10 South African Braai Tips

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South African Braai

  • Buy the best quality meat you can find, and ensure that it is aged before being braaied. Ripen beef in your fridge for one week prior to braaiing, and lamb for five days. Ageing your meat not only tenderizes it, but also greatly enhances its flavor.


  • For the tastiest, most tender fare, marinate your meat overnight. This will allow the meat to become infused with the rich flavor of the marinade. If you’re unable to marinate overnight, allow the meat to soak in the mixture for as long as possible prior to braaiing. Always store meat (marinated or not) in the fridge until you are ready to cook it.


  • If you’re braaiing with wood or coal, use fuel that produces long-lasting coals. Begin braaiing your meat only once the flames have died down and the embers are white-hot in colour. The grid, preferably non-stick or coated in non-stick spray, must be hot before the meat is placed onto it, and should be positioned roughly 10 centimeters above the coals.


  • Here’s an easy test to check whether the coals are ready for braaiing: Hold your hand above the embers for the count of 10. If you have to pull your hand away before you reach 10, the coals are still too hot. If you can comfortably hold your hand over the coals for much longer than the count of 10, the embers are too cool. In this case, lower the grid, or add more coal or fire to create fresh, hotter embers.


  • Make cooking chicken a cinch! For juicy, tender chicken, microwave or boil the meat (preferably marinated) for 10 to 20 minutes prior to braaiing. Once you place it on the fire, cover it with a lid and allow to simmer, turning occasionally so that the meat remains soft while the skin becomes crispy.


  • Want perfectly succulent cuts? Don’t turn the meat too often whilst braaiing. Seal the meat, then allow one side to become golden brown in color before flipping it over to brown the other side.


  • Never add salt to meat prior to cooking as it results in toughness. Rather, sprinkle braai salt over your meat after it has been cooked, or just before it is done.


  • Braais are not just for cooking meat! You can also prepare mealies, potatoes, braai broodjies and other delicious goodies over the coals. Ensure that when you cover these items with tin foil, the shiny side is facing inwards. Use thick, heavyweight foil to prevent food from burning.


  • No one likes cleaning up – but you can simplify the process of cleaning your grill by rubbing half a raw onion or half a lemon on it while the grill is still hot. This helps to lift dirt from the grill while adding delicious flavor to the next batch of meat. Less elbow-grease, more enjoyment!


Something savory, something sweet – once you’ve cooked the meat, treat your guests to a sweet, indulgent delight! Take a couple of bananas and slit the peel along the inner curve. Fill with thin slices of Bar One chocolate and, if you like, a dash of liqueur. Wrap the bananas tightly in tin foil and place on the braai until the peel is dark brown in color. Unwrap the fruit carefully and serve with ice-cream. Lekker!

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