even grill chicken over an open fire, so that’s not really the issue. This Weber charcoal grill is also more versatile than a classic Yakitori grill because it also features a lid for smoking or cooking in humid environments.
How does a 16”x12” grilling surface sound? How does not having to inhale charcoal fumes sound? The Elite Platinum EGL-6501 is one of the most efficient indoor grills. I would even go so far as saying that it’s one of the best electric Yakitori grills on the market.
If you’re not cooking for Japanese royalty, showing up at a dinner party with this electric rectangular grill won’t raffle any feathers. The EGL-6501 is a compact grill, ideal for cooking skewered chicken, fish, veggies, and pretty much anything else you want done at a steady temperature and with little smoke.
It also comes with a 1-year warranty, which is always nice, and can reach up to 400 degrees in record time. The temperature is adjustable, so there’s no need to worry about ruining your grilled chicken or about getting it right in terms of feel.
Sure, you’ll lack some taste because there’s no charcoal smoke, but with the right type of seasoning on the meat, the EGL-6501 can fool a lot of people.
If you’re willing to set aside some of the cultural requirements, then this Yakitori grill may be of great use to you. The PartyFairyBox griller is bigger than most, but it still retains the rectangular shape. It’s not the best one to use if you want to cook at the table, but it will help you cook for a large dinner party in record time.
The cooking surface is 32”x8”. The fire pit is 7” tall, which means there’s plenty of room to use charcoal and even some wet wood chips for extra flavoring. You won’t be able to use a Party Griller inside for many reasons, the main being that it’s big and it makes a lot of smoke.
Unlike most Yakitori grills which are made either with clay or ceramic coating, this one is all metal. Stainless steel may give it a commercial-look, but for outdoor cooking this shouldn’t be a problem.
I also like that this Yakitori grill is not only large and perfect for parties but that it also comes with quality grilling utensils like shakers and long 12” tongs. Another cool thing is that you have two grill grates, so you’re not forced to fire up the whole thing if you want to cook a meal for two or three people.
I always enjoy discovering new spins on traditional methods, which is why this Kushi grill struck a chord with me. It uses infrared cooking, which means that it’s slower but also better at separating fat and keeping the air around the grill breathable.
There’s little to no smoke involved when cooking with the Kushi Yakitori grill. It’s electric and it works with any standard 110V outlet.
The cooking surface is roughly 20”x11”. It is slightly big for some tables but not so big that you can’t use it. What’s even better is that now there’s a reason to deliberately make extra room for the grill as the centerpiece. No smoke, no hassle – just the inviting smell of your perfectly seasoned skewered chicken.
The grill is not low-maintenance, but it is easy to take apart and clean. Also, it can reach up to 480 degrees, which is more than enough to grill any kind of meat.
Yakitori grills are perhaps Japan’s most famous compact grills. You see them used in street food carts and in high-end restaurants. But just because the classic grills are supposed to be small and rectangular it doesn’t mean that your compact Yakitori grill needs to pass a Japanese chef’s inspection for cultural accuracy.
This cooking method is synonymous with a specific temperature range, skewered chicken, and white charcoal. But there’s nothing wrong with using a small compact electric grill to do the same thing. At least as far as temperature control goes, you’re better off.
Will it taste the same? Clearly that’s a no. However, since Yakitori is essentially a cooking technique for chicken, the actual grill’s design can differ. So don’t get all caught up in cultural technical details if you want to spare yourself some stress, and some cash.
Now that the charcoal vs. electric debate has been settled, it’s time to discuss why some features are very important, starting with size.
Yakitori grills should be small. Sure, the rectangular shape allows you to maximize the cooking surface, but a compact grill is more important. Why? Because Yakitori is supposed to be cooked and served at the table.
If you want to maintain some authenticity, this is one of the simplest ways to do it. So don’t worry about not being able to put 15 skewers on the grill. Focus on presentation first. This also means that you won’t have to pay too much for this kind of grill.
Let’s talk about the heat for a moment. Yakitori cooking implies cooking the chicken at a specific temperature range between 200 and 250 degrees. Traditional grills of this type have either a ceramic or a clay mold interior to hold the white charcoal.
Clay is considered more culturally accurate. However, a ceramic coated grill does a better job at maintaining a constant temperature. Of course, this is only important if you do get a non-electric grill.
Don’t Be Afraid to Experiment
Since Yakitori roughly translates to grilled chicken, a lot of indoor western grills can pass as Yakitori grills. As you can see from my list, sometimes the shape and temperature control are enough to give you what you need.
Sure, my number one pick is the most historically accurate modern grill for home use. But that doesn’t mean that every other product listed doesn’t have its own impressive list of features and areas in which it excels.
Whether you’re a sucker for that charcoal flavor or you just want the convenience of an electric grill when skewering chicken for 20 people, don’t be quick to dismiss infrared cooking as a viable alternative. It may very well surprise you.
Peggy loves spending her free time visiting new restaurants, tasting new cuisines, and trying to replicate some of those incredibly tasty dishes in her own kitchen.