A Korean BBQ grill takes the concept of grilling to new levels. If you love the taste and flavors of your grilled food, then you’ll love them, even more, when you grill them the Korean way. Based on the concept of sharing food among a family or a group of friends, the best Korean BBQ grill makes your cookouts or get-togethers a lot more fun and satisfying.
But if you’re like me, then the closest you’ve got to one of those grills was when you went to a Korean restaurant. As it turns out, that’s not enough to help you pick the top Korean BBQ grill for you. For one thing, there are many types out there, and they each have their unique features and qualities. So we went on a culinary journey exploring the different Korean grills out there and shortlisted the following 8 grills for you. We also included a buying guide to give you a good idea of what to look for when buying the right Korean BBQ grill for your outdoor and indoor events.
Best Korean BBQ Grill Reviews
A Korean BBQ grill is more than a black pot you fling some sausages in and hope for the best. These specialized grills need certain meat cuts and follow a different culinary methodology than your average BBQ grill. The following reviews shed more light on those differences.
1. Editor’s Choice: Elite Gourmet EMG-980B Large Indoor Electric Round Nonstick Grill
Family dinners are complex affairs. Your son wants his rib medium while your daughter wants her salmon perfectly charred. Your wife on the other hand has some chicken to grill but you have dreams about that choice steak you handpicked yourself. You can put all of these food items in the Elite Gourmet EMG-980B Large Indoor Electric Round Nonstick Grill at once and enjoy a fancy dinner.
If you’re wondering how the EMG-980B can handle such a wide variety of foods and cook them just the way you like them, the secret is the circular heating element. It heats up the surface of the grill evenly. That means the sausages thrown at the side of the grill will get just as much heat as the rib you dropped in the middle. That way all the food gets grilled at the same time and to the doneness you prefer.
The removable thermostat is another feature we liked about the EMG-980B. It allows you to adjust the heat of the grill and switch between 5 settings with the highest preset set to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. We also liked that the grill is coated with a non-stick layer and the fat melts and drips away from the food.
What we didn’t like however was how difficult it was to clean the surface of the grill. The edges of the grill in particular are hard to reach and any fat or food items stuck in there cannot be removed easily. The lid doesn’t do a good job sealing the grill which allows smoke to leak out.
- Circular heating element for better heat distribution.
- Non-stick coating.
- Fat drips away from the food.
- Cool-touch base and handles.
- 5 heat settings.
- Included thermostat.
- Hard to clean the edges of the grill.
- The lid doesn’t cover the grill well and allows the smoke to leak out.
2. Best Budget: TeChef – Stovetop Korean BBQ Non-Stick Grill Pan
TeChef takes the concept of healthy cooking to new levels with this grill pan. The TeChef – Stovetop Korean BBQ Non-Stick Grill Pan has 5 coatings of New Teflon print designs and with its fat drain system, your food will taste better and healthier.
It’s all about the design of the pan. The intricate swirling design allows the grease in the food to drain slowly. The channels ensure that the oil doesn’t mix with other food items such as veggies. So it’s safe to cook veggies with a well-marbled steak or pork belly without getting the veggies soaking up the grease.
Designed and made in Korea, the TeChef is as authentic as they come. And if you’re worried about cleaning it especially with all the intricate channels and grooves covering the surface, this pan is dishwasher safe. The food debris falls off on the surface on their own and after a quick wipe off you can stack it into the dishwasher for more efficient cleaning up.
Besides its durability, the surface of the pan is coated 5 times with New Teflon which is POFA free and safe to use on cooking utensils. This ensures not just that the food will not stick to the pan, but also that it lets you cook any type of meat, veggies, or fish.
On the downside, you’ll need to use the pan on a stove either electric or gas. In addition, collecting the drained oil can be an issue. You’ll have to position a container near the draining hole which might not be easy since the pan is already on top of the hot stove. You could use a cup or something similar, but it will fill up quickly and you have to empty it a few times during the cooking.
