Last summer, following the advice of Russ Parsons in an old Los Angeles Times article on yakitori, I took my first attempt at home-cooked yakitori. Before that, I had only experienced the yakitori made by the professional grillers at the now-closed Yakitori Torys. This summer, my education in making yakitori at home is expanding light years with the publication of Tadashi Ono and Harris Salat's The Japanese Grill: From Classic Yakitori to Steak, Seafood, and Vegetables.
The first thing I learned was that I was pretty much doing it all wrong. Mainly, by grilling the skewers in direct contact with the grill.
Instead, Ono and Salat suggest wrapping bricks in foil to approximate a Japanese konro-style grill, a rectangular, box-like charcoal-fired grill made from ceramics or metal (the Japanese knife shop Korin sells a small tabletop one for $169 were you to truly feed your yakitori obsession). First, this protects the naked ends of the skewers from burning (or at least from burning as quickly as they do resting right on the grill). Second, suspended above the grates, they are far enough away that they can't be reached by flare-ups. Third, it just looks cool.
Try it yourself if you have some spare bricks lying around, or at least until you can convince yourself and your loved ones that you really do need that little konro grill.