5 best Konro grills reviewed & how to use Japanese Charcoal Grills

by Joost Nusselder | Updated on:  June 14, 2020

Today, there is one cooking technique that remains popular with many
people—grilling over an open flame.

This cooking technique continues to be one of the oldest, and also the most common in Japan, just like in the western world.

A traditional Japanese home setting had a family grate in the main room. Here, people could assemble and use the open fire for light and warmth, and other chores like drying clothes as well as cooking.

5 best konro grills reviewed

My favorite Konro set is this Lovt Konro grill. You can get it in different sizes to suit your needs and it looks the part with the wood base and ceramic bowl.

The best part is that they are very affordable. Prices vary depending on what size you want but even the larger one still fits perfectly on your table setting and is still not that expensive actually.

I love the markings on it and it just looks great at my dinner party. You should check out the sizes here.

It’s got that authentic feel to it that’s just great as a conversation starter and totally something different for your tabletop grilling than an electric grill, which I’ve used a long time for parties before the Konro by the way.

Most people in Japan have used charcoal as their main house fuel for the longest time possible.

As a result, this has led to the introduction of charcoal grilling techniques, which have, in turn, introduced different cooking techniques and dishes, which still remain to be popular in modern Japan.

In the past years, different grills have been introduced in Japan. Most of these grills can be used in different settings and situations while preparing grilled foods.

Konro grills are common Japanese gills, which are box-shaped, and compact in design. Most of these grills are either lined with aluminum or ceramic.

You can use a Konro grill for cooking so long as you have binchotan charcoal, even though gas-fueled grills have become very common in the past few years.

Typically, a Konro grill has a slim design, which allows skewered food to be placed on the grill’s top without falling in the grill.

Let’s take a quick look at the top 5 choices:

Model Images
Best authentic Konro grill: Lovt grill set Lovt authentic konro grill
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Best small Konro Grill: Noto Dia Hida wooden base Hida-Konro-Grill-With-Wooden-Base-Net-Screen
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Best Konro mini grill: Tabletop King Black konro grill mini set tabletop king(view more images)
Best Japanese Charcoal grill: Hitachiya BBQ Charcoal Konro Grill Hitachiya-BBQ-Charcoal-Konro-Grill
(view more images)
Best Konro grill for Yakitori: Kinka BBQ Diatomite Charcoal Grill Kinka-BBQ-Diatomite-Charcoal-Grill-konro
(view more images)

Read on for my in-depth review of each of these or go straight to the how to use a Konro grill section:

best Japanese Konro grills reviewed

three assorted barbeques on black grill

Best authentic Konro grill: Lovt grill set

This Konro grill comes in different sizes—extra-large, large, medium, and small. The grill will allow you to enjoy delicious yakitori, as well as other grilled meals on your patio.

With this Japanese-like charcoal grill, you will realize that there is nothing as interesting as yakitori or chicken skewers grilled on charcoal.

One notable thing about this grill is that it uses bichotan (Japanese charcoal), which tends to burn hotter and better compared to usual charcoals.

Therefore, you can use this grill on a table, which means no one should ever miss a picnic or party while tending to the Konro grill.

If you are looking for a grill that will make your food taste great, this is the ideal grill.

One thing you need to note about the charcoal Konro grill with a net is that it’s made out of diatomite bricks. These bricks pass through a factory’s kiln, which makes them stronger, more fire resistant, and tighter.

Because this grill is made out of diatomite, it has exceptional insulation capabilities. This means that the charcoal used in this Konro grill starts fast and burns for a longer period of time compared to other conventional grills.

The grill comes with a cooking net, and a standard grill can serve between 5 to 7 people. When using this product, make sure that you use it in an area with good ventilation.

This is because it uses charcoal, which produces carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous, odorless gas, poisonous to a person’s health. Also, you need to understand that this grill is made with natural clay.

Get your quick start in enjoying Japanese cuisine here with our top recommended tools

Therefore, you might notice some hairline fractures developing on the grill after using it for some time. However, this shouldn’t worry you as it cannot affect the usage of the quality of the grill.

Kaginushi, the maker of the grill, boosts of having skilled workers hand-fitting the grill together. They join together the diatomite bricks to form a grill that is strong and durable.

