Across all of South Africa’s crazy and wonderful cultural touchstones, none are quite so universally loved and appreciated as a good old braai.
Nothing quite beats lighting up the coals, standing around with a drink and catching up while the music plays, and then slapping some delicious cuts of meat and wors on the grill for a smell and sizzle that every South African knows too well.
Celebrating Heritage Day on September 24 means hosting one of the best braais of the year. If you’re hoping to have your friends and family over for braai where everything goes as planned, then here are some tips you should consider following.
Keep The Meat From Sticking
When you slap a fresh piece of meat on the braai, it can sometimes stick to the grill, causing it to tear and fall apart when you try to turn it. Fresh fish is a notorious offender in this regard, but it can happen with chicken and pork as well.
The easiest way to fix this ‒ in a way that will make others admire your braaing skills ‒ is to toss a few lemon slices down first and place the meat on top of that. This will not only prevent the meat from sticking, but it will also flavour the meat wonderfully as it cooks.
Everyone has different opinions on what to do with sauces and marinades. However, there are some basic principles to follow.
If the marinade is sugary and sweet, like the Nou Gaan Ons Braai Schweet & Spicy, avoid adding too much at first. Rather, baste your meat with a brush towards the final third of its cooking time, turning it regularly to get a nice sticky finish. If you add the sugary sweet marinade too early, it is likely to burn and create an unpleasant black crust around the meat ‒ especially if the coals are still very hot.
Vinegary marinades, like the Sauce-a-licious Lemon & Herb Sauce, should be added beforehand. Soak your meat in it overnight if you can. The acid in the vinegar will tenderise the meat a bit and absorb into it, flavouring it throughout. When you cook it over the fire, the bulk of this will evaporate from the heat, leaving behind the flavour that was absorbed into the meat. The longer it can sink in beforehand, the more flavourful the meat will be.
Use The Coals Wisely
The trickiest part of braaing is making sure you don’t burn the meat by braaing when the coals are still too hot, but also knowing when to start so that it doesn’t get too cold. This is easy enough when you braai alone, but it can become tricky when you’re managing a single grill with lots of meat to manage for a large party of people.
One neat trick is to stack the coals to one side of the braai when you start, rather than in the centre. This way, when they are still raging hot, you can start braaing some cuts like chicken or fish over the side of the braai where there are no coals underneath. If you put a lid on the braai, they will create an oven effect and will avoid burning the meat. As the coals cool down, you can spread them out a bit more to braai other cuts of meat directly over them.
For the most delicious sauces and marinades to elevate your Heritage Day braai to the next level, get your sauces today!