- 5 coatings of New Teflon.
- Swirling channels for efficient draining of grease.
- Designed and made in Korea.
- Easy to clean and dishwasher safe.
- Affordable price.
- No oil draining container included so it’s not easy to collect the drained oil.
3. Premium Pick: De’Longhi Perfecto Indoor Grill with Lid
Some people don’t like grilled food since by the time it’s done, it has lost most of its juices and becomes too dry. But De’Longhi had an innovative answer to this problem that would make grilled food appeal to everybody. The De’Longhi Perfecto Indoor Grill with Lid has a fully embedded heating system that distributes the heat evenly. And the tight lid keeps the juices and flavors from escaping with the steam. The result is well-cooked and juicy grilled food.
The lid is made of tempered glass that can handle the heat while allowing you to check the progress of the food inside. It also keeps the smoke, vapors, and noise to a minimum no matter what food you’re cooking. You’ll appreciate this when you’re cooking fish especially. The place will smell as fresh and clean after cooking as it was before you started the grill.
The electric grill works well both indoors and outdoors. It offers a large cooking surface so you can cook different food items for the whole family at once. We also liked the integrated and removable oil drip tray. It makes collecting and disposing of the drained oil a lot easier.
The detachable thermostat is another feature that makes the De’Longhi stand out. By monitoring the thermostat you can adjust the temperature under the lid and cook your food to perfection. This is important if you’re cooking foods that need different cooking times. A steak usually takes longer to cook than bell pepper or cherry tomatoes. So having a thermostat makes it easy to know which foods are done and ready to eat.
On the downside, the grill is not easy to clean. While the surface cleans easily, the nooks and crannies especially around the sides are difficult to clean.
- Electric grill with 1,500-watt power input.
- Tempered glass lid to keep the food juicy.
- Works well indoors and outdoors.
- Minimum smoke, vapors, and noise.
- Integrated removable oil drip tray.
- Detachable thermostat.
- It’s not easy to clean the grill, especially around the sides.
The versatility of this grill from Kitchen + Home is one of the first things you’ll appreciate about it. The Kitchen + Home Stove Top Smokeless Grill Indoor BBQ is good for both indoor and outdoor cooking. And even though it doesn’t have a lid, it still does a good job keeping the cooking smoke and odors to a minimum.
The grill weighs about 1.7 pounds which tells you something about its quality. Made from stainless steel, the grill is durable and resists erosion. You can use it on an electric or gas stovetop and still get the same deliciously grilled and healthy food. The double-coated non-stick surface allows you to cook any type of food you like without needing to use oil. As for the grease and fat in the food, it drains easily to the integrated drip pan.
Having a drip pan is more than just a convenience. It also ensures that no drop of oil or grease remains on the surface which could trigger flare-ups or send out burnt grease smoke. And when you’re done cooking, you can easily remove the drip pan, empty and wash it without a fuss.
Although the grill is dishwasher safe, you won’t get good cleaning results from the dishwasher. The grill has two layers and the underside of the top layer needs to be manually washed to get all traces of food and grease off. Another downside was how quickly the water in the water basin evaporated. Without water, the grease burns and sends out smoke. So you need to refill the water basin even while you’re still cooking.
- Versatile and smokeless.
- Prevents flare-ups and unpleasant burnt-out grease odors.
- Integrated drip pan.
- Easy to use on an electric or a gas stovetop.
- Durable and rust-resistant.
- The water in the water basin evaporates quickly while cooking.
Nothing says durability more than titanium. Made of stainless steel with non-stick titanium coatings, the CookKing – Master Grill Pan, Korean Traditional BBQ Grill Pan is a durable grill pan. With its large size and versatility, you can use it both indoors and outdoors.
The innovative design of the CookKing makes it easy for you to grill as many food items as you want. The edge of the pan is divided into side pockets of different sizes. This allows you to separate the food items that might have a strong aroma or specific taste such as egg kimchi from the rest of the meat, fish, and veggies.
