Do you worry about the rust? I leave mine outside uncovered, and it's got some rust on it. Should I remove the rust and make the effort to prevent future rusting? Or maybe it doesn't really matter? What do the rest of you do about this little grill?
I've had the same issues. I thought I took fairly good care of my hibachi, making sure to always give it a good once-over with some oil after it had cooled down somewhat. However, upon looking at it today, I found a fair bit of rust throughout the grill. Did I do something wrong here? Is cooking marinated meats on the grill a no-no?
Always treat your hibachi like you would any other piece of cast iron cookware: * Brush off any remaining food particles while it is still hot. * Lube it up with a high temp cooking spray or vegetable oil on a cloth. * Store in a dry location, preferably indoors. ***(Never bring the hibachi indoors with live coals because of the CO danger) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide
I always clean cast iron while its hot with water only and a brush. I also dry it with heat then oil it while warm. The key is to keep the moisture out. If you're storing you might want to put a heavier coat of oil on it and cover with paper towels.
The longer I own it the less I worry about it. I do keep canola spray handy and make an effort to keep the grill top grate as free from rust and other particles as possible. Before placing the grill top (grate) on the hot grill I spray it both top and bottom. I keep the unit in my covered gas grill and just close the lid until the next day or so to cool. Then I clean the grill top grate in my kitchen sink with hot water and a stiff brush, dry it, and spray it again and warm it up in the oven. I take the 2 "doors" off the grill and dump the ashes in the garbage, making sure to save the bottom grate. Reassemble and it's ready to go again. A little bit of rust is evident but does not seem to be an issue.
I have found that cleaning while the grill is warm and then giving it a liberal spray with aerosol Olive Oil (I prefer this to Pam or other coatings) keeps mine rust free. I keep mine outside in a larger grill with a cover and so far, it hasn't developed any rust. I get the generic spray olive oil locally for like 2.00 a can and a can lasts for a while.
I am going to use this method instead of the painting method. Just a personal preference.
I see some rust creeping onto this thing after just a few uses. It has been kept on my covered porch, so it doesn't get rained on, but it is exposed to dampness. Unfortunately the thing is so hot after cooking that I don't see how I could clean, cover or move it until the next morning.
I put mine in a suncast premium plastic deck box that I bought from Kmart for around $30 or so. It hasn't gotten any rust and it fits inside perfectly. I just put some tile squares on the lid and put hibachi on the tiles, then I'm ready to go. clean when cool then oil. PS... I don't use charcoal only wood. Cools down in a couple hours.