Marsh Allen cast iron hibachi grill
- Type: charcoal
- Grill size: 3.4 x 18.75 x 10.62 inches
- Cooking surface: 157 sq. inch
- Handles: yes
- Adjustable vents: yes
- Adjustable cooking grills
- Material: cast iron
- Drip tray: no
Not a fan of heavy diatomaceous earth grills? No problem, as the Marsh Allen is the perfect portable cast iron hibachi for home use and camping. It’s fully portable and lightweight (16 pounds), so you can use it as your favorite outdoor grill.
The hibachi has more than 150 square inches of cooking space, which means there’s plenty of room to make meat and vegetables at once.
The wooden handles are an excellent addition since they make it easier to adjust the grill plate and keep you safe. But the handles are also the worst feature of this affordable grill. They’re rather flimsy and some customers complained that they fell off after a while.
Also, assembling this grill can be tricky since it’s heavy. Additionally, some of the components seem a bit cheap because the paint may start chipping after you use it. This doesn’t take away from the functionality though.
This grill features adjustable cooking grids that can be positioned anywhere and help you quickly and efficiently cook your meals. This means you have better control over the cooking temperature, even though you’re using charcoal.
In fact, this is the main feature: you can divide the grill into 2 halves. Each half’s height can be adjusted separately. You can move the grilling surface from below the charcoal to above them in 3 different intervals by using the adjustment bracket.
This is ideal if you need to use the large 157-square-inch cooking area to cook 2 types of food at different temperatures. For example, you might want to cook fish at a lower temperature than beef.
Also, another helpful feature is the 2 adjustable air vents that assist in controlling the rate at which the charcoal burns. This control, combined with the fact that you can move the grill grates, makes this grill much easier to work with when compared to a hibachi like the Fire Sense, which has fixed grill grates.
For beginners, this is much easier to use and probably more practical.
Finally, this inexpensive hibachi also has some interesting design details. The upward curved sides actually help keep the food in place as you cook.
Hitachiya vs Marsh Allen
Here are 2 opposing options: the Hitachiya is an expensive and traditional real diatomaceous earth hibachi, whereas the Marsh Allen is a budget cast iron camping-style grill.
You have to choose between an authentic dining experience with the Hitachiya or convenience with the light and portable Marsh Allen grill.
The Hitachiya has a larger cooking surface and better temperature control features with the vents. However, the grill mesh is fixed and can’t be moved up or down, or adjusted at all.
If you’re a grilling beginner, it’s easier to use the iron hibachi because you can move the grate up or down so your food won’t get burned and overcooked.
With the ceramic hibachis, the Binchotan charcoal gets really hot and there’s not much you can do besides use the vents.
Another difference is the portability factor. The lightweight cast iron Marsh Allen grill is very easy to move around and you can use it for outdoor cooking almost anywhere. There are wooden handles you can use to maneuver the cooker, even when it’s hot.
You can’t move the diatomaceous earth grill around while it’s hot because it’s much more fragile and also a fire hazard.
Just be aware that compared to the Hitachiya, the components of the camping grill are much flimsier because they’re a lot cheaper.
The bottom line is that if you want the real deal, the Japanese grill is your best option. But if you’re after a simple, cheap grill to try out, start off with Marsh Allen and you won’t be disappointed.
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.