Reimagining the American Barbecue: Backyard Hibachi
By Space Coast Daily // March 31, 2022
In his book, Barbecue: The History of an American Institution, Robert F. Moss states that the story of barbecue is more than just types of meat and massive pit grills. Rather it is the, “story of a vital institution in American life”. That is why barbecue is a staple of American culture and cuisine. It is a perfect way to entertain and socialize with friends, family and co-workers.
Many other countries and cultures around the world also have strong traditions of cooking barbecue. One of these nations is Japan, with barbecue style food being very popular and iconic to the cuisine, with dishes such as chicken yakitori. Originally a device used for heating, the hibachi has become known in the west as a small charcoal grill.
This is called a shichirin in Japanese. The hot plate style grill is called a teppan in Japanese, and that is what the Backyard Hibachi draws its inspiration from.
The American Barbecue
The Backyard Hibachi is an evolution of the teppan grill to be more in line with the American barbecue style and culture. This style is focused on cooking meat primarily outdoors over open flame or gas. It is particularly prevalent in the southern states of America where it is a cultural activity of its own.
This has led to the formation of many subcultures varying by region and state which each have their own distinctive styles of barbecue. These subcultures have developed potent competitions and rivalries between different styles of barbecue.
Barbecue is more than just a means of cooking in American culture. It is a social event which brings people together in a harmonious way and functions as an experience for bonding. Barbecuing is unique as a festive food as it can be indulged in any day of the year unlike turkey or ham which have more specialized holidays.
Barbecuing is associated with the fourth of July but it is not constrained to this day alone. It draws its popularity in part from its humble nature, bringing people closer to the natural world which is at a distance from the pace of civilization.
Barbecues are ordinarily conducted outside and vary widely in size from intimate backyard affairs to large gatherings which can be a whole day event.
The barbecue tradition in the US started with Native American people and continues to this day in every state. Another reason for the popularity of the barbecue is the sense of freedom and primal pleasure which cooking on a flame represents. This is part of the reason why barbecue is one of the most widely used means of public celebration in the US.
The Backyard Hibachi
The Backyard Hibachi seeks to merge the convenience and precision of the Japanese style of barbecue with the scale and cultural function of the American barbecue. The Backyard Hibachi does this by developing the hibachi concept to a larger scale while retaining the factors of convenience and precision which have made the hibachi so popular.
It features a large steel flat top skillet which is heated with gas. This provides a high degree of control for the barbecue and allows it to be able to cook virtually anything from eggs to thick steaks.
Another element which the Backyard Hibachi utilizes from Japanese culture is the focus on high quality materials. It uses cypress wood which is sourced from the US and finished with a marine grade laminate finish. Providing a highly durable and a convenient surface for all the trappings of barbecuing.
This also helps the Backyard Hibachi function as the centerpiece of a barbecue as it facilitates a communal environment through this feature. The Backyard Hibachi is hand made with a high attention to detail and quality of materials being constructed for the purpose of lifetime use. It also features heavy duty metals to withstand the intense heats which the grill is capable of reaching.
The barbecue is an essential part of American culture, functioning as everything from a celebration to an intimate family dinner. The appeal of cooking outdoors and with an open flame is why barbecue is such a popular form of entertainment and socialization. It satisfies the need for the outdoors and the want to take a break from the demands of the everyday.
The Backyard Hibachi develops the Japanese style of barbecue to better suit the tastes of the American market. It does so by featuring the convenience and high quality of the Japanese style while retaining the scalability and centerpiece functionality of the American barbecue.