The grill pan is exceptionally light but that doesn’t mean that the heat doesn’t distribute well. From the outer edges to the middle, every food item gets the same amount of heat. So whether you’re using a gas stovetop or an electric one, the food grills well. The locks at the bottom of the grill make it easy to secure the pan on top of the stovetop.
Cleaning the pan is also easy thanks to the non-stick coating. The excess fat and oil drip through the drainage hole and you need to provide a container to collect that oil.
The only problem we had with this pan beside the absence of an oil tray was that the side pockets are a little narrow. They might be good enough to grill your egg kimchi, but if you want to heat your veggie soup or stew, they won’t fit in the narrow and shallow pockets.
- Titanium non-stick coatings.
- Durable and lightweight.
- Side pockets to separate food items.
- High heat distribution for even grilling.
- For both indoor and outdoor BBQ.
- The side pockets are too narrow and shallow to heat veggies or stew.
In most grill pans, the grill plate is the most important part. The design of the plate can go a long way in giving you the crisp BBQ you desire. So Techef came up with a dome design for the grill plate that is both unique and very functional. The TECHEF – True Grill Pan – Stovetop Nonstick Indoor/Outdoor Smokeless is a 12-inch grill pan that makes the process of cooking food just as enjoyable as eating it.
The dome shape of the grill plate allows you to get creative spreading your ribs, bacon, steaks, and fish across it. Not only do you get unique chars on the meat, but the uneven surface means that the same cut will have different tastes and flavors.
The plate is coated with a mixture of Teflon and titanium for durability. It doesn’t contain PFOA so there’s no health risk involved. It also means you can use this grill pan both indoors and outdoors. Although it only works on a gas stovetop. As with all Techef products, this one is designed and made in Korea as well so it excels both in quality and performance.
The included oil tray collects the drained grease and fat to prevent smoke and cooking odors. It also means that you won’t have problems with sticking or burning grease that makes it hard to clean the grill pan.
The downside to this grill pan is that you can only use it with a gas stovetop. The water in the water tray also tends to evaporate quickly and you need to refill the tray during cooking.
- 12-inch grill pan enough to feed 4 people.
- Dome shape grill plate for tastier and crisper BBQ.
- New Teflon titanium non-stick coating.
- Drainage tray to collect oil and grease.
- Works both indoors and outdoors.
- You can only use it on a gas stovetop.
- Water evaporates quickly and needs to be refilled during cooking.
While authentic and basic grill pans have their fans, by the end of the day technology still wins. The Aroma Housewares ASP-218B Grillet 4Qt. 3-in-1 Cool-Touch is a versatile cooking appliance that serves as a grill, hotpot, and slow cooker all rolled into one.
The deep pot is made of cast aluminum with a 4-quart capacity. That should handle any type of food you put into it and cook it to the right doneness you prefer. And with the adjustable temperature, you have more control over how much heat your food gets. The highest temperature setting is 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
The 14-inch pot gives you both space and depth. You can grill enough beef steak, fish, pork belly, and ribs to feed a large family. But that’s not all. You can also use it to cook stews, and reheat leftovers. It’s a multipurpose pot that will become the most used pot in your kitchen.
The tempered glass lid of the pot can withstand excessive heat. It also keeps the flavors and juices of the food within the pot so your BBQ is always juicy and succulent. As for cleaning the pot, it’s dishwasher safe, so you don’t have to wash it by hand.
One disadvantage we noticed about the ASP-218B is when we tried to heat frozen food. The pot takes time to reach the temperature we set it to. So if you’re in a hurry or need your food heated up quickly, you shouldn’t use this grill. Maybe a regular pot on a gas stovetop will do a better job.
- 3-in-1 grill, hotpot, and slow cooker.
- Adjustable temperature with the highest setting set to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- 4-quart capacity.
