How to Make a BRAAI
Firstly what is a BRAAI
A Braai is roasting any type of meat on a Fire, this tradition of Braaing meat out in the open resonates from days gone by when no stoves where available and today this form of cooking out in the open still flourishes in South Africa.
How to Make a BRAAI
What is Needed
The most important factor of all are the COALS, when making a Braai. Knowing just how much heat is needed for the type of meat that one is to braai is imperative.
Wood Fired Braai's are by far the best, this is due to the amount of coals the wood produces. Charcoal fired braai's create large amount of coals, how ever charcoal does not offer one that woody taste that is so sought after. Gas fired Braai is a quick alternative to the original wood fired braai.
The actual BRAAI
This is the actual area and Braai that will be used to make the fire in and later roast the meat. As one can imagine almost anything will do, from a wheel barrow to a fire brick outdoor braai.
What matters most is the heat that the coals will produce and will the braai area be able to cope with it. Next is a suitable grid on which the meat will be placed and cooked. Expanded mesh (stainless steel) is the most suited.
It's going to get hot, so make sure that you have all the needed utensils prior to the Braai. Tongs are the most important utensils that one will need. Extended tongs are the most favorable. A stick long enough to move the coals around. A steel brush to clean the grid. Apron as this will also assist with the heat while in front of the open flames. Small bottle of water that can be used to calm open flame while braaing.
Making a braai in summer is just a way of life in South Africa. This is a social gathering of friends and family.
So what could be better than perfectly cooked meat while out in the open with some delicious summer salads. Any salad will do, cold potato salad, green salad, fruit salad and friends and family's laughter. Herewith some nice salad ideas while braaing.
How to Make a Braai
Getting Started with the BRAAI
Step 1. Chop Wood into smaller pieces
Step 2. Break firelighter and then neatly add smaller pices of wood. Light firelighter's
Step 3. Gradually add larger pieces of wood to the fire
Step 4. Add the grid to the fire and burn the grid clean, then use steel brush and clean completely
Step 5. Using a stick spread the coals under the grid. Make sure that you have no open flames prior to adding your meat
Step 6. Depending on the type of meat that you are braaing, turn the meat to ensure that it does not burn
Understanding the amount of wood that will be required for the braai is imperative so the rule of thumb is always have more than is needed.
Starting the Braai (Fire)
- Use a Ax to chop some smaller pieces of wood to get started
- Use a fire lighter and break into smaller pieces
- Neatly arrange the fire lighter in the center of the braai area
- Now add the smaller pieces of wood on top of the firelighter
- Carefully light the firelighter, and gradually add thicker pieces of wood
- Now add thicker pieces of wood to the fire sit back and relax
- When their are no more open flames add the grid to the fire
- The grid should be warmed up so that it can be cleaned
- Use a steel brush and ensure that the grid is completely cleaned
- Open the coals with a stick so that the entire area underneath the grid has enough heat to cook the meat
- Add the meat to the grid, steak should be added first as the heat will be more intense at this stage
- As the heat from the coals start cooling other meats can now be added
- Always stay close to the braai especially if flames start flaring up
- Once the meat is golden with seared lines its done
Duration from starting the fire to coals will depend on the type of wood being used. Once the coals are grayish this is the right time to add ones meat.
Regulating the Heat
Should you have added the meat to early to the braai and flames are now turning your meat into charcoal quickly either remove the meat from the grid or add small amounts of water to the area that is causing the problem. DO NOT ADD to much water. Certain braais are designed so that the grid can be adjusted according to the heat.
Turning the Meat
This will depend entirely on the type of meat that one is Braaing, Steak needs high heat and turned less, chicken on the other hand needs less heat and turned more often.
Vegetables are incredible on the braai as well rap them in tin foil and place in the area where the heat is not as intense.
How To Make a Braai and what to Remeber
Keep at It
Making a braai for the first time might be a daunting, regulating the heat and knowing when to add the meat to the grid and when the meat is cooked to perfection might take some practice. Note that making a braai should be fun, don't give up should your first time be a bit disappointing.
Keep at it, our Top Tip on making your first Braai is to use a easier meat such as sausage. This meat cooks quicker and also teaches one how often it should be turned while regulating the temperature.
Some Braai Recipes Enjoy
Heritage Tours & Safari's Rangers venture into the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and believe it or not they get to Braai each and every day. These Men and Woman have become true braai masters.
We asked them for some tips and what not to do while braaing.
Don't add to much charcoal or wood from the set go. We braai each day and have learnt over the years just how fast we can make coals. This is due to the fact that our clients what to enjoy the braai however eat and get back onto the game drive as quickly as possible. This poses certain issues as one can not get it wrong. We will add the firelighter and slowly add charcoal. Having enough air to burn the charcoal as quickly as possible is key.
It can be quite entertaining when it starts raining in the park and we have to provide a braai to our clients. My top tip is always have a umbrella handy. Not only will it help cover the braai area but can be very handy when it's really hot and shade is a big help. To get coals quicker I take a short cut when starting my Braai, I would make the fire on the actual grid as this allows more air in from the bottom as well.
Just being a lady and making a braai for men can be quite entertaining sometimes. One thing is for sure I have braaied more times than my fiance. My short cut on how to make a braai is when i have a half bag of charcoal. I will crumple the bag with the charcoal in it and then set the entire contents alight with firelighters. This helps me considerably in getting coals quicker so that I can get my clients back onto the game drive.