The product is made to be stronger, tighter and more heat resistant meaning that the heat from the charcoal will only be used for grilling. The diatomite grills used have higher heat insulation capabilities meaning they burn longer than in other cookers.

This grill is made in a way that it has a large grilling area and is fuel efficient. If you are
looking to grill your yakitori cuisines or any other type of dish, then this is the grill for you.

Check out the latest prices here on Amazon

Also read: grills with reversible griddle surfaces for more cooking options

Best small Konro Grill: Noto Dia Hida wooden base

The Hida Konro Grill comes equipped with a wooden base net screen. This is one of the grills that will give you an exceptional grilling and dining experience.

Therefore, if you are looking for such an experience, then look no further.

This grill will bring you all the excitement to your table, as it allows your guests to grill skewers for themselves, or feature sizzling starters for a beautiful presentation.

There is one thing that you need to understand about Konro grills—they are an integral part of the Japanese grilling culture, and they have remained that way for the longest time possible.

In addition, this grill is made out of unique mineral clay composition, which ensures a long-lasting heating and grilling experience.

You can even get a few of these for a party like Cooker’s Paradise did:

The Hinda Konro Grill comes with an elegant washi paper embellishment, cooking net, as well as a wooden base, which helps in protecting your table while you cook.

This Japanese Konro grill will allow you to enjoy the most coveted Japanese grilling secret to your home.

Check prices and availability here

Best Konro mini grill: Tabletop King

You need to treat yourself with a Konro set in this season if you want to enjoy the secrets and experience of Japanese grilling.

The black charcoal Konro grill set is the ideal grilling starter kit for grilling enthusiasts.

The grill set comes equipped with everything that you require to venture into the fantastic Japanese grilling world.

For anyone who hasn’t experienced the advantages of the Japanese binchotan charcoal, then you have the opportunity to experience the difference with this grill.

The Black charcoal Konro grill set comes with a grill net, a pair of tongs, heatproof base, sumi charcoal – 1 pound, and a traditional Japanese konro grill.

The most exciting thing about Sumi charcoal is that it can burn at high temperatures constantly for a long period of time. The charcoal doesn’t have any harmful additives or chemicals, which means it cannot harm your health.

In addition, the Sumi charcoal will highlight the natural flavors in your ingredients, which improves your grilling experience.

It’s the most affordable here on Amazon

Best Japanese Charcoal grill: Hitachiya BBQ Charcoal Konro Grill

This grill from Hitachiya is made with Diatomite Stone meaning its heat retention capabilities are always top notch. The manufacturer uses stripe metals across the grill to make it tougher.

The grill is made to have a great balance between the UV rays and the heat emanating from the charcoal giving you an amazing heat using the grill.

When constructing the grill, the maker passes the diatomite bricks through a furnace of up to 1000 degrees so that the grill will last longer.

If you want the best you can get you should check this one out. Chef Erik Ramirez of the Llama Inn also uses Konro grills like these:

This also ensures that the bricks will retain their thermal insulation capabilities for a long time. The grill has two air ventilation windows which allow for good hit circulation.

Check it out here on Amazon

Best Konro grill for Yakitori: Kinka BBQ Diatomite Charcoal Grill

Kinka has come up with a good BBQ stove that has been designed to give users superior service. This model of a charcoal grill is made with diatomite which is designed to retain the heat so well that the outside will get hot but not too hot to burn.

The grills are made in a way that they will uniformly pass the infrared rays giving you a timely and effective grilling.

The manufacturer carefully desired this grill in a way that it has alkaline coal ash which neutralizes the acid from various food and leaving a mouth-watering aroma.

At just 24 pounds, this grill is easier to set up for an outdoor event, and it has two handles to help move it around.

It’s a great buy, you can get it here

What Makes Konro Grills Famous?

If you ever visit Japan, then you will notice some of these small grills almost in every street. E

specially, when you visit the entertainment area of Osaka, you will notice that almost every restaurant has a Konro grill.

Each of these grills is manned by a skilled operator, who skillfully twists yakitori skewers or other delicious meals.

The Konro grills are not only common in Japan, but also to the west, where they are known as Hibachi grills. However, they are known as Konro or shichirin in Japan.

Well, this might be somehow complicated, but the Konro and shichirin names probably changed when people started using these small fireboxes for cooking instead of heating.

