Konro Grill with Binchotan

Konro Grill with Binchotan


Culinary adventures are always a big part of my every vacation. The downside of enjoying local foods is knowing that I’ll crave for it all when I am back home. I do my best to recreate and adjust my favorites to local ingredients. Every successful recipe becomes a part of new tasting event menu. I share pictures and stories along with specialty foods and drinks from the regions I visited.

When:
November 2013
Where:
Tokio, Kyoto
Pair With:
Sake or Japanese Beer

Disclaimer: All alcoholic drinks are recommendations and not included in the price.

The Party

Here in Texas, we love outdoor kitchens and grill/bbq parties for many reasons. For those of us who cook and entertain with food, the best reason is being WITH our guests while cooking. Japanese home grill parties go even further — the guests cook and eat their food sitting around a table-top grill or using their grills. Smokeless and very hot coals make the process a pleasure. Choose your own pace, choose your food, season and cook it to your taste while talking and laughing with your family and friends — isn’t it fun?

The Grill

Yakiniku (焼き肉 or 焼肉) refers to a Japanese style of cooking bite-sized meat (usually beef and offal) and vegetables on griddles over flame of wood charcoals. Another Japanese cooking term Yakitori (焼き鳥) means “grilled Chicken,” but yakitori restaurants grill all sorts of skewered meats and vegetables. Small table-top grill made of clay is called shichirin. Shichirin can be used for cooking on steady high-temp infra-red rays for about 4-5 hours with just a small amount of artisanal charcoal, binchōtan. My grill is Konro, and you can see it at work.

The Charcoal

Binchō-tan is the most suitable for fuel for shichirin. The fineness and high quality of binchō-tan are attributed to steaming at high temperatures 1,000°C or more, burning off all impurities and leaving nothing but pure carbon. Although it is often thought that binchō-tan burns hot, it burns at a lower temperature than ordinary charcoal, for a longer period. It does not release any odors, making it preferred by cooks who don’t want a natural flavor of food be altered during the grilling. Learn how to handle binchō-tan at home — timing and techniques to start them burning; the amount to use to create direct, indirect, or variable heat zones; and how to extinguish the charcoal to use unburned pieces again, until they are reduced to ash completely.

The Seasoning

The food for Japanese grill is flavored with special basting sauce, miso-and-sake-based marinades, or just salt. Salt is preferred by many cooks because it doesn’t overpower the natural taste of some delicate ingredients. But brushing tare on at the end of cooking is what makes some grilled meats and vegetables lip-smacking! You’ll have a chance to try a few flavoring techniques during the party.

The Basics

Let’s talk about basics — locally available Japanese and Texas ingredients, condiments, grilling techniques, and tools you need. You will see the demo, prep some ingredients, cook, eat, and enjoy the party! See example menus below and Japanese Grill photo album on Flickr to make your choices. Menu items are subject to availability.

Number of guests: 6-8

Tickets: $75+ per person

Price includes 5 poultry OR meat OR seafood small plates + 2-3 vegetable small plates. Your final price per person depends on the menu items you choose. Your food will be grilled using 2 portable Japanese grills and binchotan, your outdoor kitchen or mine. Please let me know if you need my recommendations for sake or Japanese beer to pair with food.

CHICKEN MENU

NEGIMA | Thighs + Scallions

Negima: Chicken Thighs and Leeks

Negima: Chicken Thighs and Scallions

SUNAGIMO | Gizzards

Chicken Gizzards

Chicken Gizzards

HARSU | Hearts

Chicken Hearts

Chicken Hearts

SASAMI | Tenderloins

Chicken Tenderloin

Chicken Tenderloin

TEBASAKI | Wings

Chicken Wings

Chicken Wings


VEGETABLE MENU

Asparagus

Asparagus

Asparagus

Eggplant

Grilled Eggplant

Grilled Eggplant

Crimini or Shiitake Mushrooms

Crimini

Crimini

Sweet Potatoes or Squash

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Grilled Sweet Potatoes

Shishito Peppers

OTHER MEATS MENU

GYUTAN | Beef Toungue

Beef Tongue

Beef Tongue

GYU REBA | Calf Liver

Calf Liver

Calf Liver

WAGYU | Marbled Beef

Wagyu Beef

Wagyu Beef

DEER | Backstrap

Venison Backstrap

Venison Backstrap


SEAFOOD MENU

Head-On Shrimp or Langoustine

Langoustine

Langoustine

Whole Sardines

Sardines

Sardines

Mussels or Clams or Scallops

Mussels

Mussels

Squid or Octopus

Squid

Squid

Rad Snapper or Tuna

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