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Jun 18, 2007 11:58 AM

Help Me Choose the Right Hibachi (Or Mini-BBQ Grill)

Never owned at BBQ grill because we've always lived in apartments without yards - yet always yearned for that smoky, delicious tang of meaty, crusty barbequed goodness. OK, so what to do? We DO have an outside-the-back-door open-air wooden landing where the stairs and garbage chute reside. I COULD put a metal cookie sheet on the floor and place a hibachi on top of that. So far so good? It's always been just a dream.

But yesterday I got a FREE COUPON from the Vermont Country Store, which features very well made vintage type hard to find domestic and culinary items, for a "free shipping" coupon to reward us for our loyal patronage. Now, hauling a hibachi home from some big- box store far from the City, and up the stairs to our fourth floor walk-up, is not a fun idea, it's a lot more fun to think of the UPS guy climbing all those stairs and gently placing that cumbersome hibachi in my arms - without paying any shipping charges (and this hibachi is an "overweight" item too. Too bad for Vermont Country Store - they just excluded "over-SIZED" NOT over WEIGHT. Heh.)

So, you're asking yourself: where do "I" come in? Well, I'll tell you. Or I'll ask you. Or something. Are there some BBQ & hibachi aficianados who could go to the Vermont Country Store website and tell me if they think, since this may be a once in a lifetime purchase, whether or not THIS is the hibachi we should choose out of all possible hibachis in the universe?

At only $29.95 it seems a great bargain. "made of durable cast-iron, unlike the cheaper ones found in stores!...dual cooking grates adjust to 3 different heights...adjustable air vents to increase or decrease the heat of the fire, and large wooden side handles." 18" X 10" X 8"

Please check it out and let me know what you think.
Item number - 45516


A chowhound here once told me that what I really ought to buy, for my total BBQ-ing needs, is the "Big Green Egg". Apparently, they also offer a "little" Green Egg for the urban apartment dwelling BBQ devotee - any thoughts on this? Or is there another bar-be-que-ing option you would recommend?

Thanks again!

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  1. Doesn't seem half bad. Rather limited in what you are going to be able to cook with it, and probably a mess when the wind blows...

    For the same money you can get the very nice and very versatile lil' Weber -- For what you trade in compactness you gain in flexibility, both in terms of being able to cook in different ways and in more conditions.

    The lil' green egg is far bulkier/more money and weighs a whopping 65 lbs --

    12 Replies
    1. re: renov8r

      I think you'll be happier with the Weber grill. Those Hibachis don't seem to hold up very well

      1. re: sarge

        Do you have any recs. for where to purchase this midget sized Weber grill? How much do they cost? Are they smaller than the standard back yard cheapo grill that my dad had that was about the size of a standard aluminum garbage pail lid on spindly legs? I was thinking hibachi or the little Green Egg because I could easily carry it back into my apartment, and out of my same floor neighbor's way, in between uses.

        1. re: sarge

          Yeah, you're right, Sarge. That's what seems to be the consensus. But you do have to give it to this partciular hibachi for being well made - it's cast iron!

        2. re: renov8r

          You will not go along with the smokey joe - it is great got me through many years of apartment living -

            1. re: niki rothman

              Smokey Joe is another name for the midget weber - you can buy these grills on line at or - Weber Smokey Joe Silver is about $30 - Weber Smokey Joe Gold is about $35 and has a handle that will keep the lid closed for transport -

              If you want to find a local dealer you can check out

              1. re: weinstein5

                Thanks so much!
                Looks like the Smokey Joe is the real bargain. But there's something about the mystique of the 'Lil Green Egg that is very seductive, no?

                1. re: niki rothman

                  It definitely is a bargain compared to the big green egg - the small which weighs 60 lb is about $500 - there is a smaller version the Mini Green Egg weighing in at 30 lb and costs $300 -

          1. re: renov8r

            To reno8tr,
            Do you mean messy when the wind blows because a hibachi doesn't have a hood like a BBQ grill?

