Korean BBQ is a philosophy of cooking that’s similar to the BBQ we know, but different in several important respects.
You may well have had it in a restaurant, and had the thrill of cooking what you want, right there at your table.
Naturally, it’s a cooking style that lends itself well to indoor and home use, which is why hundreds if not thousands of manufacturers are producing indoor grills for Korean BBQ right now.
Want the authentic vibe of Korean BBQ in your own home, but not sure which is the best indoor grill to use?
Step right this way – we’ve got a handful of different styles for you to choose from, all of them guaranteed to have you savoring the flavors and textures of Korean BBQ before you know what’s hit you.
In a hurry? Here’s our top pick.
OUR TOP PICK
The TeChef Stovetop Korean BBQ is here to play in the big leagues.
Firstly, it’s made of heavy-grade aluminum for rapid heat transfer – always a good plan with barbecue, and arguably even more important with Korean-style barbecue.
Rapid heat is great, but if your food sticks to the grill, all you’ve bought is hours of irritating clean-up though.
That’s why TeChef adds five – yes, count ’em, five - layers of non-stick coating to the mix.
Try and get an Olympic gymnast to stick a landing in this thing, and what you have is a great Youtube compilation of utterly humiliating but damn funny failure.
Bad for gymnasts, great for cooking and clean-up – food moves, even with the high heat, and clean-up is made less of a life-choice-questioning chore, because there’s none of the usual scrubbing away at dead bits of charred what-the-hell-did-we-just-eat.
Weirdly enough, easier clean-up and maintenance leads to enhanced product-life – less scrubbing translates to less chipping or flaking of the non-stick surface. Everybody wins.
Want to hear something clever?
There are systems built into the TeChef stovetop Korean BBQ that do two of the things you most want out of any grill.
Firstly, the base is domed, and a swirled channel design helps the oil you use to drain slowly.
Why slowly? Because it locks in more juices to any meat you cook, that’s why. And what does juice mean? It means flavor, friend. Flavor.
And secondly, there’s a drainage channel, so while the process is slow, it does drain the fat or oil away.
That means you get the one-two punch of juicier, tastier proteins that aren’t sitting in a lake of fat or oil. Tasty, plus healthy. Who loves Korea right now, quick show of hands?
Thirdly, while we’re at it – draining the fat or oil away into a heat-resistant bowl means what? Who’s been paying attention? Yep, it means easy clean-up. A sponge, some paper towels, boom, you’re done, who’s for ice cream?
We mentioned the power on this machine early, but we know what you need. You need heat stats, don’t you?
Naturally, if you use it stovetop, you can get the output of your stove underneath the pan and rock with that.
If you go with the added option of the Agni portable gas stove, you’re looking at a total BTU output of 11,500.
That’s some serious grilling heat, at your disposal in a FedEx hurry. It’s a rapid high heat that helps define the flavor and the experience of Korean-style BBQ.
Add to that the fact that the portable gas stove is, well, there’s no other way to say it, portable, and what you get is that authentic Korean BBQ taste at your table vibe and the ability to bring Korean techniques and flavors to your cookout as well as your Wednesday night movie-fest.
With its combination of serious power, aluminum construction, more Teflon than you can scrape off in a lifetime, succulent juice-retaining proteins, and an easy-clean fat-draining option, the TeChef tops our list as the best indoor grill for Korean BBQ.
It’s a thing of beauty, making healthy, tasty meals indoors for that wow factor, and outdoors too for a twist on the traditional barbecue palate.
- High-quality aluminum construction
- Five layers of Teflon non-stick coating
- 11,500 BTUs of heating power in the portable gas stove
- Innovative design for trapping juice in your proteins
- Clever grease channel to make healthy food
- Easy cleaning from start to finish
- Mostly an indoor kitty, you can also play outside in grilling season and surprise your friends
- As Korean BBQ grills go, it has the brains, but it also has the brawn – its heaviness means it’s one to set up and travel to, rather than moving the grill around too much
Part of the fun of Korean BBQ is its immediacy and proximity. Much of the food in Korean restaurants is actually produced in kitchens, but there’s a lot of pleasure to be gained from doing it yourself tableside.
That’s fine if your house has separate wings and a fire alarm with a relaxed attitude to life, death, and heat sources.
If you’re in a smaller place or an apartment but you still want to get your Korean BBQ groove on, you could do a lot worse than checking out the Kitchen + Home Stovetop Smokeless Grill.
