Braai etiquette

You may have seen I refer to braai a few time in my blog. Yes, this is similar to what a Brit might call “barbeque” in that you cook outside, on charcoal. That’s about where the similarity ends.

As a Brit, only South African by marriage, I have had to learn the rules of the braai over more than a decade. Tricky as I did work as a grill-chef for several years, which does make me slightly more qualified than the average bloke with a can of beer!  How did I know I might be causing offence by innocently picking up the tongs…. (see rule #2)

  • always charcoal or, better still, kameel hout (exception being use of camping-gas in fire-risk areas, using a skottel)
  • women must not interfere with the braai – keep yourself busy making salad (1-2 is plenty) or arranging napkins and cutlery
  • only the braai master will turn meat or decide if more charcoal is to be added 
  • the braai master will need regular hydration; Hansa or Castle are suitable options
  • this is no land for burgers or bangers
  • no place for “veggie” kebabs either – there’s salad coming from somewhere

Dogma aside, what can you cook? What can’t you cook?!  My Oom Steve does the most AMAZING pork ribs. I also had a delicious T-bone steak that I hope, one day, to recreate. We’ve successfully cooked a chicken, a big hunk of beef and salmon fillets on our Weber. 

Latest experiment involved smoking a slab of brisket, on the low heat after cooking dinner. We threw on a handful of soaked hickory woodchips and left it to take on the awesome aroma for a couple for hours. This didn’t completely cook the joint so it went into a low oven the next evening for a couple of hours.

Result: subtly smoky, and super-tender beef. Nom nom nom 🙂

Braai-baked mussels

This experiment came about after a conversation over several beers – who says alcohol has no benefits?!

Having seen Rick Stein effectively bonfire a pile of mussels on TV a few years ago, we thought we have a go at but using the braai as we don’t have a beach to cook on.

Rather than just make a foil parcel and steam them (en papillote) we wanted to get that smoky, baked flavour you get from grilling seafood right over the fire but the mussels would fall straight through the bars onto the charcoal, and that just wouldn’t do. I considered a DIY project involving a bit of metalwork but then the easier option presented itself – a cheap BBQ wok sold at the supermarket. Comes with a foldable handle so we’ll be able to put the lid. Now, just to wait for the pesky molluscs to be back in season – simples 🙂

DSCN2039 (2)

Braai sacrament of penance

Bless me Father for I have sinned. It has been 1 month since my last braai. These are my sins:

  • passing off shop bought “BBQ” as braai leftovers
  • refusing to buy charcoal as I’m wearing light coloured trousers
  • considering making a braai on my own, while hubby was away (different area codes…)
  • saying that Chipotle carnitas taste as good a braai
  • leaving the braai in its covers while the sunshines

I am sorry for these sins and all the sins I can’t remember – there may have been a few times where I was tired or too much wine was consumed. You know how it goes. I will remedy this today.

Go in Peace.

Thanks be to Weber.

Bank holiday weekend

It’s a 4-day weekend for Easter so that means lots of extra special food.  Can’t have Easter without lamb and chocolate treats but that can get a bit expensive, so good to make the most of the time, effort and money. Looks like we timed the braai just right as today it’s rainy, thunder and lightening. The works. 

True to form, at the point you’ve finish cooking the meal the charcoal is just hot enough to cook a small pig. So when the boerwors, pork belly strips and lamb were cooked to perfection we bunged on chicken drums and thighs on the bone to chargrill and get some lovely smoke on. Used a lot of willpower and didn’t eat them yesterday. Got them wrapped and in the fridge ready for lunches (drums) and to be shredded into curry (thighs) so we have low effort meals sorted.  

At this time of year I tend to make big batches of dressed salads; coleslaw, sweet potato salads and roast veg, so we have those ready to pick at for a few days. Bit of extra effort up front, but turns the fridge into a deli-counter which is handy when we don’t know what the weather will be doing.

Also managed to bag a free dessert from leftovers in the fridge! Had a half mango (from making salsa last week), some sliced pineapple (left over from Piña colada chicken recipe), bananas and some fresh coconut chunks. Double-wrapped in foil with a few knobs of unsalted butter and splash of Calvados, and left on the braai while we ate dinner. Would have been good with a dollop of vanilla ice cream but Yummmmmm 🙂

Looking forward to a few days of braai leftovers while pretending it’s still Summer!


Ons gaan nou braai!

Hubby gets home this afternoon after 3 weeks away in Asia – yay!!!!! Super excited 😀

I’ve checked the weather reports and we’re due a whole 2 days without rain, and up to a balmy 21°c, if a bit cloudy but let’s not be too fussy here.   Ons gaan nou braai!

Got all his favourites; meat, meat and more meat. Not forgetting the other 50% of the plate; there’s a grilled peach, bresaola and goat’s cheese salad, and minted peas and beans.

For pudding, braai-baked bananas with banana-monkey icecream. (yes, it’s paleo 🙂 )

Hopefully like the surprise and will stay awake long enough to eat all that.


Got nothing on this lot, though: