The Secrets of Japanese Grilling

Robata Grilling: Serious Grilling by Japanese Chefs

Just how serious do Japanese chefs get when it comes to grilling? They employ the ancient style of grilling – the tradition of robata. Robata means “fireside cooking” in Japanese, with results that are dramatic and delicious. It’s tradition and history are much longer than Japanese sushi.

Hardwood charcoal are stacked in such a fashion that creates an even heat source. It is devoid of binders and tends to burn hotter than ordinary charcoal, like briquettes. Depending on the tree-source of hardwood, this high-quality charcoal can burn in incredibly high temperatures. For Robata grilling, the white binchotan charcoal is favored for super-hot heat.

There is a stacking method used to avoid big differences in heat distribution across the grill. Hardwood charcoal is stacked Jenga-style, not dumped, creating a tower. The hardwood pieces, picked up by tongs, are arranged in a crosshatch pattern about the size of the meat on skewers. Leave about an inch of space between the meat and the heat, but if it is chicken, the charcoal is about three to four inches from it, which allows the skin to crisp while the chicken fat slowly renders.

Generally, if the charcoal tower is too short the meat won’t cook fast enough, and too tall – the meat will burn. One other detail is to use the hands-on approach, literally using your fingers. Using tongs can bruise the meat and release juices, affecting the overall taste.

This style doesn’t use barbecue sauce, but sauces that heighten the taste of the protein being grilled.
The traditional tare sauce, salty with just enough sweetness, works well with chicken, beef, pork, or seafood. It’s the perfect grilling glaze; specific measurements for every pound of protein.

Savory, Smoky Aromas from Issaquah Sushi Restaurant

Enjoy the smoky flavor of Aji Sushi grilled meats in Issaquah. We are passionate about our grilling to bring you authentic Japanese dishes from our grill to your plate.