If you like to braai, you’ll love this trendy new way to entertain

All imaged by Claire Gunn.

We’ve been seeing the small, ceramic table-top grills in restaurants all over South Africa. They can be a fun, interactive way to enjoy dinner, and now, thanks to the growing trend, these portable grills are available for use at home. We spoke with Darrin Morrisby of Grills of Japan for a quick introduction.  

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Food24: What is a Japanese grill? 
Darrin: Japanese shichirin (shee-tchee-rin) and Konro grills (made from diatomaceous earth that is millions of years old), are exquisitely designed and crafted. [They’re] portable cooking grills using charcoal as fuel. The Japanese have been cooking food this way for thousands of years and now we can experience for ourselves this exciting new culinary adventure.

japanese grill how to at home

Food24: I really like to braai, will I like the Japanese grill? 
Darrin: We’re hardwired to love gathering around a cooking fire, and no one does that better than the South African braai-nation. But this is way different. It’s a brand new way of dining and entertaining that South Africans will definitely relate to, but haven’t experienced before.

japanese grill how to at home

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Food24: They look great, but aren't they expensive? 
Darrin: This way of entertaining is for everyone, so there’s a grill to suit all pockets and tastes, with prices ranging from R1090 through to over  R15 000. On offer is a wide variety of different shapes, sizes and styles. We’ve been lucky to stock the most sought-after portable hand-built Konro Grills used in Michelin star restaurants – they’re in such demand globally [that] they go really fast, so we can only import them in small quantities. We also have portable shichirin and Hida Konro grills, which are lightweight and fun for the whole family to use. 

japanese grill how to at home

Food24: Can I even cook inside? 
Darrin: For fuel, the Japanese often use highly prized binchotan, a specially processed charcoal that we also offer and allows for indoor grilling, but you can use any kind of charcoal, preferably a natural charcoal made without chemicals.

japanese grill how to at home

Food24: Let’s say I have my new grill. What should I cook first? 
Darrin: The great news is that our grills allow for two styles of grilling. Your favourite vegetables or meats, poultry and seafood [can go] directly on the grill, but it also has the benefit for skewered grilling, by removing the grill and grilling directly over the hot coals. We quite like the South African favorite lamb sosaties when grilling outdoors, but recently grilled a sake-marinated fillet of trout indoors on the grill, [and it] was incredibly delicious and fast. 

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Food24: Is the grill ok for families with kids? 
Darrin: It certainly is – our two kids love the experience of using the grills with us, as they get to be a part of the grilling experience. Our shichirin and Hida Konro grills cater for small to large families easily, as there are a few sizes to choose from.

japanese grill how to at home

Food24: I'm interested! Where can I find out more about the grills? 

Darrin: We have detailed information about all our products on our website, as well as a growing Instagram and Facebook account. Or contact me through our contact page on our website, should you have a question or enquiry.

japanese grill how to at home

This article was not paid for in any way by Grills of Japan, we just like to share new, cool ways to entertain at home. Are you an expert on a different way to cook? We want to hear from you: editor@food24.com.