If you have been shopping for a decent cast iron Hibachi grill, then you know that the price and quality vary wildly. Some grills equivalent to this one in size, material, and design, cost several hundred dollars. Others, only slightly less expensive, are WAY below this...
If you have been shopping for a decent cast iron Hibachi grill, then you know that the price and quality vary wildly. Some grills equivalent to this one in size, material, and design, cost several hundred dollars. Others, only slightly less expensive, are WAY below this one in quality. On the whole, this Hibachi is an excellent value, pretty well-executed (especially for the price) ... and I anticipate it will serve well over time.
That does not make it "perfect," and I have encountered a few minor problems in my first grilling experiences with it.
Let''s start with the "positives:"
All parts of the iron casting seem sufficiently thick that it should last for years -- perhaps decades with moderate use and appropriate care.
The grill was extremely well-packed, in a single molded-polystyrene "cocoon," surrounded by heavy corrugated cardboard. All flaps were securely sealed with packing tape.
The "fire pot" (main kettle-like body) comes in two large parts that fit together well and are easily-assembled with two steel screws, nuts, and lock-washers (provided). I had the whole thing assembled and ready to use in under ten minutes.
A simple cast iron hatch on the front of the fire pot allows access to the coals, even with a fire in progress. (This is great when you need to level the coals out out, to add fresh charcoal, or to allow fine ash to settle out, keeping the fire fresh and hot.)
The distance between the cooking grill (described in the manual as a "net") and the coals is easily adjustable, flat, stable, and substantial. That cooking surface has fixed-length legs as part of the casting on one side, which fit stably into "pockets" in the fire pot to elevate the food. Or, the food grill may be flipped over to rest directly on that fire pot, closer to the coals -- if this is done, food is cooked on the "bottom" of the grill surface, between the grill''s legs (which are then sticking-up).
Unlike many other cast iron Hibachi grills, a second (heavy, cast iron) sliding hatch controls air-flow to the coals. It is simple, substantial, and rests upon an iron shelf, rather than sliding within a stamped, sheet metal frame (which inevitably and quickly rusts-out on some other Hibachi grills).
Now for the "room for improvement" stuff:
The bottom of the fire pot has three legs, not four--two of these three legs are in the front; one is in the rear. This design feature was probably implemented because it immediately makes the grill rest stably on any smooth, hard surface where it is placed, like an old-fashioned farmer''s milking stool; but unfortunately, having only one rear leg takes away from the grill''s lateral stability as the cooking surface is scraped or brushed. Doing so with any force makes the grill wobble a little. Scary. Two rear legs would have been preferable -- or a single, wider leg.
Picking this grill up while it is still hot -- to move it or to empty it -- requires the UTMOST caution, because the handles at each end are cast iron and a part of the fire pot, and therefore stay extremely hot as long as the rest of the grill is so. Because wooden handles (better-insulated and safer) are hard to secure to a cast iron grill, perhaps the manufacturer should consider attaching a strong steel-wire-loop handle instead.
The sliding hatch that controls air flow (mentioned above) did NOT slide smoothly -- it rubbed against the fire pot and a the ridge of the shelf on which it rests. It should have been cast or ground narrower to permit smooth motion. (This is a Q-C issue, I think, rather than a design flaw.)
Finally, we have the (English) directions for assembly, use and care. They are reasonably clear, I guess -- but the writer is clearly not a native speaker of English, and explanations are clumsy or incomplete in places. (For example, we are advised not to over-tighten the screws holding this unit together -- but it might have been more helpful to explain that the screws should only be tightened enough to flatten the split lock-washers.
Like I said, this is an excellent value (considering its price). But (if you have the funds) perhaps you should consider more "premium" products until the manufacturer irons-out some of the "bugs."