Whether you’re a native Japanese or a gaijin (外人 – a foreigner) who’s been living in Japan as an expat, or a gaijin who is just a visiting tourist, you will have most likely encountered dozens of exquisite Japanese dishes. Living in Japan for a long time or coming back to visit several more times means that you must have had come across amazing teppanyaki recipes and probably enjoyed them as well.
Apparently the more you go to teppanyaki restaurants and Japanese food establishments to relish your insatiable appetite, the more you also want to imitate what the chef does. And to add fuel to the temptation that’s already been building up there are hundreds of thousands of blogs and websites that teach people how to cook teppanyaki recipes too!
So if you put two and two together, then the eventual outcome is that you’re going to want to cook teppanyaki recipes for yourself, your family, friends, and guests to show off your skills. Of course, the tools and materials needed to build your own teppanyaki iron griddle are easily accessible. The only thing that stands in your way from accomplishing this goal of building your own teppanyaki iron griddle kitchen table top are your financial resources and making the decision to push through with the plan.
However, before you follow through with your plans to build your own teppanyaki hibachi grill, let us first determine what a teppanyaki grill is, what a hibachi is and what your options are.
What is a Teppanyaki Grill?
A teppanyaki iron griddle is the large rectangular iron or stainless steel cooktop invented by the Japanese right after World War 2. All foods that are cooked on this grill are fried or stir-fried and one of the big difference between it and other cookware is that you can cook multiple ingredients on its surface at the same time, which cuts the cooking time in half.
The original purpose of the teppanyaki iron griddle was to entertain guest foreigners with snappy cooking tactics of the Japanese chef and his witty antics as well as his slapstick comedic acts. Today, however, teppanyaki chefs are more challenged by treating customers to new and ever invigorating recipes that will tickle their taste receptors and make them come back for more!
Normally a teppanyaki iron griddle is fueled by propane gas, but there are cases where it is fueled by charcoal.
The hibachi (火鉢) which is translated as “fire bowl” is a traditional Japanese heating device. It is made of a round, cylindrical, or a box-shaped, open-topped container, made from or lined with a heatproof material and designed to hold burning charcoal. Back in the Edo Period 200 years ago the hibachi was only used as a heating device by the wealthy merchants and aristocrats; however, the commoners soon found it useful as a device for grilling foods also. Ever since that time the hibachi is now known as a small lightweight charcoal grill.
A Teppanyaki Hibachi Grill Combo
If you are keen on using charcoal to get cheaper fuel for your teppanyaki iron grill, then utilizing a box-shaped design hibachi to give heat to the iron griddle would be a good idea. Anyone who has been around the kitchen long enough knows the difference in taste when it comes to cooking food using propane gas and charcoal. Food that passes through the heat of charcoal fire tastes a lot better than food that is heated with propane gas or wood pellets.
So creating a teppanyaki hibachi grill combo is the best way to go about it! Having said that, you’ll most likely end up with having two options. And those are, option 1) purchase a teppanyaki grill from a supplier and have it installed in your kitchen, or option 2) do it yourself from scratch.
Have a Teppanyaki Iron Griddle Installed in Your Kitchen (Option 1)
With this option you won’t have to worry about doing all the heavy lifting as a professional installation team/company like Houzz will take care of all the planning and execution of the project. Although they may need to coordinate with you on the specifics of the design (i.e. where the teppanyaki grill should be located, grill design ideas, etc.). You’ll only need to be prepared to subsidize the project, but don’t worry about whether or not you can afford it because these companies usually give you a quote of the price for the installation job.
Step 1: Research for Good Teppanyaki Hibachi Grills Online
There are not a lot of suppliers or manufacturers that sell a teppanyaki hibachi combo grill, so for this one, you may have to ask them to do it custom made for you, which may cost more than the standard installation jobs they offer. A built-in teppanyaki iron griddle on your kitchen countertop is both impressive and very practical as it will allow you to cook multiple dishes at the same time, of course, you’ll need an extra hand to actually accomplish this. A person can only do so much with his/her two hands. Find a manufacturer who will agree to build you a custom-made teppanyaki hibachi grill and hire the one that will offer the lowest price for good quality work.
Step 2: Contact Supplier
Contact at least 10 suppliers or manufacturers and make a list of the questions you want to ask them. Check out their background, previous work, customer satisfaction, work quality, and pricing. Once you have all the information you need from them, then you may narrow down your choices by comparing their services. Hire the best company that will meet all your demands for a reasonable price.
Step 3: Consultations and Quotes
You may try calling their customer relations department to talk about the custom-built teppanyaki hibachi iron griddle, but you can also make an appointment to meet with one of their representatives, so you can make an in-depth discussion with them about your ideas. After that get a price quote for the item that you want them to install in your kitchen. It’s common sense to go for the cheapest services that a company offers; however, you need to balance the quality of work done also. If it will not hurt to spend a few extra bucks for the high-quality teppanyaki grill that you want, then it should be alright to spend some money on something good.
Step 4: Make the Purchase
Once you’ve made a decision, then check your bank account and wire the payment to the supplier and complete your purchase. They should then give you a few days notice before they’ll start the installation process. You’ll also need to be present on the scheduled date of the installation, or leave a representative in your house to welcome the installation team.
Step 5: Installation
There’s pretty much very little for you to do during installation of your custom-built teppanyaki hibachi grill, and all you have to do is guide the installation team around your house, show them where the kitchen is and entertain them a little bit with some small talk. They should be super professional in their work, so you can expect them to finish up sooner than the number of hours they’ve initially declared, and they’ll do the job discreetly so as not to disturb your daily routine. Once done, they should show you how the grill works by doing a few tests and then afterward they’ll leave thank you for your hospitality.