It is said that Hibachi was developed in the 18th century A.D. The primary purpose of these grills was to act as heaters. However, they transformed to become cooking utilities, just like the way we use the modern electric hot plates.

Over time, people discovered that these grills were impressive for cooking yakitori and other food items. That’s the reason why they were renamed or rebranded Shichirin or Konro.

The original material used to make Konro was volcanic diatomaceous earth, a material with natural capacity of dispersing and retaining heat.

Modern Konro grills are long, slender, and with rectangular shapes. As highlighted earlier, these grills are either made of ceramic or firebrick material.

With a decent amount of charcoal, a Konro grill can produce up to 750° C. Since these grills come in a compact shape and sizes, their ceramic or firebrick construction makes them ideal for cooking skews of sliced vegetables or meat.

Since the food is cooked just a few inches away from the charcoal, its juice drips down to the grill, and then it evaporates into a smoky puff of deliciousness. This vapor infuses with the food being grilled.

The grill’s hot temperature is also ideal when it comes to creating crisp caramelized skins on different types of meat.

How Do You Use A Konro Grill?

So, you’ve finally got that Konro grill you’ve always desired to own. Now, you are only a few steps away from enjoying that backyard prepared yakitori and other mouthwatering grilled treats.

When you look at the manual, you realize that they are all in Japanese. However, you don’t have to worry. Here is how you can set up your Konro grill.


When putting the charcoal, you need to make sure that it is enough to cover the bottom of the grill. Putting more than that can lead to excessive flame and heat.

Lighting the Charcoal

If you want to light your thaan, binchotan, or lump charcoal, you need to pile it on and around barbeque fire starter or burning wood—you should not put it underneath.

Once the charcoal is lit, you can proceed to spread it out over the grill’s floor. You can also use a BBQ chimney, which also an excellent tool for lighting your charcoal.

Operating Your Konro Grill

The vents in the Konro grill will assist you to adjust the heat. Opening the vents allows more oxygen to get into the coals, which leads to increased temperature. Closing the vents will reverse the whole process.

Binchotan can burn for an extended period of time. However, if you want to add extra, make sure that you need enough for the bottom of the grill to remain covered.

Once Done

Extinguish the coal in a think iron-cast contain or put them in a bucket full of water. NEVER POUR WATER ON YOUR KONRO TO EXTINGUISH THE FIRE!

This can make your Konro grill to break as a result of rapid change in temperature. Make sure that your Konro has completely cooled before storing it or putting it away.

The following are some basic dos and don’ts for anyone who owns a Konro grill. Following these guidelines can assist you in having a delicious and safe grilling session.

With that said, you might be wondering which is the best Konro grill for you.

However, there are some essential things that you should note before buying a Konro grill.

Some of these things are:

Purpose of the grill

The primary purpose of your grill should be the most important consideration observe when purchasing a Konro grill. Here, the word “important” stands out.

The reason is, there isn’t any general explanation of a Konro grill. The choice you make should be perfect if it meets your needs.

A Konro grill that meets your needs can fail to meet the needs of another person since we all have unique and diverse requirements. Therefore, the grill that you choose should be not be determined by your preferences, but by your requirements.

The size as well as the cooking surface

When buying a Konro grill, it is essential to make sure that you put into consideration the cooking surface as well as the size of the grill.

Mostly, the size of the cooking surface depends on the number of people you need to serve. A minimal number means that you should get a smaller grill, while a larger number translates to a larger grill.

Quality of the grill

Almost every grill is designed to survive extreme weather conditions. That’s the reason why you need to consult some of your friends and relatives before buying a grill since they can advise you on the best grill to get.

The best Konro grill should remain intact regardless of the frequency and time of usage.

Therefore, the quality of your grill is crucial since it has a direct impact on the longevity and sturdiness of the grill. You should make sure that your grill is made out of weatherproof material.

It has been said time and time again that the world has become a global village. As we continue to use technology, we get to interact with people from every corner of the world.

This means that we get to learn of the way of life of different people from different places. It is true that this has brought up a lot of bad vices, but we cannot count out the many benefits that come with interactions with different people.

One industry that has greatly improved because of technology is the BBQ industry. Different people have different ways of barbecuing, but it’s through interactions with different people that we learn the best BBQ tools and methods.

