I love cast iron, in fact my everyday cookware is an odd collection of skillets and Dutch ovens. I enjoy the versatility that their oven and grill proof and easy to take care of as well as inexpensive. Some of the new artisanal cast iron can get pricey, but for the most part plain old cast iron can be had for not much cash.
As a cast iron lover and a grilling freak you know I’m totally jazzed to be talking to you about the Lodge cast iron hibachi style grill, the Sportsman.
The word hibachi always confused me a bit. It can mean a few different things. In Japan, the word means fire bowl. Traditionally it was a charcoal heating device. During the Second World War, Japanese troops stared using these fire bowls as portable stoves.
Here in the US the term hibachi has come to be known for a small portable cooking grill. It is also known for being a flat top griddle. The kind you see in Japanese steak houses doing a style of cooking called teppanyaki. The actual name of this flat top griddle is a shichirin. When it was first introduced in North America that griddle was marketed as a hibachi just because it was easier for Americans to pronounce.
Oddly enough the Sportsman starts its life as the Birmingham Stove & Range Company Sad Iron Heater. BS&R was a division of the Atlanta Stove Works. In 1941 Atlanta Stove Works was given a patent for the Sportsmen Grill, it appeared in their catalog that same year.
Fast forward to 1991: The BS&R company goes out of business and the Sportsmen grill patent was handed off to Lodge Manufacturing. Lodge made some basic structure improvements to the grill but all- in-all it’s the same amazing little hibachi from way back when.
There is no one I know in the world of grilling that just doesn’t want a Sportsmen. They're a super cool, fun little cooker that will last a few lifetimes. It's a great heat source for burgers and dogs, steaks, kababs, you name it. Robyn has done some incredible meals on hers for sure.
The grill does get hot, so be sure you have a fire safe resting place for it. I have cooked with both lump charcoal and wood and have had the same great results. If you’re a griller that’s on the fence with this cooker trust me. It’s time to get one in your line-up. If there’s an outdoor cook in your life, you won’t go wrong getting them one of these.
That’s the Sportsmen story. All this talk has me hungry. I’m going to go light a fire in mine right now. I hope you are soon.
Jon Solberg, Expert Outdoor Cook who Makes His Own Charcoal!
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I bought one of these “for my dad,” so I would have a charcoal cooker available when I visited. It takes a while to figure out the proper timing since they are really, really hot when you first fire them up, but they are fun and convenient, and built like a tank!
I couldn’t agree more John, a smokin hot tank!
John, I had a “hibachi” in my mid twenty’s. I guess I thought it wasn’t getting hot enough fast enough, so after getting the fire started I would take the wife’s Electrolux vacuum and reverse the hose to the exhaust end so it was blowing air out of the hose. I would let it blow the coals until it was “white” hot and then put the t-bones or rib eyes on. They would cook inside a fire the whole time, Timing was of the essence to say the least. Some 50 years later I think I’m going to try it again. Thanks the memory jog! P.S. I I lost my original hibachi on a beach in Aruba when I was trying to cool it down for the trip home and a wave “too big” took it away….LOL
Mickey, I had a “hibachi” back in the 80s. I loved that little open thing. I wish I could find one today. BTW That must have been a big wave! I can’t wait to hear about your nexts steak cook! Keep me posted.