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.
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.
Nothing tastes quite like charcoal grilled chicken skewers or yakitori. Now you can make delicious yakitori and other grilled dishes on your patio tabletop with this convenient Japanese style charcoal grill. With decent quality lump charcoal or Binchotan a Konro produces a very hot source of heat (750°C). The compact size and shape and the firebrick/ceramic construction makes these grills perfect for cooking skews of meat or sliced vegetables. The food is inches away from the charcoal and the juice that drips down is instantly evaporated into a smoky cloud of deliciousness that infuses with the food on the grill. The hot temperature is also perfect for creating crisp caramelised skins on chicken and other meats. Makes food taste great!