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Hibachi Grilling

The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide To Hibachi Grilling

Hibachi grilling is one of those things people assume is a tough endeavor. I’m here today to break that myth, as Hibachi is easy. You may not perfect the flaming onion on your first try, but with practice, you will be able to launch shrimp into the mouths of your guests.
Almost everyone, at some point, has witnessed a hibachi meal. Flying shrimps, sizzling rice, spinning eggs. The chefs you sit in front of have practiced those moves over and over, but the food they are preparing is actually quite simple.
First, we must prepare our cooking surface. Hibachi is almost always done on a flat top grill. There are flat top grills on the market, some can get very pricey, but there are alternatives if you don’t have one.
My recommendation would be a flat top cast iron griddle. They come in various sizing, and can also be used indoors on the stove top. They can quickly convert your grill into a flat top, and also leave some space to grill on the grates.
Hibachi is about inclusion and fun, those are your main goals. The foods are simple and easy to execute, but the feeling of hibachi is one shared with guests. So have fun, enjoy the new experience.

What do I need?

You don’t need much, but you do need a good amount of prep time. Depending on your menu for the evening you choices for ingredients are unlimited. The staple foods you can find in every hibachi grill are fried rice, grilled meats, and seasonal vegetables.
The first ingredient, rice, is an important one. Grilled fried rice is something else. I have included a technique later in the article for perfect grilled fried rice.
Vegetables are very opened ended. You can stick to standard hibachi choices, onions, bok choy, carrots, broccoli, and zucchini. Or you could mix it up, you are in charge. My wife and I love mushrooms cooked on the hibachi!
The meats are the easy part. If you are using a flat top griddle you can grill the meats on the grates. This will add the grill marks to foods. If you’re worried about some of the smaller meats falling into the flames, feel free to use the flat top.
All of your foods should be prepped to be about bite-sized. Remember most restaurants supply chopsticks for customers. You could take an extra step and buy some chopsticks too, to add some immersion to your party.
You can buy pre-cut meats, or save some money and do the cutting yourself.
You also need confidence. You don’t have to throw a shrimp into anyone’s mouth, but give it a shot. Cooking is about bringing people together to enjoy, let yourself partake in the enjoyment too.

Getting Started

If you have a flat top you are ready to go, just warm it up. If you lack a flat top don’t fret, you don’t have to go out and buy one. I would suggest you invest in a flat top griddle though, they are a very versatile addition to your collection.
Any cast iron can work as a substitute, it may limit your cooking space. Any other pan that can withstand direct flame can also be used. If you lack anything you can use as a flat top you can prepare certain dishes inside.
The first thing you must do is cook the rice. You can preseason your rice, but I advise against it as you season it on the grill. Once the rice is finished you can start the grill.
Now you must think about the order you are going to serve the food. Hibachi restaurants are known for serving food very quickly and keeping you eating throughout the meal. If you plan to serve food all at once you need to start the meats first. If you plan to serve the regular way start everything at once.

Cooking Hibachi

Let’s start with the biggest items first, the meats. The meat selection at your party is a big priority. You want a good selection of meats. Should also marinate them all well. A very simple hibachi style marinade I use is as followed.
Majority Soy Sauce, a splash of sesame oil, juice of one lime, and chili paste. Depending on the food the marination times vary. For shrimps and seafood anywhere above fifteen minutes is enough time. For steaks and chicken, I suggest an hour in the fridge.
Hot Tip
You can tenderize you meats to decrease marination times.
Once your meats are marinated you can start cooking them. For larger items, I recommend grilling them as you normally would. For smaller items, I would say grill them on the flat top, or pan.
The vegetables are going to need a pan or flat top, depending on size. If you are grilling corn on the cob you can grill them the usual way, but any leafy vegetables will need the flat top. Be sure you are utilizing your cooking surface.
The veggies don’t need much prep, just a few cuts to get them into bite sizes. While cooking your veggies you can season with soy sauce right on the grill. I would not season veggies that are not on the flat top while cooking.
Once the veggies are soft they are ready to be served. You can also mix a few into your fried rice, to elevate it a couple notches. Speaking of fried rice, it’s the most important dish of your party. When have you ever seen a hibachi grill not serve a fried rice?