Smokeless being the key. No smoke, no alarms. No alarms, no complaints from the people upstairs, no questions about your tenancy, no nothing – just great hot Korean BBQ whenever you want it.
Stop drooling, let us tell you more.
Built of stainless steel with two layers of non-stick coating, you can immediately see we’re dealing with a whole different Korean ball game here from the likes of the TeChef grill.
Still – it would be a mistake to dismiss two layers of Teflon as especially sticky, it’s just a different grade of experience, in the same way as smaller houses and apartments are a different grade of experience to multi-room mansions.
Both they and the Kitchen + Home can still give you the results you want.
Here, the magic is in the integrated drip pan. As with the TeChef, it gives you a channel to wick off the grease and oil, so you get healthier barbecue, and it means the whole process is easy-clean, rather than endless-clean.
The people at Kitchen + Home have also got their thinking caps on though. The drip pan in their smokeless Korean grill is multi-functional. Sure, it’s there to catch drips and take most of the oil out of the equation of what you’re eating.
But if you add water to the drip tray before you start, you can use it as a kind of diffuser, to push moisture into the meat as well as to catch the fat run-off.
Heck, more than that, if you add a favorite flavor sauce, it will push that into the meat you cook instead. That’s just a little bit of additional genius that pushes the Kitchen + Home machine further up our list.
It’s dishwasher-safe, though as with many things coated in Teflon, hand-washing is a little kinder to the surface. The upside of which is that Teflon makes hand-cleaning a relative breeze in any case.
Joyfully, as with the TeChef, you can use the Kitchen + Home grill with either electric or gas stoves, though to get the heat transference that gives Korean BBQ its distinctive taste, you should probably steer clear of glass stovetops.
The Kitchen + Home grill is a great smokeless option for smaller spaces, that will give you the Korean BBQ experience you want without any hassle.
- Can be used on both electric and gas grills
- Smoke-free, and with minimal spattering or flare-up
- Drip pan is multi-functional, adding moisture or flavor to your meat
- Dishwasher-safe for ease of cleaning
- Needs to be preheated for optimal BBQ
That’s the keyword of the CookKing BBQ grill pan.
It looks like nothing on our list so far, but will be familiar to anyone who’s had Korean BBQ in a restaurant – and if you want the authentic taste, then going as traditional as possible in your cooking has to be a step in the right direction.
As with the list-leading TeChef, here you’re talking about an aluminum cooking surface, this time with titanium non-stick, so you get a sturdy pan for your grilling money.
With holes drilled into the sides, you also get a more conventional way of draining away oil or fat and giving you healthy Korean BBQ at home.
While all the grills on our list are multi-functional, the CookKing brings an authentic separation to your Korean BBQ.
It’s also significantly lighter in weight than many others on our list, for realistic portability. At just 3.5 pounds, it’s a lot of authenticity for relatively little weight, without abandoning the ruggedness of construction you need.
The realism should be no real surprise – the CookKing is made in Korea to this day, and so, for those who want to be able to trace their cooking back to its source, this is a must-buy, or at the very least, a grill you can’t ignore.
- Lightweight construction
- Authentic separation of cooking zones
- Works with electric or gas stoves
- Aluminum cooking surface
- Only for use with a gas stove
At quite the other end of the spectrum from the CookKing, there’s the Costzon teppanyaki griddle.
We know, we know – Teppanyaki’s Japanese, not Korean, but there’s method in our geographic madness, we promise.
The point of the griddle is that it can give you large quantities of food at once, for larger gatherings of family or friends.
With a cooking area of 35 by 9 inches, you can more or less cook the makings of a whole meal on the griddle at the same time.
More precise and deliberate than most western grills, the griddle depends on using limited additional oil.
Usefully then, the griddle is non-stick, for healthy cooking across the span of the surface.
Because you’re dealing with a much flatter surface, the griddle comes with a range of tools, like no-scratch spatulas and egg rings, so you can make the most efficient use of the cooking space.
Weighing in at a hefty 6.6 pounds despite its aluminum construction, it’s by no means a lightweight griddle, but what it adds in weight, it makes up for in the scope of what you can cook and serve at one time.
It also has a slide-out drip tray which, like others on our list, helps wick away drippings and keep your food moist rather than saturated, and which helps with the ease of cleaning and maintenance.
