Grilling, Japanese Style

No summer is complete without barbeque, and in Japan this tradition is the same as anywhere. Here at the home of the JLR, we recently purchased a Big Green Egg, which is designed after traditional Japanese furnaces or kamado. The first time we saw one, my wife was amazed when she realized it was designed like a kamado, so eventually we bought one a year later when we could afford it.1 The Egg is shown here:

Big Green Egg

We love using it, and started to grill things like yakitori and grilled corn:

Yakitori 2

Yakitori (焼きι³₯), or skewered chicken, comes in two varities usually: grilled with just salt and pepper, or grilled with yakitori sauce (vaguely like teriyaki sauce). My wife made both versions. For the corn, it was a simple matter of grilling it long and slow on the Egg. Even though the outer leaves are blackened, the corn inside is really tasty, and you can just add salted butter on it once done. Here’s the finished product:

Corn and Barbecue

We also grilled red peppers too. It’s good to grill them until black, because the sugar in the peppers will caramelize, while the black skin outside can be easily peeled off. If it’s not black, you didn’t cook it enough. Sometimes I also grill vegetarian burgers too1 but they cook differently than regular burgers and I haven’t figured out how to do it well without burning them. If the right vegetarian burger is grilled correctly, they are quite good though. πŸ™‚

Barbecuing in Japan is usually not done in one’s backyard for safety and practical reasons. Afterall, houses are much too close together, space is limited, and it can be a fire hazard unless you live in the countryside. Instead, people might organize outings at the local park, riverside or other outdoor areas and invite friends and family. Either way, grilling is a great hobby anywhere during the summer, and a nice chance to enjoy good weather, family and friends. πŸ™‚

Happy Summer everyone!

P.S. Pro-tip: to keep the bamboo skewers from burning and breaking, soak them in water 30 minutes before you start.

P.P.S. In the last photo, you can see a pair children’s chopsticks. My daughter upgraded to a more advanced pair recently from the one’s mentioned in this post. They are similar to the pair shown here, though different brand. My wife’s parents sent them of course. πŸ™‚

1 “All good things come to those who wait,” as the old proverb goes. πŸ™‚ Though this blog likes to focus on Japanese and Buddhist bits of wisdom, I also appreciate the wisdom of my own European ancestry too.

2 I am not vegetarian, but I do try to eat more vegetarian meals. Eating less meat in general is a good habit to develop in general for a variety of practical, ethical, health and religious reasons. I first got the idea from my wife’s parents (who like many older-generation Japanese just don’t eat much meat).


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

4 thoughts on “Grilling, Japanese Style”

  1. Hoe nice! What kind of energy does this machine use ? Gas or electricity ? I use hot plate at wooddeck in my garden. It needs electricity. My children like eating in out garden.


  2. Even as a vegetarian myself, that yakitori is looking yummy. I don’t grill out since there isn’t a lot I would need it for. As you mentioned, the veggie burgers don’t do great on grills.

    I read over the wiki page on the kamado, but it was hard to figure out what really distinguishes it from say, American grills. I see it’s ceramic, and that’s suppose to retain heat more, but is there anything more to it? Also, are you able to close the top? it seems like you would need to make sure not to leave it out in the rain if not.


  3. The slaughtered and burnt bodies of once living breathing playing crying feeling animals.
    And you are going to eat that? Yuck.

    (Sorry Doug, but someone’s got to say it).


    1. Hi guys, sorry for the late reply:

      Cocomino: It just uses charcoal. πŸ™‚ It burns clean, and is easy to use.

      Kendall: Yeah, I know they’re trying to make more “grill-friendly” veggie burgers, but I just haven’t had a chance to try one I liked. As for the Big Green Egg, it’s basically very heavy, thick ceramic, but the inside is a special convection design. The top can be closed, yes. It’s to use all year around (and we intend to cook a turkey in it for Thanksgiving).

      Marcus: I thought you might drop by. πŸ˜‰


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