One of the places that have really shaped the modern barbecuing is Japan. With cooking styles such as Teppanyaki and Yakitori, Japan cooking styles and methods are taking over most BBQ setups.

Additionally, Japan is also reshaping modern day BBQ experiences with Grills and Smokers that are becoming quite famous.

One such grill is the Konro Grill. If you are probably hearing it for the first time, worry not, because in this article we will talk everything Konro grill.

From description to some of the best Konro Grills in the market and the recipes you can cook, it’s a complete article. So, sit back and lets us unpack for you this grill.

What is a Konro Grill?

A Konro grill is a compact charcoal grill that is built to help in heat retention. Most are made with a flat grilling surface which is usually made with galvanized iron for easy heating and grilling.

The grill is made two ventilation windows that help in airflow and heat control. The grill is made for easier movements, and this is why we have two handles to help in moving it around. It is also not-that-heavy hence making it very portable.

One of the main reasons why grilling is preferred to other cooking styles is because it adds to the Smokey flavor as well as it is a faster way to cook. Additionally, heat will also reach the deep inside of food because of the high temperatures.

One of the other reasons why we prefer grilling is because it leaves all the succulent juices inside especially when it comes to meat. This means you will have a crispy, golden exterior with an inside retaining the juices.

These are some of the reasons why the Konro Grill was invented.

Konro Bakar Recipe

board of grilled meats

After learning what a Konro Grill is and some of the best Grills you can find in the market, it’s now time for some recipe you can grill on the Konro Charcoal Grill.

We will focus energy to the Konro Bakar Recipe which is grilled beef ribs. The Konro Bakar is a popular dish South East Asian Dish with Indonesia being the main place you can find it. Here is how to go about it:



Grind all the ingredients. sauté them and clove until they become fragrant. Add the beef ribs and let it cook till it turns brownish. Add water and cook till until the meat softens. At this point, add salt or sugar to taste and let it cook over low heat for like 20 minutes. Serve with a side dish of your choice preferably rice.

For those intending to grill, you should follow the procedure and then remove the beef ribs from the soap and grill.

There you go, that’s one of the favorite dishes in Indonesia, and you can recreate that right at your home.

Also read: these are the typical Japanese pancakes


There you go, those are some of the best Konro Grills in the market. We hope that if you didn’t know what a Konro grill is, and if you did, you have probably learned something new.

The grill is made to ensure that heat emitted from the charcoal is well retained and efficiently used. From most of the materials used in the construction of this grill to the way it’s set up, the Konro grill is made to ensure that users get the best from their meals.

This is on top of using as less charcoal as possible. Users are urged to take great care of the grill to avoid causing damages and injuries.

Since the heat emitted from the grill is often high, users are urged to place it on a hard place where it’s unlikely for the adjacent items to get damaged especially the bottom side which gets hot.

One other important point to note is the fact that charcoal emits a dangerous gas in carbon monoxide and users are highly urged to place the Konro grill in a well-ventilated area.

That said, the Konro Grill is one of the most fuel-efficient grills and users are guaranteed good value for money.

It is always recommended that ‘cue lovers use the Bincho-charcoals for these grills. This type of charcoal is famous for lighting up easily as well as its smell.

In fact, the Bincho-charcoals emits a good smell that interacts with your food to give you an intriguing aroma that will attract everyone to your BBQ.

So next time you want a sweet aroma to be another addition to your outdoor kitchen, try this type of charcoals. Moreover, if you are wondering where you will get these charcoals, well worry not.

Some, if not all, of the manufacturers will include the charcoals in the delivery package, but you can ask to be sure that the charcoals are included.

So next time you are planning to have a BBQ, try the countertop grill that uses cleaning burning charcoal that is not very expensive. We hope that you will enjoy using this product.

As you have seen, there are various Japanese Konro grills out there in the market. However, the best grill will ultimately depend on your preference as well as your budget.

In addition, it is important to check on the quality of the grill before buying it—that’s if you want something that will last. Lastly, ensure that you observe all the necessary safety measures while buying and using the grill.

Get your quick start in enjoying Japanese cuisine here with our top recommended tools

Also read: do you know all of these different Japanese noodles yet?

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.