It shouldn't come as a surprise that cooking on tabletop grills is one of the most popular forms of tabletop cooking. Grilling our dinner is a primitive pleasure; maybe we subconsciously remember more back in the good old days when we humans cooked and ate in groups seated around a warm, bright fire.
Today you don't need to know how to start a fire–or even light a grill–to enjoy tabletop grilling. We have multiple tabletop portable grills we use for all kinds of meals.
Electric grills, like our little Orange Barbecue Grill, are very convenient. It turns on with the press of a button and it's hot enough to start cooking within 15 minutes. It's perfect for indoor grilling, but we've even used it outside with an extension cord when the weather was dry. We use it for Korean barbecue, Japanese yakiniku, or American fare like kebabs and burgers.
Try our beef brochettes on our electric tabletop grill. You can serve them as sandwiches on grilled baguettes or with a side of couscous salad. Or make this Thai chicken skewers recipe with an irresistible coconut-peanut satay sauce. We've even used our little grill to make grilled desserts like grilled bananas and chocolate. If you get a chance, you should make some, too!
Our electric grill is super easy to use.
Our raclette grill is a kind of indoor electric grill as well. We use it a lot for raclette, of course, but it can also be used for hot-stone cooking, crepes, tacos, and teppanyaki. Your imagination is really the limit. It was our first tabletop grilling appliance and we've definitely exploited its versatility.
Visit our raclette grill recipes page for more ideas.
We use tabletop gas grills, also called camping grills or portable gas grills, but for safety's sake, we recommend that you only use them outside or in a well-ventilated area. In the US, they are typically fueled by propane, but in Asia, where they are popular for cooking hot pot and barbecue meals at home, they are usually fueled by butane. You can buy butane online or at Asian grocery stores. Both propane and butane can make you sick or even kill you if you inhale them, so stick to using them outside, please!
You'll need some kind of cooktop for your gas grill if you're going to use it for barbecue, or a pot for hot pot and similar meals as the grill is basically like a single gas burner from your stove. We use a Korean-style grilling plate or a kind of pan-Asian cast-iron grill for barbecue. For hot pot, we have a special split pot so we can make both spicy and "regular" hot pot, but you can use any pot that isn't especially deep. We've also used an electric hot plate instead of a gas grill, but the gas grill gets hotter so we prefer it.
Click here for more information about Japanese yakiniku.
Click here for more information about Korean barbecue.
Click here for our Vietnamese grilled pork recipe.
Interested in Thai barbecue? Follow the link to learn more.
Click here for more information about hot pot.
Click here for a recipe and instructions on how to make Danish pancake balls, called ebelskiver, on your portable gas grill.
Charcoal grills are of course the oldest version of tabletop grills, with the obvious exception of an actual roaring fire. I love our little clay konro, but cast-iron hibachi grills are very popular, especially for traveling and camping, and they won't fall apart in the rain. However, you can only use charcoal grills outside (unless you happen to have one of those magnificent vents like the ones in a Korean restaurant in your own dining room). If you don't have an open space for barbecuing, stick with an electric grill that you can use in the house.
Click here to learn more about charcoal yakitori grills.
And last, but not least (except in size), you can grill some foods with a mini hibachi. You might recognize this little guy from your last pupu platter at a your local pan-Asian restaurant, but (s)he's just as comfortable in your living room, melting the marshmallows for your s'mores.
This mini cast-iron hibachi is fueled with gel fuel. It is literally the stuff from inside a Sterno can, scooped into the small bowl of the hibachi and lit with a grill lighter.
Some of my favorite online stores might have just what you need for your next tabletop meal!
Asian Food Grocer has a great selection of essential ingredients and many hard-to-find items.
Cilantro Cook Shop has a great selection of quality raclette and fondue sets.
For The Gourmet has an amazing selection of cheeses and chocolates.
Sephra specializes in chocolate, caramel and fruit fondues... and fountains.