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KONRO GRILLS

Traditional Japanese Grilling

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If you have ever travelled to Japan, you would have seen one of these small BBQs on just about every street corner. Particularly as you walk around the entertainment quarter of Osaka (Dontonbori near Namba station) you will find a konro at almost every restaurant with an expert operator twisting Yakitori skewers or some other delicious morsels.

The Konro is probably better known in the west as a Hibachi grill, but in Japan it is called shichirin or konro. It’s a bit complicated, but the shichirin and konro names probably evolved when these small clay or ceramic fire boxes started getting used for cooking instead of just heating.

Hibachi were originally developed in around the 8thcentury A.D. and their original purpose was to act as a small room heater. My guess is that they became a poor man’s Kamado or cooking range, like those cheap electric hot plates are today. Over time it was discovered that they were great for cooking Yakitori and other smaller food items and so they were rebranded or renamed Konro or Shichirin.

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The Konro Grill Range

The Grills

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Compact, Simple & Versatile

The Konro grills from Japan are the best thing to use when grilling meats, fish or vegetables. Recommended to use with Binchotan charcoal due to its long burning properties and its ability to seal in natural flavours without imparting any other aromas.

The Konro grills are made with a special insulating material that helps reflect heat back into the grill thus making the temperatures more consistent. A simple design with black metal corners and an air vent to control temperature.

This is a compact and simple charcoal grill that is made with diatomaceous earth, which is a natural material that optimises heat retention. Stacked piles of diatomite bricks move along a conveyor belt on their slow journey through the factory's long kiln. Afterwards, a workman hits each fired piece with a hammer to judge by its sound whether there are any cracks within. Whereas some makers join bricks with mortar to form their cooking grills, at Kaginushi the workmen use carpentry skills to fit each unit together meticulously by hand, for a stronger, tighter, more fire- resistant product. Because diatomite grills have superior heat-insulation properties, charcoal used in them starts easily and burns longer than in conventional cookers.

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What the Professionals say

Japanese Konro Grill

The only way to cook my lobster tail on Great British Menu was to use the Japanese Konro Grill from Sousvide Tools. Achieving that gentle, smokey flavour which so many other bbq’s fail to get right.

Luke Selby I Hide Above

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