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Blackspur / Hamble Steel Hibachi BBQ Grill

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1 Review

Brand: Blackspur / Hamble / Type: Grill / Fuel Type: Coal / Handes: With Stay-cool Handles

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      12.07.2010 12:50
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      Excellent small-quantity-cooking BBQ for light use

      The Blackspur / Hamble steel Hibachi Grill is like a disposable barbeque that you can reuse and reuse indefinitely. While being as small, easy to light, and portable as one of those disposable barbeques that comes in its own foil tray from the supermarket, it has none what I consider to be the drawbacks of conventional home / garden barbeques - ie. immense size; enormous capacity for 'charcoal briquettes;' four-hour wait after the first match is lit until the BBQ becomes hot enough to actually cook food on; huge grill-pans that get crusted in black burned-on gunk during cooking, which then get left and left outside till they rust to bits in the rain. On the contrary, this Hibachi is convenient, easy to clean and a doddle to store (as it's so small - the tray is only about 50cm long).

      Hibachis in general are little sit-on-table-top type cookers for grilling / barbequing food over glowing charcoal. I understand - although I may well be misinformed on this point - that conventional kitchen ovens aren't commonly used in Japan - and I imagine that Hibachi grills are what Japanese people might use when they want to grill something 'authentically' instead (though I've no doubt that George Forman electric hotplates are as widely available in Japan as they are everywhere else). The Blackspur Hibachi mechanism is very simple: you put charcoal / briquettes into the black metal tray at the bottom and light them; there's a basic slot-open air-vent in the front of the tray so you control the air-flow. The food gets grilled on two wood-handled, chrome-plated flat grills; these slot into the two panels that stand up at the back of the Hibachi; each has three height options so that the cooking food can be raised up from or lowered closer to the hot coals below. This particular Hibachi also has wooden handles so it can be lifted once fired up (as almost everything else is made of metal, obviously the whole thing gets really hot during use). It comes with admittedly a rather flimsy metal stand / legs - to keep it off the table-top. Even when it's on its legs, the thing stands only about a foot in total high, so obviously you're going to have to bend down while cooking stuff on it. If you're using it on say, on your garden table, instead of using the legs / stand, I'd say it would be a better idea to stand it on an upturned metal oven pan to keep it away from flammable / melt-able surfaces as the stand that comes with it is a bit shoogly really.

      The slight drawbacks of Hibachi use relate to its flimsiness: the grill-holder slots don't hold the food trays very firmly / stably so you're not going to be grilling vast quantities of food at any given time as it simply doesn't have the capacity for that. So it's not a 'party' barbecue. Nor is is something that - at the risk of coming across all sexist on the issue of outdoor cooking - the man of the house is going to be able to stand over proprietorily for ages and ages while he's barbequeing stuff: firstly, anyone would look pretty silly trying to stand proprietorily over a teeny weeny Hibachi, quite frankly, and as the thing tends to start losing heat after about the first hour or so after it's been lit there wouldn't really be much point staying with it all evening. Again, this is related to the unit being so small - one tray of charcoal doesn't last all that long; not even as long as a standard disposable / foil BBQ, I'd say. You could probably refill it if you wanted to keep using if for longer, though. Because of its relatively low charcoal capacity, I wouldn't say it's suitable for the barbequeing of vegetables / fruit that require long cooking over charcoal - such as sweetcorn or bananas - though it'll certainly cook veggies swered onto kebabs (well - as well as this sort of thing ever cooks on a barbeque, at any rate).

      Similarly the Hibachi doesn't ever seem to get viciously hot. This however is a good thing in my book, because one of the drawbacks of home barbeques I find in general is the issue of food being burned black and carcinogenic on the outside, and still in a frozen / raw mince state on the inside.

      Although it is a small barbecue with limited capacity, this Hibachi is one of the best low-tech / cheap BBQs I've used. It's adequate for cooking food in the fairly small quantities in which our family likes to eat barbequeued food, gives good cooking results in a relatively short space of time, and is easy to clean and store afterwards.

      The Hibachi is currently available for under a tenner from Amazon.co.uk. If I were you I'd ignore the advertising blurb that states that the product is 'easy to assemble': it does require some degree of devilishly complex assembly before first usage, but once it's up and running that it - you don't have to ever build it from scratch again. It's still well worth the money.

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