BECOME THE MASTER OF YOUR FIRE WITH THESE 5 BRAAI TIPS
As South Africans, a braai is as much a part of our culture as cheese is to the Dutch. It's what we do! We've always celebrated our best and most memorable moments with a good meal cooked on open flames. Without it, we would be lost and wandering the world, not knowing who we are or from where we come. But just because you are a South African and love to snack on sizzling boerewors straight off the fire, doesn't mean you know how to make the perfect braai just yet. There's always room for learning more tricks to master the art of cooking on flames.
Read our tips below and find out how to get the very best out of your fire.
1. ADD SOME FLAVOUR
Sage is the perfect herb to bring to your braai. It goes particularly well with fatty meats. But beware, it's a strong flavour - especially when it's dried - so use sparingly. Rosemary's lemon-pine flavour pair well with lamb and pork. Be bold with it when you're braaiing those chops. And if it's fish on the braai, thyme is your best option with its subtle, earthy taste.
Top Tip: Throw sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary or thyme onto your fire. It will give your braai meat added flavour and enhance the ambience with a pleasant aroma.
2. FISHY BUSINESS
For succulent, perfectly braaied fish, cook over a moderate heat and keep the skin on to keep the tender flesh from burning or falling apart. If you're braaiing directly on the grid, brush the fish lightly with oil to keep it from sticking. You'll know your fish is ready when it's changed evenly in colour, and the flesh separates into flakes.
Top Tip: When life gives you lemons, braai fish! Arrange your fish fillets on lemon slices on a braai to prevent sticking, and boost the flavour.
3. SWEETEN IT UP
Everyone loves a braaibroodjie. And who doesn't love something sweet? So, swap the standard cheese, tomato, onions and chutney for a full-on dessert braaibroodjie! Sweeten things up with chocolate spread, sliced banana and marshmallows. The kids will love it!
Top Tip: For a healthier braai pudding option, consider using fruit for a delicious dessert. Placing firm, but ripe fruit on the braai grid releases an unforgettable smoky, sweet flavour like none other.
Make sure your grid is clean, using the right cleaning accessories, before heating over the coals.
Add your fruit with a light dusting of sugar and cinnamon. Sliced banana, pineapple, mango, peaches, melon or pears are just some of the fruits you can skewer and braai. Serve with ice-cream, cream or melted chocolate.
4. BUSTING OUT WITH BASTING
For a delicious basting idea, try this recipe: Heat sugar, soy sauce and balsamic vinegar in a saucepan over moderate heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, add paprika, peri-peri, garlic flakes, mixed dried herbs and tomato paste. Cook for 2 minutes or until thickened, then allow to cool before using. Baste your meat regularly and turn often to prevent the sauce from burning.
Top Tip: Looking for braai perfection when basting your meat? Try spritzing. Ditch the brush in favour of a spray bottle.
5. LIGHT YOUR FIRE
To light the perfect fire, always use dry wood. Wet or newly cut wood won't burn well. Then, place two pieces of wood parallel to each other. Place your firelighters in the middle of the wood. Stack another two pieces of wood on top of the bottom pieces at 90 degrees. Continue packing your wood like this until you have used at least 10 pieces. Now light your firelighters. Once your fire is going, leave it alone! The fire will take about 45 minutes until the coals are ready to be cooked on.
Top Tip: Make a firelighter that also keeps the mozzies at bay. We're about to change your life! Collect used teabags, dip in citronella oil, let it dry, and use to start your fire.