HOW TO BRAAI PER­FECTLY

Try these tips to up your braai game

YOU Best Recipes: Braai - - Contents -

SE­LECT­ING LAMB CHOPS

Chops should be 2-2,5 cm thick, other­wise the meat dries out. The best cuts are rib and loin.

STEP BY STEP

For chops that are about 2,5 cm thick.

1 Score the fat rind of the chops to pre­vent curl­ing. If pre­ferred, the fat can be re­moved en­tirely – it’s health­ier and will pre­vent the coals from flam­ing up.

2 Place the grid 5-15 cm above the coals. 3 Ar­range the chops in a row, fat side up,

SE­LECT­ING STEAKS

The ideal steak is about 3 cm thick. Rump and sir­loin have the most flavour and fil­let the least.

STEP BY STEP

1 Bring the steaks to room tem­per­a­ture.

Salt and let rest for at least an hour (it should rest for an hour at room tem­per­a­ture for ev­ery 2,5 cm of thick­ness after salt is added). Salt ini­tially draws mois­ture out of the meat. So if you add salt just be­fore you braai, the steak will be dry and the salt won’t pen­e­trate the meat. If you sea­son in ad­vance and let it rest first the salt dis­solves in the drawn-out mois­ture and the liq­uid is re­ab­sorbed into the meat. If you add herbs or spices to the salt, it will be drawn into the meat in the same way.

2 Place the grid 5-15 cm above very hot coals.

3 Char the meat well on one side be­fore and thread a skewer un­der the fat strip to hold them to­gether.

4 Braai the fat side over hot coals un­til crisp. 5 Re­move the skewer and braai on the meat side for about 8 min­utes over mod­er­ate coals for medium-rare chops.

TASTY TIP

Whole legs and shoul­ders taste best if ma­tured. Choose cuts with a thin­nish fat layer, rub with a cloth soaked in vine­gar and leave in the fridge, un­cov­ered, for 2-5 days. Braai 1½ hours for 1,7-2,7 kg.

turn­ing it for the first time. Turn the steak ev­ery 2 min­utes with tongs, not a fork.

4 After braai­ing, let the steak rest for 10 min­utes.

Braai times (for a 3 cm-thick steak)

Rare 5-6 min­utes

Rare to medium-rare 7-8 min­utes Medium-done 8-10 min­utes

Medium- to well-done 10-11 min­utes Well-done Steer clear! Steak should prefer­ably not be well-done.

TASTY TIP

Bone­less whole cuts (fil­let, rump or sir­loin) can be braaied whole. Seal the out­side well over very hot coals. Move the grid higher or scrape aside some of the coals to con­tinue cook­ing at a slower heat.

Rare 15 min­utes per 500 g meat + 15 min­utes ex­tra.

Medium-rare 20 min­utes per 500 g meat + 20 min­utes ex­tra.

SE­LECT­ING PORK CUTS

Chops and ribs are best for a braai. Spare ribs from the belly are the best; they’re firmer than baby back ribs. It’s no longer nec­es­sary to over­cook pork for hy­gienic rea­sons.

STEP BY STEP

1 Rub salt into the rind of large cuts to en­sure a crisp braai.

2 Mar­i­nate the meat be­fore­hand to en­sure suc­cu­lence. Pork is a lot leaner than it used to be so it can dry out eas­ily over the coals.

3 Ribs can be pre­cooked in stock un­til half done to re­duce the braai­ing time. Mari­nades tend to burn eas­ily and a shorter braai time also means the sauce will not burn as much. 4 Place the grid 5-15 cm above the coals.

SE­LECT­ING CHICKEN

Whole chicken works best on the spit, boned breasts in a ket­tle braai, and deboned breasts and wings are good on the fire. Deboned fil­lets are ideal for ke­babs.

