This is a text overlay image of the original work Fanning the smoke of the konro grill at Momofuku Ko by Lou Stejskal on Flickr under cc.
We’re all so preoccupied with modern technology and the high-tech addiction that we forgot how old school stuff made most of the things we relied on every day great.
Take for instance the binchotan grill. It’s an old Japanese open flame grill that most Japanese folks still use to this day.
Actually, it’s not just the Japanese people that use binchotan grills, but the rest of the world as well.
It has been unanimously agreed by almost anyone who tastes the food cooked from binchotan grills that the binchotan charcoal cooks the most delicious BBQ recipes, which is why the binchotan charcoal is also exported to other countries.
Yes, the demand for it is very high! The very best is this Kaginushi Japanese Konro grill for Binchotan charcoal. It’s built to withstand the heat generated with Binchotan and is very durable.
Here is chef Erik Ramirez from Llama Inn explaining his choice for Binchotan charcoal on a Konro grill like this one:
As I’ve stated before any high-quality open flame grill can be considered a good binchotan grill as long as you’ll use the binchotan charcoal to fuel it.
Binchotan grilling is, therefore, most affected by using the right Binchotan charcoal, like this Ippinka Kishu Select grade binchotan charcoal, which is not the most expensive one you can get but is more than enough for home or small restaurant grilling.
Having said that, you must select the best quality BBQ grill brands that are made from melted diatomaceous earth, cast iron or stainless steel, because the charcoal can reach quite high temperatures and it might damage or melt the metal of the grill.
Let’s take a quick look at some of the best grills and charcoal you can get, and later in the post, I’ll review them more in-depth:
|Best authentic binchotan grill: Kaginushi charcoal|
|Best tabletop binchotan grill: Fire Sense|
|Best portable binchotan: Isumer foldable camping grill|
|Best round binchotan grill: Campers Collection|
|Most durable binchotan: Lodge cast-iron grill|
|Cheap binchotan: Uten outdoor grill|
|Best crafted binchotan: The bincho grill|
|Best binchotan charcoal: Ippinka Kishu select grade|
|Professional grade binchotan charcoal: MTC white Hosomaru|
What are the best Binchotan grills?
With that in mind here are some open flame grills that I would recommend you use if you plan to use binchotan charcoal in your grilling endeavors.
Best authentic binchotan grill: Kaginushi charcoal
This brick konro grill from Kaginushi is similar to the first open flame grill that we’ve just discussed, except it’s made from keisodo brick and is brick pasted also.
It features 2 rectangular air vents that allows you to control the airflow in a rather simple way, where you only need to open and close the lids of the vents.
This konro grill also features an aluminum wire mesh that serves as a grill grate where you can lay the food on and the binchotan charcoal will sear them safely at about 8 inches below.
The brick is strong enough to withstand the scorching temperatures of the binchotan charcoal, because it is the same material that pitmasters also use when constructing their large BBQ pits.
Make great pork and beef BBQ steaks, yakitori and yakiniku recipes in this konro grill every day and lavish in the excellent taste that the binchotan gives your food.
You can buy the Kaginushi Japanese Binchotan Charcoal BBQ Konro Grill here on Amazon
Best tabletop binchotan grill: Fire Sense
Fire Sense is a premiere BBQ grill and grilling accessories distributor in the United States and in the international arena.
This yakitori charcoal grill which is at the forefront of their products on Amazon and other local department stores is one of the best handmade clay grills in circulation.
Keep in mind that this yakitori grill, in particular, is made of clay and not with the more durable melted diatomaceous earth, therefore you should only use aramaru binchotan in order not to exceed acceptable temperature levels; otherwise, this grill will disintegrate from extreme heat.
Like the Kaginushi Konro Grill that we’ve previously talked about the Fire Sense Yakitori Grill also has an adjustable air ventilation system to pump or restrict air going in and out of the grill.
This means that you can increase or decrease the binchotan charcoal’s temperature by adjusting the lids of the air vents.
This one is actually very high on my list for the best Yakitori grills as well.
Fancy a chicken yakitori recipe lately?
Try it with this Fire Sense Yakitori Grill and see just how the binchotan charcoal will unlock the exuberant flavors in your chicken as you’ve never tasted them before!
Whether it’s the chicken meatball yakitori, soy-glazed chicken yakitori or the chicken and leek yakitori recipe, this yakitori grill from Fire Sense will elevate these dishes to a level you’ve never experienced before.
