Marsh Allen Hibachi

The Marsh Allen (almost identical to the Kay Home Products) hibachi grill is probably the best base entry model into the cast iron hibachi world.  Many of us may remember our elders cooking on similar grills in the 1970s.  There was a bit of a hibachi wave of cooking in the 70s when it seemed like everyone’s Dad had a hibachi grill for cooking steaks.

When purchased new this grill does require some assembly (about 20 minutes or so) and don’t be surprised by the weight, it is made of cast iron after all.  The grill is a low cost sourced model and is Made in China.

Split Grates Advantage

One of the biggest advantages (besides being made of cast iron) that this grill has is the dramatic variability this cast iron grill has in grill grate over coals heights.

The grill has a foot print that is 18” x 10” which makes it perfect for small porches or balconies.  It is also convenient for moving and tucking out of the way when not in use.

The most stand out feature of this cast iron grill enables to cook to choose how close to the coals and the heat her or she wants to be.  Moving to the lowest setting will certainly provide a deep and quick sear and then moving to the highest setting can be used for a much slower cooking process.

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The other advantage that this style of hibachi grill provides with this design of grate is the ease of raising or lowering of the grates during the actual cook.  The user has greater and easier control over heat intensity through the use of the rack system and the wooden handles on the back.   Having that flexibility could help with flare ups, perfection in desired sear flavor.

Usage

As with most hibachi grilling, the nature and size of the fire you build is important.  Your skills will develop with time for certain, but in the beginning you should keep the fire on the smaller side to prevent your fire from “getting away” from you and flaring up badly due to grease and drippings.  I would recommend that you keep the fire to one layer of coal thickness to start. 

These grills are very efficient when it comes to coal usage, you’ve got a great deal of temperature control with the grate frame on the back.

You may also wish to consider putting a cookie sheet under the grill, this helps with mess and easy clean of any ash, grease or coal which may have fallen out of the grill during the cook.

Another strength that comes with this grill is the fact that they cooking grill is broken into two independent sections.  With this grill you are able to cook on one side, and rest or warm on the other.   This split grill also enables you to cook two different things at the same time at different temperatures.   For example, steaks on one side and vegetables at a lower temperature on the other grate at a high up setting further away from the coals.

There is nothing that says you have to cook and put coals under both grates.  While I have a large family to cook for, you may only need to cook one or two steaks and one grate is good enough.  That makes for a lot of savings regarding how much coal you end up having to use in the cooking process.  You can get away with as little as a dozen pieces of briquette charcoal for an excellent cook with a couple of steaks.

As stated before, your skills and strategy will improve with time and usage.  A lot of the fun in grilling is developing your own strategy in the grilling process and figuring out what works best for you tastes and satisfaction.

These smaller grates and more portable grates also make it easier to remove and clean the grates.  In the event you last cook was a particularly messy (also known as tasty) cook, you can either burn off the mess or remove and clean.  As always, don’t forget it is cast iron and will rust quickly if left bare and exposed.  Once again, check out the Maintenance section to see what to do about it.

The time to cook and set up for this cast iron hibachi is also very simple and fast.  You will spend more time getting the coals going that you will setting up and cooking.  This is certainly a “get home from work” and cook type of grill.

Mobility

This grill is a bit lighter than some of the other cast iron grills that are available on the market, thus making this grill a bit better for the mobile grilling chef.  Believe or not, I’ve also seen the question asked if this grill is OK to be used indoors.  NO, it is an outdoor grill only.  You’d burn your house down, or at a minimum smoke everyone out, with this Marsh Allen cast iron hibachi grill.

Options

When purchasing this hibachi grill you should also make a determination if you wish to purchase the model that comes with the coal grates that are made of cast iron or steel round stock.  The cast iron coal grate model is more expensive but you are going to get more life out of the cast iron than you will with the regular steel grates.  Another impact will be to the weight of the cast iron grates.  If you are envisioning yourself being a mobile hibachi griller then you may wish to trade of the weight for the life of the coal grates.

Storage

Proper storage is still something that should be considered when purchasing a cast iron grill.  If left exposed to the elements rust will form on all the cast iron surfaces.  Due to the nature and design of the air dampers on this grill, the smooth operation of the will be the first casualty if some effort isn’t maintained in keeping the grill seasoned with limited rust.

Please go to the section on Maintenance & Care on this web page to see exactly how to season, protect and care for your cast iron hibachi.  You won’t regret putting in just that little bit of effort to extend years onto the use of your grill.

There are reports of the parts for this grill not lasting forever, like the “all cast iron” Lodge Sportsman’s Grill.  In particular, the complaints surround the grill grates and the wooden handles dry rotting, cracking and falling off.   I’ve heard that there are replacement parts available on the market. There are limited accessories available for this hibachi grill.  For example, if you were seeking a custom fitted outdoor storage cover you would not be able to find one.  You would then have to seek out some other type of small grill cover that you could then purchase and use to fit your needs.

Conclusion

This is an entry level cast iron hibachi grill.  You are not going to get a product that is going to last forever.  However, it does have advantages in function and form. 

If you are looking to make an entry into the hibachi cast iron grilling to determine if you wish to go further in the future, this is a good fit for you.

However, if you already have the skills you want and are seeking a high quality product that could be passed on to future generations, this is not the grill for you.

This grill is a base model in the cast iron hibachi grill world.

Thank you and I hope you found the above information useful in making your selection. 

Happy Cast Iron Grilling from The Cast Iron Grill!

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