Big Green Egg or bin­chotan, asado or braai – there’s more than one way to stoke a fire. We ask chefs for their hot tips and tricks for sum­mer grilling.

Gourmet Traveller (Australia) - - News -

There’s more than one way to stoke a fire. We ask chefs for their hot tips and tricks for sum­mer grilling.

My num­ber-one bar­be­cue rule is that the per­son bar­be­cu­ing makes the fire, al­ways. This is fol­lowed closely by a gen­eral rule that we have in South Africa: when you’re a guest, the only help you’re al­lowed to give is to make sure the per­son cook­ing al­ways has a drink in his or her hand.

Braai, South African bar­be­cue, is not al­ways about the food, but it’s al­ways about the booze (in my case chilled reds and cheap beer). My fa­ther taught me to bar­be­cue. We used to braai four or five times a week when I was grow­ing up – I was al­ways around fire. In fact, we pretty much moved our lounge room out­side, tele­vi­sion and all. These days at home I have a set-up of three We­bers, all used for var­i­ous types of cook­ing: smok­ing, spit-roast­ing, grilling. I also have a cast-iron pot, called a potjie, that sits over an open fire, and a skot­tel, an out­door South African wok.

I re­ally love hot-smok­ing a chicken in my We­ber. I serve it well rested and at room tem­per­a­ture with a coleslaw, or with ice­berg let­tuce and an­chovy dress­ing. I al­ways sea­son my birds with sea salt, white pep­per and thinly sliced fresh bay leaves. And I sea­son be­fore cook­ing, dur­ing and af­ter the bird is cooked – that part is cru­cial. It’s quite easy to un­der­cook the legs of poul­try, which is why you have to make sure you rest your bird long enough. The more juices you save, the more likely you can make a kick-arse chicken dress­ing with them, too.

This sum­mer I’ll be do­ing plenty of cau­li­flower, leek, beet­root and cab­bage as sides – ba­si­cally any­thing that can take di­rect flame with­out too much at­ten­tion. That’s the thing with braai – you want to be at­ten­tive but not too at­ten­tive. I hate when peo­ple keep turn­ing things, prod­ding the meats, screw­ing around with the fire. When it’s good to go, it’s good to go. Just re­lax and let the em­bers do the work.

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