- Can be used indoors and outdoors.
- Tempered glass lid.
- It takes time to reach the set temperature when heating frozen food.
We wrap up our best Korean BBQ grill reviews with a grill pan that offers a lot in the way of durability, versatility, and ease of use. The Korean BBQ Nonstick Grill Pan – Induction Stovetop Compatible works on any heat source from induction heating to electro, gas, hotplate, or grill.
The thick pan ensures the even distribution of heat so you won’t have frozen bits while other food items are already burned. But it’s the coating that gives this grill pan an edge over the others we have reviewed so far. The Megastone non-stick coating is made of a combination of zirconium and ceramic materials. Both of those elements are safe to use in cooking pots and they offer high resistance to rust, abrasion, and scratching.
The draining mechanism is also a little different in this grill pan. Rather than a simple hole in the side, this draining hole is more like the spout of a spigot. It efficiently drains the last drop of oil in the pan and lets you collect it in a container easily.
On the downside, the grill pan does a poor job with thick meat cuts. It grills cuts like Brisket and Chadol very well as long as they are thin cuts. It also handles pork belly Korean style rather poorly. So overall, it’s a good choice for grilling beef and veggies but not so much with other types of food.
- Compatible with all sources of heat from hotplate to gas stovetop.
- Megastone non-stick coating.
- Resists abrasion and scratching.
- Only grills thin meat cuts like Brisket and Chadol.
Korean BBQ Grill Buying Guide
Now that we know more about the top Korean BBQ grills in the market, it’s time to explore the concept of grilling food Korean style. This helps you get the most out of your Korean grill and enjoy the exquisite flavors that this cuisine has to offer from the comfort of your backyard.
What is a Korean BBQ Grill?
The first thing you’ll notice about the Korean BBQ grill is that it’s smokeless. Unlike your average grill that bellows smoke like a chimney, the Korean counterpart is clean and even odorless. It sizzles but doesn’t burn. The food grills slowly but steadily and the flavors remain in the steak instead of flying off with the smoke.
These Korean grills are more like a hotplate. That way you can use it safely both indoors and outdoors. You can even take it on your camping trip or picnic. And once you’ve developed a taste for it, you’ll always want to have it in the center of your cookout or get-togethers. You keep feeding it good meat cuts and veggies for an endless stream of delicious barbecued food.
Korean BBQ Grill Types
Korean BBQ grills come in different shapes and types. Which type you choose depends on the heat source you have available. Some versatile types work well with all types of stoves including induction, electric, gas, and even grills and hotplates. Others are only suited for one or more stoves at most. And then there are the electric grills. These are more portable and you can take them with you anywhere you go camping or on picnics. Here are the main Korean BBQ grill types to consider.
- Stovetop: This is the most basic type. You need to place it on a stovetop and go about your grilling as you would normally do when cooking your food. Most of these types don’t have a way to control the heat so it falls on you to make sure your meat and fish don’t get overcooked. Draining the excess oil can be an issue here also especially if the grill doesn’t include a drip tray.
- Electric: This is the most convenient type. They need a power source to plug them in and start grilling. These types are usually the most feature-rich and include a thermostat to adjust the heat and select your doneness. One good example of these grills is the De’Longhi Perfecto Indoor Grill with Lid which has a tempered glass lid to preserve the flavors and keep smoke and odors down to a minimum. If you plan to have a BBQ cookout indoors a lot, then this type should be ideal for you.
- Gas: Similar to the electric grill but it uses gas instead of electricity. It comes equipped with its own stove and you need a gas cylinder to plug it in. They are less convenient than the electric models but they still offer more features than the basic stovetop models.
Naturally what makes a Korean BBQ grill stand out is the number of features it offers. A grill with a thermostat and a drip tray for example makes grilling any type of food easy. The quality of the grill plate is also a key factor to consider. It should have a coating of a non-stick material that doesn’t pose a health risk. Here are some of the features to consider.