DIY Teppanyaki Hibachi Grill for Your Kitchen (Option 2)
This option is much harder than the first one, or maybe better depending on how you look at it. On the one hand building things from scratch takes a lot more time, effort and resources, while on the other you’ll get to build your own teppanyaki hibachi grill right down to the minute details, which gives it some sentimental value too.
The whole idea of a do-it-yourself (DIY) project such as this one is cut down on the total cost of buying or having a custom made teppanyaki hibachi grill from a certain manufacturer or company. So let us check and see if that can be achieved in your situation.
Step 1: Determine the Costs
Homemade or DIY projects are all about cost-cutting and if the bill comes out higher than the projected estimates or the price tag of a teppanyaki grill in the market, then it isn’t even worth risking your money for. You’ll be better off just scrapping the whole thing, but I think using a hibachi to fire up your teppanyaki grill should cost less to build than to buy one. A teppanyaki iron griddle (the ones that are gas fed not by charcoal in a hibachi) costs between $700 – $3,000 or higher. If you already have the tools necessary to build a homemade teppanyaki hibachi grill, then you’re in luck because that would already cut the materials cost in half.
This huge hibachi grill table cost $3,000 on eBay and it already has a teppanyaki grill on top too! This is the kind of teppanyaki hibachi grill that you’ll want to build for yourself and with the right tools and materials, you can absolutely build something like it. A flat stainless steel or cast iron about 400mm x 300mm and 0.5mm thick cost around $10, while stainless steel rods for support 0.125-inch x 12-inch cost $5 apiece, and a small oiled or black painted erw welded square and rectangle steel tube for support frame 10 x 10mm-600 x 600mm cost $15 – $20 each. If you have your own welding tools and other tools needed for the job, then that’s good, or you can just rent them too as an alternate option.
You’ll most probably need only 1 – 5 pieces of each of the items mentioned as you’re only building one teppanyaki hibachi grill, so you’ll not spend that much for these materials. The hibachi part of this contraption will be made out of the melted diatomaceous earth, insulating materials and wood coverings on the external part. Remember to list down the specifications and dimensions of the teppanyaki hibachi grill you want for your kitchen, so it will only occupy an ideal space there.
Step 2: Check to See if You Need to Hire a Professional, or You Can Do it on Your Own
Okay, since we’ve covered enough about the materials costs, it’s time to see if you’ve got the skills to do some “dirty” work. It’s not the dirty metaphor, but the literal dirty work of welding all of the pieces of this thing together, because you will get dirt on your hands and probably other parts of your body.
However, it shouldn’t be anything that a mechanic overall can’t handle. But even if you have less than average skills in carpentry, woodworking or welding you should still be able to pull this off. There are a lot of YouTube videos that will walk you through in building anything and it will even make you look like a professional yourself, even though this is the first time you’ve done something like this.
Of course, your determination is only as good as your faith in own yourself, so if you really feel that you can’t do it, then just hire a professional to do it for you. Still, it wouldn’t be as fulfilling as when you’ll do it yourself and you’ll miss all the fun in learning new things that you’ve never learned before.
Step 3: Buy the Materials/Hire a Professional
So far we’ve already determined the specific design for your built-in teppanyaki hibachi grill and the materials cost and other important information about this DIY project. And now you may go ahead and decide to purchase the materials, or hire a professional (as a secondary option) in case you’re not interested in doing the hard labor yourself. Acquiring the materials you’ll need should be relatively easy and also the above initial price assessment should keep your expenses to less than $2,000, which will save you $1,000 or more compared to purchasing a teppanyaki hibachi grill in the market.
Step 4: Build it
Now that you have the materials needed to build your own teppanyaki hibachi grill, then it’s time to start the project. You may refer to this video and hundreds of other DIY videos on YouTube about homemade teppanyaki hibachi grills. So what you’ll need to do first is to start building the hibachi part of the grill and you may want to rent a kiln in order to have your hibachi molded. There should be a time sharing kiln near you and all you have to do is contact them and set a schedule for you to mold the melted diatomaceous earth into a square box or cylindrical design. Once you’re done, bring your hibachi mold back home or to your garage and start working on the lining of the insulation materials, then finish it with the wood covers.
After working on the hibachi part of your grill, then work your way up and build the teppanyaki grill section as well as the table countertop. Weld all the metal pieces together and fit the completed teppanyaki grill set to the countertop. You can choose marble, glass or wood to make the countertop and set the grill right in the middle of the table and directly above the hibachi. Make sure that you’ve placed a door on one side of the hibachi or design the grill to come off so you can fill the inner section of the hibachi with coal. With all the components set in place, you should be able to finish your homemade teppanyaki hibachi grill in at least two weeks time.
Step 5: Test it for Efficiency and Safety
Since you build this grill by yourself and you’re not accredited by any authority on grill and fire safety, it may be best to consult with your local fire department as well as a teppanyaki hibachi supplier, so they can make an assessment of it. Invite them over to your house and prepare something for them to eat – this will be the perfect opportunity for you to use the teppanayki hibachi grill and test it for safety and efficiency at the same time. Technically, since the whole cooktop has very basic elements to it, you don’t really have to worry about safety as it’s just a simple design grill. Gas fed grills are the ones that needs a lot of safety checks and drills.
Step 6: Study the Maintenance and Repair
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how to fix your own teppanyaki hibachi grill, especially since you’re the one who built it. But just to make sure that you’ll be able to retrace your steps in the future, you may want to film yourself while building it, so you’ll know which parts goes where. This article about cleaning and maintenance of the teppanyaki grill should come in handy for each time you use it.