Like many griddles, the Costzon is electric, rather than gas. What that means is that you get controllable heat throughout the griddle, thanks to an adjustable thermostat and five temperature settings.
Add a pair of insulated handles and 4 anti-slip feet and the Costzon is a Japanese griddle that can give you Korean BBQ with a difference and an exactness that makes it suitable for mass BBQ feasts.
- Large cooking area of 35 by 9 inches
- No fuel hassle – simply plug and play
- Slide-out drip tray for convenience and easy cleaning
- Controllable heat, with 5 settings and a thermostat
- Insulated handles and non-slip feet for portability and sturdiness
- Heavy at 6.6 pounds
- Its size makes it an ‘occasion’ machine, rather than an ‘everyday’ one
As with grills for small apartments, budget restrictions don’t always mean a lesser experience.
The Elite Gourmet EGL-6501 XL shows you can still get the flavors of Korean BBQ on a budget. Available in two sizes, either a 13” square or a 16” by 12”, it comes with a glass lid to minimize smoke and spattering.
But it also offers the same sort of heat control as the Costzon machine – a five-setting, 1400-watt thermostat brings the versatility you need to cook whole meals on an indoor grill.
The plastic construction of the Elite Gourmet takes it perhaps furthest from traditional Korean BBQ cooking, but it also means lightweight convenience in your kitchen at just 4 pounds.
And while it has a non-stick coating, both the budget and the materials used mean you can treat the Elite Gourmet with a more robust attitude when cleaning up.
Removable drip pan? Check – in combination with the removable lid, that helps make the clean-up process a breeze here, while intensifying the juiciness of your food and keeping it healthy.
More than many other models, the Elite Gourmet breaks down into easy-clean components, which gives it a more everyday feel compared to some large, heavier units.
Reliable cooking, controllable heat, easy to break down, assemble, and clean, the Elite Gourmet brings a lot to any Korean BBQ party, and does it without some of the ceremony and fuss of harder, more heavyweight units.
Add a sweet budget-friendly price point to the mix, and the Elite Gourmet becomes a very attractive prospect.
- Adjustable heat control
- Large cooking area
- Easy to break down and clean
- Not very portable – electric powered and comes with a very short cord
Best Indoor Grill For Korean BBQ Buying Guide
When buying an indoor grill for Korean BBQ, keep a few things in mind.
Authenticity Of Flavor
There are some essentials if you want to get the same results as you tasted in a Korean restaurant.
Make sure your machine can deliver high heat, effective grease and dripping run-off, and enough space to let each element breathe.
If you can get division between each element, so much the better for clarity of flavor.
Ease Of Cleaning
Check out what the grill you’re thinking of does to make your life easier in terms of clean-up.
With traditional outdoor grills, you can get rough and tough with wire brushes to get rid of dead food particles, grease, and drippings.
With an indoor grill, you need to double-check a few things. How non-stick is the non-stick coating? What cleaning options are open to you – will it be dishwasher-safe, or do you need to wash it by hand?
How easy to clean is the drip tray? Korean BBQ is all about sharing, fun, and great taste. The last thing you want is more hassle than is necessary when it comes to clean-up.
Korean BBQ, Your Lifestyle
Sure, you want Korean BBQ as authentic as you can get, but you also want a machine that suits your lifestyle.
If you have limited ventilation or share an apartment-block, consider going for a smokeless grill for less commotion all round.
If you regularly have large gatherings, go for a larger cooking surface or you’re going to be working all night just to keep up with demand. Assess your life and lifestyle and factor it into your indoor grill choice.
Frequently Asked Questions
What makes Korean BBQ unique?
Many things – not least the variety of sauces, stews, and intense flavors involved.
In cooking terms, the very fact that it’s often done on an indoor grill is a key difference to most Western BBQ grilling.
Can I create Korean BBQ on my regular outdoor grill?
You certainly can – and it will bring a wow factor to any cookout you host.
The joy of Korean BBQ though is that you don’t have to use a big outdoor grill – indoor grills which can give you tableside options and shared participation are a big part of the fun of Korean BBQ.
How well ventilated does a room need to be to do Korean BBQ?
As well ventilated as you can make it. In some senses, this is no different from much of the other cooking you do in your kitchen.
Ventilation will reduce smoke and lingering cooking smells.
If you’re making Korean BBQ in other rooms to get its trademark immediacy, getting a smokeless model is your friend unless you have significant ventilation.