How to Do Hibachi Tricks

How to Do Hibachi Tricks (Image: LauriPatterson/E+/GettyImages)

Whether or not you like traditional Japanese cuisine, almost everyone loves a trip to a hibachi restaurant. You just can't beat fried rice, steak and chicken cooked right in front of you on a flaming hot grill. The entertainment that the chef provides just adds to the fun of the whole experience.

If you really want to impress someone, you can learn to do hibachi tricks yourself. Although the egg toss, vegetable toss and onion volcano are traditional hibachi tricks, with a lot of practice, you can learn to do them yourself. This might or might not get you a job at a Japanese restaurant, but it can be a great way to entertain friends.

Develop Knife Skills

The key to being able to do the classic hibachi tricks is to have excellent knife skills. If you're uncomfortable with knives or not efficient at cutting up meat and vegetables, then work to improve these skills before you think about any tricks.

Get yourself a quality knife and a cutting board and practice cutting vegetables. Cut many different types of vegetables in any way that you can imagine, including slices, strips, finely diced and roughly chopped. Concentrate on keeping your pieces uniform, keeping your knife strokes even and working quickly.

Practice this until the act of chopping vegetables is almost automatic. This might seem tedious, but attempting to work with a knife and toss vegetables over a hibachi grill is a recipe for disaster if your knife skills aren't already exceptional.

Juggling and Chopping

Juggling spatulas and knives and chopping vegetables quickly and evenly are the basic hibachi tricks. This is why knife skills are so important. The ability to quickly and effectively dismember a zucchini, carrot or cut of meat assures the audience or anyone watching that you know what you're doing.

For the home chef, the ability to juggle and chop sets the stage for the entertainment to come. Practice tossing and catching spatulas until you can do it quickly and with confidence. Since knives are more dangerous to throw around, practice with a second spatula or large fork or spoon and be sure to only grab the end that is not sharp.

Once you can juggle your utensils, you can start to practice over a griddle. The chances of burning or otherwise injuring yourself increase significantly once the heat is on, so don't skimp on the practice time.

Vegetable or Meat Tosses

Tossing meat and vegetables into bowls or the audience members' mouths is a classic hibachi trick. In order to do this, you need to be able to chop your vegetables into uniform sizes and then use your knife or spatula to fling them at a target.

Practice this by setting bowls at various places around a table and chopping and tossing food into the bowls. Developing the skill to do this accurately takes plenty of practice, so don't despair if you don't get it right away.

Egg Toss Tricks

Eggs are more fragile than meat or vegetables, making learning to toss them around a bit more difficult. If you are working on tossing an egg from one spatula to another, practice with a golf ball first. It is about the right size and shape, and it won't break every time you miss a toss.

Once you can catch the golf ball on your spatula without it making a sound, try it with an egg. You can work on breaking the egg over your spatula intentionally rather than accidentally as you practice.

Onion Volcano Trick

The onion volcano is the signature hibachi trick and a perennial crowd favorite. To do this trick, chop an onion into 1/4-inch slices. Take one slice and use your knife to separate the rings.

Place the largest ring on the bottom and stack the other rings on top of it from largest to smallest to form a cone. Squirt some vegetable oil or clear alcohol such as sake or vodka into the center of the cone and light it on fire.

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