Fried Rice

Fried rice is super easy on a grill. You must use a flat top or a pan! If you don’t have one you need to prepare it on the stove. Depending on the type of rice your want your first step is to whisk a few eggs. It’s about one egg per serving of rice. If you want some egg whites in the mix just crack the eggs directly onto the flat top.
The first recipe is for whisked eggs. Take the required amount of rice and put it on the grill. After the rice gets hot pour on the eggs. Mix together until the eggs are cooked. Pour soy sauce, sesame oil, and rice vinegar. Be moderate with the ingredients, they are all very strong flavors. Once the rice looks good to you, it’s finished.
This recipe is for un-whisked eggs. Crack a few eggs onto the flat top and let the whites cook for a few seconds. Put the rice right on top of the eggs, and mix them together, breaking the yolks. Allow the eggs to cook for a few seconds and then add soy sauce, a splash of sesame oil, and rice vinegar.
Now you have two very easy techniques for making fried rice. These techniques work even on the stove top, so experiment and have fun!

Tips and Tricks to Elevate your Hibachi Party!

When it comes to hibachi you really need to have fun. Don’t go overboard, but do enjoy the new theme. Below are some tips and tricks to help bring your party theme together, so it truly becomes a hibachi grill.
Buy disposable chopsticks. Every hibachi grill serves food with them, you should too. You can buy a huge amount of them for pretty cheap and they really help bring the theme together. You can also display them for people to grab, but that’s another tip.
Serve all your food separately. It may seem counterintuitive to serve your food separately, but that’s how it’s done. Serve your rice first, followed by veggies quickly after. Meats will be served when finished. This keeps everyone eating for longer, and enjoying the food in portions.
Decorate your party! This tip goes for any party, a few well-placed decorations can really bring up the level of any party. I would suggest serving plates matching your theme. I also enjoy a good cutlery table. Since you might be using chopsticks you can display them as a bouquet. Easy to grab and nice to look at.
Research some of the tricks hibachi chefs use regularly. Things like throwing food into guests months, grill pyrotechnics. All great additions to a hibachi party, be safe and do your research!
Keep your food bite-sized! This is the most important tip I can pass along. Hibachi is not made to use forks and knives. Ignoring this tip can turn your hibachi party into a regular cookout. Keeping the food bite-sized will make eating and serving much easier.
Make sure everyone knows that this is a hibachi themed party. People should have some idea of what they’re getting into. Almost everyone loves hibachi, but a surprise party may be much for some people.
The flat top is vital to your party, if you don’t own one I suggest you invest in one. It is a very versatile product and is sure to have multiple uses in your kitchen. Out of all the options on the market, a two-sided cast iron flat top griddle is your best bet. They are very durable and last multiple lifetimes.
You can substitute a flat top griddle with a regular cast iron pan. Both are great lifetime investments. My cast iron was passed down from my Grandmother, and so they make great inheritances to younger cooks in the family.
Plan your prep ahead of time. If you are planning on cutting all your veggies and meat yourself, you are going to need a lot of prep time. So plan accordingly, don’t leave it all for the last minute. Saving everything for last minute can overwhelm you and cause mistakes.
Explore flavors. I’ve included a couple recipes above, but feel free to use your own creations. Below I will include some interesting recipes to impress at your next party.
Be ready to cook for a while. Hibachi may seem quick when you are sitting on the other end of the grill, but to the chef, there is a lot of behind the scene work. Including prep time, and cook time you’re looking at a couple hours. If it’s hot have drinks, and some shade, always be safe!

Recipes to Impress!

If you feel a little overwhelmed or are not familiar with the flavors of hibachi, don’t freak out! Below I’ve included some great hibachi friendly flavors, sure to impress.
Spicy Soy Steak
This recipe is perfect for any steak lover. The marinade is so good that you can get a lesser cut, and bring it up to perfection.
It’s mostly soy sauce, enough to coat the steak. Adding a spicy chili paste to taste. (More spicy more paste, less spicy means less) Add just a few drops of fish sauce. Literally only a few drops. Fish sauce is a very powerful flavor, more than a few drops can destroy your marinade. Allow the steak to sit for at least an hour.
Sesame Chicken
A very straightforward recipe. Marinate the chicken in a mixture of sesame oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, and red miso.
Make sure to create the marinade before adding the chicken, you want everything mixed well. Let the chicken sit for at least an hour.
After grilling sprinkle sesame seeds on top of the chicken to serve.
Garlic Shrimp
A very simple recipe, requiring only four ingredients. Shrimp, oil, garlic, and paprika. You can use either smoked paprika, or regular depending on your taste. Marinate the shrimp in a mixture of all the ingredients and allow at least one hour of rest time.
These shrimps are not spicy but do have a strong garlic flavor. Perfect for any BBQ.


Remember to have fun. Hibachi is about including the guests so plan to have something for them to do. And overall enjoy yourself.