National Braai Day is a few days away and with our help you will be ready to become everyone's favourite Braai Master.
Anyone can braai, but it is not simply a matter of slapping the meat onto the grill – there is an art to learn how to cook your meat perfectly. If your braaing skills need a little brushing up, or you want to learn something new, then be sure to check out our tips below.
1. Place your meat on the grill, only when the coals reach the right temperature. To test if the coals are ready, hold your hand over the braai, if you can count to 10, without pulling your hand away, then you are almost ready to start braaing.
2. Add a lovely flavour to the food you’re grilling, by either throwing some fresh rosemary on the hot coals or placing a bay leaf or two the meat.
3. Another tip to add flavour is to cut an onion in half & rub the onion on the grate.
4. Keep the meat tender and succulent, by squeezing fresh lemon juice over the meat, this will enhance the natural flavour of the meat.
5. If you are grilling fish, place a few slices of lemon on the grate then place the fish on top, this way the fish won’t stich & and the lemon enhances the flavour.
6. Braaing chicken pieces and ribs can be tricky. It is therefore essential to parboil the white meat before placing them on an open flame. This way you’ll avoid burning the marinade and drying out the meat.
7. Marinate a whole chicken & wrap in tin foil before placing it on the braai, when the coals are at a medium to low temperature. This will ensure that the chicken cooks evenly.
8. If you like your steak to be as tender as possible, then you should only cook it for a few minutes, over a very high heat. To do this, you should gather all the coals together in one spot and place your steak directly over this area.
9. Steak should be left to rest for about 5 to 10 minutes to re-absorb some of its juices and continue cooking a little – remove the steak from the fire just before it’s done to your liking.
10. Cook meat in the correct order. Start by cooking the meat that takes the longest and finish with the meat that cooks fastest – therefor start with the chicken, then move to the sausage, chops and ribs and always finish with the streak as these cook the fastest.
11. Use a pair of tongs, never a fork to turn your meat, a fork makes holes and the juices run out each time you turn the meat.
12. Place an ice cube on top of the burger while you grill it, the ice will help you grill the perfect burgers.
13. If you're struggling with wet wood, just sprinkle plain white sugar over your stack and light with Blitz. Sugar burns at a high temperature so you increase the internal temp of the stack.
14. For the sweet tooth skewer some fruit and scorch on the braai for a bit before dipping in melted chocolate.
Some ideas of braai side dishes (most of them can be prepared on the grill)
· Braaied potatoes: wrap them in foil, throw them in the coals, and smear some butter on after they’re done (sweet potatoes with butter and honey before they go in the foil is just as yummy).
Garlic mushrooms: season large black mushrooms with garlic, salt and pepper; (add some cheese if you prefer), now wrap them in foil, before braaing on the coals.
Garlic bread: to prevent garlic bread from burning, place them on the side of the grid at the start of the braai and remove it only after the meat is done.
Braaibroodjie (grilled sandwich): this side dish is about as South African as it gets. Best to tie up the sandwich like a parcel using cotton string so the contents won’t fall into the fire when you turn it.
Salad: potato salad is a braai classic, but a regular green salad always works well too.
Now that you know some cool braaing tips, grab your family and friends and enjoy the awesome occasion of a South African braai!
If you have a braai tip or technique of your own to share, please let us know.
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