Japanese Summer BBQ Hibachi Party: Ideas for Food, Drinks, Desserts

p>If you’re feeling a bit adventurous and want to try fascinating new flavors for your summer BBQ, we highly recommend a Japanese-inspired “hibachi party”! If you can rent, borrow, or buy one, using a traditional Japanese charcoal brazier known as a “hibachi” will be a fun experience in itself. Then, of course, there are the famed grilled specialties of Japan (recipes below!), plus popular side dishes, drinks, and desserts. Your hibachi party guests are in for a treat, we promise! (*this post contains affiliate links)

Signature Grilled Dishes from Japan

If you already love Japanese cuisine, then you’ll surely enjoy this delicious grilled selection. If Japan’s food is new to you, have fun discovering BBQ dishes flavored the Japanese way!


Marinated in a savory sweet sauce, Yakitori (1) is chicken cubes and scallions on bamboo skewers, grilled over traditional Japanese binchotan charcoal.

These Japanese Hibachi BBQ Pork Sticks (2) are strips of pork belly rashers marinated for 24 hours in a mix of soy sauce, wasabi paste, sesame seeds, and sushi and dashi seasonings – then served with a wasabi mayonnaise dipping sauce.

Technically not a “grilled” dish, Yakiniku (3) is made with slices of Japanese beef (ideally Kobe rib-eye steaks), green pepper, and scallions stir-fried in a special sauce made with soy sauce, sake and mirin (2 kinds of Japanese rice wine).

If you’d like to explore Japanese seafood BBQ dishes, a must-try is this Grilled Salmon with Peppered Soy Glaze (4), super-flavorful thanks to ginger, red and black pepper, soy sauce, and fresh lime – and served with grilled bok choy (Chinese cabbage). Or for the more adventurous, we found this recipe for Roy’s Hibachi Grilled Oysters (5), accompanied by a citrus-soy sauce made with lemon, lime, and orange juice and a mix of special spices available in Asian food stores.

Recipe sources: 1 – Just One Cookbook / 2 – Pork.com / 3 – Huntspoint / 4 – McCormick / 5 – Foodland

Japanese Side Dishes to Match

To complement all that grilled goodness, here are sides that you can choose from – some seemingly familiar, but with a Japanese twist.


Japanese potato salad (1) is colorful, creamy, and crunchy as the potatoes are mashed with the dressing, then loaded with ham, carrots, and pickled cucumbers and onions. Wasabi Coconut Coleslaw (2) is a chilled cabbage salad with the kick of wasabi and cilantro.

Tsukemono (5) or pickled cabbage is a standard accompaniment to a Japanese meal as it freshens the palate between flavorful dishes. Another popular side and snack is edamame (3) or young soybeans. In this recipe, the beans are boiled then tossed in a mixture of sea salt, wasabi powder, and ground ginger.

Finally, a Japanese meal must have rice. Here, Gomoku Fried Rice (4) includes pork, shitake mushrooms, carrots, and green pepper flavored with soy sauce, sake, and oyster sauce.

Recipe sources: 1 – PBS.org / 2 – Kewpie USA / 3 – Weight Watchers / 4 – Kikkoman / 5 – Just One Cookbook

Have Fun with Japanese Desserts

Looking as pretty as they are delicious, here is a selection of sweet treats from Japan. Take your pick to complete your summer BBQ menu.


A great frozen dessert for summer, these matcha milk tea pops (1) are made with organic green tea, almond milk, honey, and chopped strawberries. Or how about a fresh fruit salad topped with Kewpie mayonnaise (2), a widely popular ingredient in many Japanese snacks and dishes for decades.

For some traditional dessert choices, consider Crispy Mirin Kasu Cookies (4) which are made with rice yeast (mirin kasu), condensed milk, egg, butter, and cornflakes. Delight your guests with taiyaki (5), fish-shaped pancakes cooked in a special molded press. Or simply prepare bowls of assorted wagashi (3), traditional Japanese confections, for everyone to help themselves.

Recipes & sources: 1 – Numi Tea / 2 – Kewpie Co. Japan / 3 – Wagashi (affiliate link from Amazon) / 4 – Recipe Nijiya / 5 – Taiyaki maker (affiliate link from Amazon)

Grill-friendly Japanese Drinks

Want to go authentic with the BBQ beverages, too? Check out these thirst-quenching drink choices from Japan.


Cold teas would be a great way to keep everyone refreshed. Lychee iced green tea (1) using lychee-flavored syrup, or iced mugi-cha (2) (roasted barley tea) with its coffee-like, nutty flavor both sound tempting, don’t you think?

Serve your guests Japanese soft drinks (3) in a variety of different flavors ranging from melon to strawberry. Make sure you have lots of ice because these drinks are great when served cold.

Then, of course, you have a choice of world-famous brands of Japanese beer  to serve in place of the regular U.S. beers at BBQs. Need help with where to buy? Or maybe have some cold sake (4) for guests to sample. You may also refer to Experience Sake for a guide on how to choose and serve.

Or to go back to basics, have a pitcher of ice-cold Japanese green tea brewed from matcha powder, tea bags or from loose tea leaves. All these options are available from vendors online or at the Asian section of large supermarkets.

Recipes & sources: 1 – Torani.com / 2 – Spontaneous Tomato / 3 – Japanese soft drinks (affiliate link from Amazon)  / 4 – sake (image: Hideyoshi Inc.)

So, will you be “turning Japanese” at one of your backyard BBQ parties this summer?

This post contains affiliate links and Bellenza, Inc. will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking the affiliate links. You can find our disclosure statement here.

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