- Material: The material the grill is made of determines its durability and the quality of the cooking you get out of it. Some grills are made of stainless steel to resist rust and erosion. Others are made of cast aluminum that is almost as sturdy as steel. Keep in mind that grills made of steel are more expensive and heavier than those made of cast aluminum.
- Source of Heat: This feature is more about convenience and portability than anything else. However, electric grills are considered the most convenient since you can use them indoors and outdoors. You can pack them in your camper or use them while on a picnic.
- Coating: The grill plate needs to be coated with a non-stick material to avoid the food getting stuck on the plate and becoming a headache to clean up. Some grills such as the TECHEF – True Grill Pan – Stovetop Nonstick Indoor/Outdoor Smokeless use a New Teflon and titanium mixture while others use just titanium. New Teflon is safer on cooking utensils than old Teflon which gets usually mixed with cadmium and other heavy metals.
- Oil Disposal: The difference between a Korean BBQ grill and other types of grills is that the Korean grill cooks healthier food. And that’s because it allows the excess oil and grease to drip out and away from the food. Many of the grills we reviewed have a drip tray that collects that excess oil safely. That tray will make your cookouts a lot more enjoyable since it prevents the burning of the oil, reduces smoke, and keeps the food healthy.
- Size: The size of the grill matters if you have many guests for your BBQ or you happen to have a big family. On average the Korean BBQ grill measures about 12 inches in diameter. That should be enough to feed 4 people. If you’re looking for something larger, some grills measure about 14 inches in diameter.
How safe are Korean BBQ grills indoors?
Safety is at the heart of the Korean BBQ grill concept. Since these grills are designed to be used indoors first and foremost, then safety is taken seriously. The Elite Gourmet EMG-980B Large Indoor Electric Round Nonstick Grill for example has a cool-touch base and handles to avoid burn accidents while using the grill. These grills are for the most part smokeless and produce less odor than your average cooking pot. As long as you follow the instructions that come with the model, you will be safe.
What types of foods can I cook on those grills?
You can cook just about any type of food on a Korean BBQ grill. The confusion often happens when people try to grill regular steak cuts on these grills. Koreans for the most part use paper-thin cuts of meat such as Brisket and Chadol. So as long as your cuts are thin, you’ll have great results. Some other foods to consider are pork, fish, seafood, and veggies such as bell pepper, zucchini, cherry tomato, and potatoes.
Can I use a Korean BBQ grill as a hotplate?
You can use your Korean grill for more than just grilling food. You can reheat food such as stew and soup. As long as the surface of the grill is flat, you place a pot or even a skillet on top of it if you like. Some brands even have pockets in the grill so you can grill and reheat food all at the same time. Just keep in mind that the heating area and the amount of heat you get out of the Korean BBQ grill is much smaller than your regular outdoor BBQ grill.
The Last Word
After this delightful culinary journey into the Korean cuisine, we came out satisfied in more ways than one. We were happy with the food we cooked as much as the Korean BBQ grills we have tested. One grill that delighted us more than the others is the Elite Gourmet EMG-980B Large Indoor Electric Round Nonstick Grill. The electric grill has 5 heating settings and a thermostat to adjust the temperature and monitor the food while grilling it. It has a circular heating system that distributes the heat evenly across its grill plate. And it has a cool-touch base and handles for safety reasons.
We also liked the TeChef – Stovetop Korean BBQ Non-Stick Grill Pan for its affordable price and authentic Korean design. It has 5 coatings of the non-stick New Teflon and has swirling channels that whisk the excess oil off to the dripping hole. You can cook any type of food on this grill from meat to fish and veggies.
Our premium pick award went to the De’Longhi Perfecto Indoor Grill with Lid. An electric grill with a tempered glass lid that you can use both indoors and outdoors. It has a detachable thermostat and an integrated drip tray for collecting excess fat. Overall, a convenient and portable grill you can take with you anywhere on your camping trips.