Get this Fire Sense Yakitori Grill on Amazon and start cooking your favorite BBQ cuisines now!
Best portable binchotan: Isumer foldable camping grill
The neophyte online store in Amazon, ISUMER, impresses people with their stainless steel portable barbecue charcoal grill.
This grill has 4 legs that you can easily attach and re-assemble and disassemble in just a few minutes.
It’s ideal for everything from camping and backpacking to the opposite and start grilling in small confined spaces.
The stainless steel material means that it can handle the heat put out by the notorious binchotan charcoal (aramaru only).
The stainless steel material which the BBQ grill is constructed from is abrasive and rust-resistant. The metal plates are also made of 24 gauge stainless steel and therefore will not be easily bent or twist when pressure is applied.
The grill is easy to assemble and easy to clean. Plus you can adjust its legs to a certain height even on rugged terrain to keep the grill horizontally aligned.
It has four air vents on either side to allow airflow smoothly and control the heat from the charcoal while you’re grilling your favorite meals.
Grill delicious recipes anytime anywhere with the ISUMER Portable BBQ Charcoal Grill!
Best round binchotan grill: Campers Collection
Here’s a simple cylindrical traditional Japanese charcoal stove from Campers Collection.
This grill is also made from melted diatomaceous earth which is a great material for insulating heat, meaning the binchotan charcoal will burn heat at its maximum efficiency with this kind of grill.
More heat means better tasting food and your chicken skewers, beef steaks and BBQ shrimps will squeeze all their juices in your mouth with every bite you make.
This charcoal grill has only one air ventilation and you merely have to slide the lid to open or close it (this controls the airflow).
Use the aramaru or kishu white binchotan charcoal in this grill and expect the best results with all your recipes.
The simplistic design and lightweight attributes of this grill make a perfect choice for anyone who wants to try grilling food with binchotan charcoal.
You can grill a variety of BBQ recipes on this grill and enjoy the great taste of every cuisine you’ll prepare.
Check out the Campers collection charcoal binchotan stove here on amazon
Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Hibachi-Style Grill
When in doubt use a cast iron grill to handle the intense heat of the binchotan charcoal.
Lodge is a major producer of cast iron products and their Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Hibachi-Style Grill does not disappoint!
From a distance you can just see how this grill screams “quality” with its rugged design and almost an inch-thick metal cast will easily win your confidence.
You can be sure that this grill is design to play it tough in the kitchen and elsewhere and will make your grilling endeavors an adventure and not just an average every day experience.
Although it steers away from the traditional shichirin and hibachi grills in Japan, it does deliver and gets the job done.
So go ahead and go crazy with grilling your favorite foods and impress your family and friends also with the Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Hibachi-Style Grill!
Cheap binchotan: Uten outdoor grill
Here’s another lightweight and portable grill that you can take anywhere with you. The grill is perfect for camping, parks, picnics, tailgate parties, backpacking, camping, trailers, and grilling in small spaces.
Made from cold-rolled iron with 24 gauge thickness welded steel plates and premium chrome wire mesh, this grill is both heat and scratch-proof.
You can definitely use binchotan charcoal as fuel for grilling food with this grill from Uten.
Grill anything anytime from vegetables, seafood, red meat, white meat, kebabs and other recipes!
The legs of this grill can be easily folded for easy carry and storage. The parts come off easily too in case you need to clean and do maintenance on it.
The Uten Portable Lightweight Simple Charcoal Grill has a whopping 12 airway ventilation system that ensures the charcoal in the fuel compartment gets enough oxygen to burn hot!
This means that you can control the temperature of the grill with minute accuracy that it almost makes this grill as a machine-assisted device and not a manual one.
Best crafted binchotan: The bincho grill
If you’re new to grilling, then I recommend that you start with a melted diatomaceous earth original open flame Japanese binchotan grill.
This is how the ancient Japanese pitmasters did it and it should only be proper to follow in their footsteps and pay homage to their grilling style.
The bincho grill just made it really modern in a very well crafted bincho grill.
It comes with stainless-steel double wall encasing where you will place the binchotan charcoal in, but be sure to only use aramaru and kishu white binchotan charcoal or else you will accidentally melt the encasing.
