The origin of the word “braai” is the Dutch word “braden”, which means “roasting”. Since its first utterance hundreds of years ago, the braai has become synonymous with social gatherings around a fire, the equipment and utensils used to roast the meat, and the act of cooking the meat itself. As time has moved on, the social association hasn’t changed, but we have become a little more sophisticated with our equipment – with the built-in braai being the undeniable mark of a person who cannot live without his braai, come rain or shine.
If you’re planning on getting a built-in braai installed, this article will give you all the tips you need, including how to select the correct components, find a reliable installer, and how to choose a built-in braai that’s right for you.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT TIME TO INSTALL
Ready to upgrade your braai area? In South Africa, where summer heat can soar, it helps to pay attention to the temperature ranges indicated on materials for handling. Noted on product labels, you’ll find that certain materials can’t be applied in excessive heat. If possible, try and opt for a milder time of year to install your built-in braai. Temperate days make for faster, more thorough drying and a more efficient construction project altogether.
CONSIDER YOUR BUILT-IN BRAAI LOCATION
Is your braai area sheltered from harsh winds, rain, and direct sun? Where your built-in braai is situated will determine the particulars and long-term success of your project. Also ensure you allow enough room for cooking and easily moving around the braai. Your preparation area should also be easily accessible and allow enough space to entertain guests.
SELECT THE RIGHT BUILT-IN BRAAI FOR YOU
Built-in braais are a great choice because they provide versatile cooking means – from potjies and steaks to bread and pizza. But selecting the perfect built-in braai for your needs can be difficult. Fortunately, Megamaster stocks everything you need (and need to know) to become the ultimate braai legend.
Check out our range of built-in braais to find a model that’s right for you and your social circle’s needs. Our Sizzler range, for example, is great for new homeowners looking to add value to the entertainment area. If you want something a little hotter, our Deluxe range offers a premium option. Equipped with four grid slides, a potjie hook, ash pan, cowl and base, our Deluxe series ensures optimal cooking space for lasting quality entertainment.
FIND A RELIABLE INSTALLER
Understandably, most people want to try and avoid mounting costs. However, paying a professional to install your built-in braai is well worth the investment. A well-built braai area will add value to both your experience and property value. An amateur effort could very well achieve the opposite.
A professional installer will already be aware that a chimney should be at least 200cm high for proper ventilation. A professional will also know to use a flue pipe; the smooth surface will protect your brick or stonework and allow for a better smoke draw.
To help you with the selection process, we’ve compiled a list of independent installers who can help transform your dream into a full-fledged, functional reality.
SPECIFY THE CORRECT COMPONENTS
A well-constructed built-in braai can be seen as the cornerstone of any good South African home. With that in mind, it pays to stress the details – right up till the end of the project.
Once you have selected a reputable supplier to install your new built-in braai, the next step is to supply them with the right building and braai parts. You’ll find a detailed breakdown of all the components required to complete your build in the images below.
THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN INSTALLING A BUILT-IN BRAAI
Although we highly recommend hiring an installation expert, if you do plan to install it yourself, here are some practical tips to consider:
- Establish the correct ground clearance for you – the braaier. Usually, it will be somewhere in the vicinity of 80cm to a metre.
- Allow for vents in the enclosure as well as moisture drainage.
- Leave a space of 2cm to 3cm between the braai and the enclosure. This will ensure proper ventilation for excess heat to escape. It will also help to make sure that there is no direct contact between the braai and the building materials of the enclosure.
- Add an insulating agent like Ceramic Blanket between the braai and the building.
- Ensure that your braai rests on a solid, heat-resistant surface – a concrete, stone, or clay brick slab will work well.
BEFORE PRIME STEAK, PRIME YOUR BRAAI
Before you start using your newly installed built-in braai, remember to prime it first. This process entails initiating your braai with a small, slow-burning fire. In doing so, you will burn away any resin and debris from the building materials used.
You may notice a short burst of smoke; this indicates that the remaining paint, resin, and debris are clearing and that your new pride and joy will soon be braai-ready. The small fire will also help the braai and surrounding structure to cure and settle. As the braai and building materials heat up, it will expand slightly and settle once it cools down.
KNOW YOUR BUILT-IN BRAAI ACCESSORIES
Right, it’s time to braai! Start your fire in the built-in braai’s ember maker. Once you are ready to start cooking your meat, select your braai level and temperature. Usually, your braai grid has three levels of heat control. The lowest level is perfect for steak and chops, and the second for wors and chicken. The highest level works wonders for making crispy braaibroodjies, garlic bread or braai pizzas. Alternatively, if you’re making a potjie – remember to use the potjie hook.
We also have a wide range of built-in braai accessories to choose from. From tongs to gloves, you can find everything you need in our online store.
Wondering what to cook on your built-in braai? Check out our braai recipes.