5 Rules to Braai
1SEEK OUT WOOD “Braais use wood or charcoal to generate heat,” says Andy Fenner in his recent book, Meat Manifesto. “Gas braais exist, but they’re a cop-out.” In South Africa, a local variety of bush willow called hardekool is the top choice. If you can’t get that past Customs, look for seasoned hardwood or lump charcoal (not briquettes, which contain chemicals).
2THINK ABOUT YOUR MEAT At Fenner’s shop, whole animals are sourced ethically from farmers he trusts. Likewise, do the research to locate a butcher shop that carries highquality, humanely raised meat, and can answer questions about its provenance.
3CONSIDER LAMB In the Cape, Karoo lamb is the champagne of sheep. “In the [Karoo] scrubland, the first thing you’ll notice is the smell,” writes Fenner. “It’s an intense, herbaceous aroma. Wild mint, wild rosemary, and other plants with glorious Afrikaans nicknames like skapbossie and silverkaroo—this unique, indigenous vegetation is what our sheep eat.”
4TAKE THE HEAT Braai heat should be varied according to ingredients. Boerewors, lamb rump, or thick steaks can be grilled over high heat; push coals aside, and cook fish and more delicate cuts of meat over indirect heat.
5BRING WINE At American BBQS, beer may prevail, but in Cape Town—a city surrounded by vineyards— wine is a braai staple. Look for chenin blanc from Mullineux & Leeu or A.A. Badenhorst, both from Swartland, a region north of the city.