Prepare great BBQ recipes with the Bincho Grill while using Japanese binchotan charcoal to sear food on it. Enjoy the delicious flavors every time you serve BBQ meals to your guests!
Binchō-tan (in Kanji: 備長炭), colloquially binchō-zumi and also known as white charcoal, is a type of charcoal used in a lot of traditional Japanese cooking.
The special charcoal can be traced back to the craftsman Bichū-ya Chōzaemon when he, during the Genroku era in the Edo period, experimented with it in his kiln in Tanabe, Wakayama.
The Japanese produce their binchotan from the oak tree where a unique oak species that grow in Japan is called ubame oak (Quercus Phillyraeoides). Incidentally, the ubame oak has also become the official tree of the Wakayama Prefecture!
To this day Wakayama remains one of the top binchotan producers in Japan and the small town of Minabe is said to be producing high-quality charcoal that is being sold locally and is also exported worldwide.
Best binchotan charcoal: Ippinka Kishu select grade
The best I’ve found is to use this Ippinka Kishu Binchotan charcoal.
The bag is divided into two parts of Binchotan charcoal. This is because one is better for starting the fire and the other to keep a consistent flame.
- Kirimaru binchotan charcoal is thicker charcoal which won’t split easily and is perfect for a consistent flame and long-lasting heat
- Kowari binchotan charcoal is a lot thinner and will split open to make fire starting a lot easier
Combining both of them will give you the perfect way of using charcoal for Japanese grilling.
This charcoal is reusable, that is if you properly store and use it. Once opened you can best put it in a sealed container to keep moisture out.
Professional grade binchotan charcoal: MTC white Hosomaru
The other is this restaurant-grade binchotan charcoal which is great for maintaining your heat. It is however only available in these big bags here.
Why Japanese Chefs Prefer Binchotan Grills
Any charcoal grill can be considered as a binchotan grill because it is not the grill that cooks the food well and gives it its amazing flavors but the type of charcoal fuel you’ll use.
People who have tried food cooked with binchotan charcoal all agree that it is THE undisputed natural fuel that brings out the best in any food you cook it with.
Binchotan burns cleanly with high steady heat and the alkalized ashes are said to neutralize protein acids and other undesirable acidic products during cooking.
Binchotan charcoal produces enough far-infrared radiation to burn the outside of any food to a crisp, thus sealing and enhancing their flavors while they are seared on the grill.
Ubame oak wood makes the best binchotan charcoal and its highly dense property allows it to burn for about 3 – 5 hours depending on the thickness of each piece.
Grilling food requires a gentle touch and finesse because it’s very easy to ruin the taste of the food with just some slight miscalculations with the heat.
The number one thing that ruins the food or meat when you grill food is the grease from the meat dripping down on the charcoal.
Grease mixed with charcoal smoke going up to the meat will ruin the taste of the food the longer you keep it on the grill.
This does not happen with binchotan charcoal though, because as I’ve mentioned before it has high heat output compared to other charcoal fuels.
You can then set up the grill where you’ll place the binchotan charcoal around the edges of the grill and keep the food in the center so that the grease will not mix with the charcoal.
But you can also ignore this setup as binchotan does not produce any flames or smoke and it will not matter even if grease will drip on the charcoal.
Japanese Grilling 101: First Master the Heat
According to Korin, there are 10 different kinds of binchotan charcoal and their peak temperature also varies with each kind.
The regular binchotan charcoal (aramaru and kishu white) burns roughly between 1,652 and 1,832 °Celsius, while the white binchotan (kamitosa) can reach temperatures as high as 2,200°Celsius!
This rare Japanese charcoal has been known to melt stainless steel at its hottest temperature, which suggests that anyone who wants to cook using it needs to master controlling the heat it can dish out first.
You may want to use a charcoal chimney starter to light your binchotan charcoal because they can be difficult to ignite.
When grilling food like chicken BBQ or beef steak or pork chop BBQ in a robata grill, for example, you will need to turn the sides occasionally in order to cook it.
If you want to reduce the temperature of the charcoal, just sprinkle it with water. Inversely, you can toss rock salt on it to increase the temperature as well.
Binchotan charcoal burns extremely hot, in fact, it is the only wood fuel that is known to melt steel, so unless you have a BBQ pit and are planning to roast whole slabs of meat, then I suggest that you only use the aramaru binchotan and reserve the kamitosa for larger BBQ pits.