            Hey, thanks so much for the link to "smokey joe" the 'lil Weber to whom you refer. He is a whole new ball game I had no idea even existed. A table-top BBQ grill! I had wanted the hibachi because of the diminutive height allowing for bringing into my typically cramped old SF apartment and placing discretely in a corner of my little back room library/guest room on the bottom shelf of a wall sized bookshelf. I kinda think that smokey joe would work just sitting on the floor minding its own business in a corner of that room almost as discretely as a hibachi. The ad says it's 14.5" high.

            And thanks for your insider info. about the "'Lil" Green Egg weighing in at a shocking 65 pounds! It must be made out of see-ment (getting into a BBQ lingo mood here). You know though, I AM kind of drawn to the whole mistique of the Green Egg cult. Like maybe I'll start hunting for food (Jews are forbidden to hunt for pleasure) and start curing my OWN sausages (big-city pigeon meat) in my 'Lil Green Egg. Or smoking my own lox. I'm totally sick and tired of paying that goniff (thief) at the Russian deli $15 a pound for good smoked salmon.

            So, I'm still on the fence. Any more advice that you may have will be very welcome.

            1. re: renov8r

              I could not agree more with the advice for the lil' Weber. It makes awesome food and is quite portable- we throw ours in the car and take it with us to the ballgame on Saturdays and tailgate.

              1. re: sed231

                OK, you guys! 'lil Weber it will be! Now, howzabout some tips where to get it for the best price. But then, isn't like only $30 anyhow?

                1. re: niki rothman

                  I think that Ace Hardware has it on special for $29, I have not really seen it less.

            2. Slate recently published a piece on portable grills --

              You might want to check it out.

              3 Replies
              1. re: bcc

                And the Weber Smokey Joe came out on top -

                1. re: weinstein5

                  Weber is expensive - it hurts to buy their stuff (unless you buy from craigslist) but every time you use your weber you smile. Better to hurt once than every time you use it!

                2. re: bcc

                  Thank you so much! This is wonderful. I really ought to read Slate more often.

                3. Weber's Smokey Joe's are great, as are their other portable (the rectangle one and the Q gas grill). Kamodos or Green Eggs are excellent but you're talking major purchase - in the $1.5k to $2k rannge...and they weight a ton...okay, just several hundred pounds.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ML8000

                    Are you sure the (baby) Green Eggs are so expensive? I seem to remember some months back somebody here told me about them and I went to the website and they seemed very reasonable to me, and I am a super freak for bargains who would probably have rebelled if the thing cost more than $200. (I do not remember the exact price, but I am now going to check it out first chance I get - I'm a bit busy tonight)

                    1. re: niki rothman

                      Not sure about the Green Eggs..but some kamodos do cost a lot.

                      Okay I looked since I was curious.... $499 for the small. I'm sure you can do better, but not that much better. BTW, that isn't that small...maybe there's smaller ones. Still, a Weber portable goes for $40 bucks.


                      1. re: niki rothman

                        I pulled those from just googling Big Green Egg - did find a site alittle cheaper - but still $242 for the mini and $350 for the small -

                    2. If you really want to get into real BBQ (low and slow smoking, as opposed to grilling), then the Green Egg is the way to go-a friend of mine got one for his condo and loves it. It also is great for high temperature direct grilling. If you decide to shell out the bucks for it, I would strongly, strongly recommend gettting the larger size, always better to have more room than you need than not enough. Here is a website with more info:

                      If you just want a little grill, then I agree with others about Weber. I just picked up the Weber go anywhere charcoal grill (the square shaped one) and really like it, perfect for travel as well

                      1. The problem with the hibachis in the style of that one at Vermont Country store is they get very hot and the handles (wood) burn and become useless. I've been in love with my Lodge cast iron camp grill for years now - it's a wonderful little grill that I keep on my patio. Durable, functional, perfect size for a couple of steaks. It's lasted longer and worked better than any other grill I've had - Smokey Joe included. And $85 from Amazon.