STEP BY STEP

1 Make a few deep in­ci­sions in the flesh to en­sure even cook­ing.

2 Mar­i­nate the chicken if pre­ferred. Fil­lets and wings tend to dry out eas­ily so they ben­e­fit from be­ing mar­i­nated well in sauce. 3 If you’ve cho­sen a wet mari­nade, pat the chicken dry be­fore you put it over the coals to pre­vent the mari­nade from burn­ing.

4 Place the grid 10-15 cm above the coals.

5 Braai the chicken over mod­er­ate coals. Turn of­ten. Baste with mari­nade five min­utes be­fore the end of the braai process.

SE­LECT­ING FISH

Many fish species are on the en­dan­gered list so it’s best to choose fish on the green list of the World Wildlife Fund. These in­clude hake, kingk­lip, monk­fish, an­gelfish and snoek. If you’re un­sure whether a type of fish is on the green list, SMS its name to 079-499-8795 and you’ll re­ceive an im­me­di­ate re­ply.

STEP BY STEP

1 If you’re go­ing to mar­i­nate, don’t leave the fish in the sauce for more than a few hours as its mus­cle tex­ture breaks down more eas­ily than that of meat.

2 Brush a fold­ing grid with oil and heat it over the coals. 5 Braai on mod­er­ate coals. Pork isn’t seared on the out­side and left rare on the in­side.

It’s cooked fairly evenly. The in­side should change from dark pink to light pink – grey pork­isover­cooked.

Braai times

Chops 12-14 min­utes for 2-cm thick

Ribs If pre­cooked: 10-15 min­utes. If not:

1-1½ hours

TASTY TIPS

Whole cuts Braai for 1¾ hours (1,5-2,5 kg), or braai about an hour, slice and quickly sear slices.

Ribs First braai ribs with­out sauce un­til the meat is done on the in­side (mari­nades tend to burn eas­ily), then baste and braai for last 5 min­utes for that de­li­cious stick­i­ness.

6 The chicken is cooked if the juices run clear when you prick the thick­est part of the meat. A whole chicken is cooked if the drum­sticks move freely when wig­gled.

Braai times

Chicken on the spit 45-50 min­utes But­ter­flied chicken 30-40 min­utes Deboned fil­lets 10 min­utes

Boned pieces in the ket­tle braai:

30-35 min­utes

Whole chicken in the ket­tle braai: 1 hour

TASTY TIPS

Chicken wings taste best when cooked with a sticky sauce. First braai the wings with­out sauce for about 20 min­utes or un­til al­most done. Mix well with the sauce then braai for a fur­ther 5 min­utes un­til crisp and sticky.

3 Baste the fish with oil and place it in the hot grid.

4 The grid should be 15-20 cm above mod­er­ate coals.

5 Braai the skin side of the fish un­til the fish is nearly done, turn and flash-braai the meaty side. Turn the fish only once. The more you turn, the greater the risk that the fish will stick to the grid.

Braai times

Whole fish 15-20 min­utes for 500 g and 30-45 min­utes for 1,5 kg

Fil­lets 3½ min­utes for 1 cm thick.

TASTY TIP

Re­place sea fish with a fresh­wa­ter fish such as trout or bream.

SE­LECT­ING THE IN­GRE­DI­ENTS

Ke­babs rely on a mari­nade for a lot of their flavour. So choose the mari­nade care­fully, par­tic­u­larly if you’re us­ing a shop-bought va­ri­ety.

STEP BY STEP

1 Soak wooden skew­ers in wa­ter be­fore­hand – it pre­vents them from catch­ing alight.

2 Thread the meat and vegetables loosely on the skew­ers so the heat can pen­e­trate be­tween the cuts and cook the meat evenly. 3 Place the grid about 15 cm above mod­er­ate coals.

4 Turn of­ten. Chicken ke­babs have to braai for 20 min­utes and red-meat ke­babs for 15 min­utes.

SE­LECT­ING THE SAUSAGE

Rather buy boere­wors than braai­wors. Boere­wors con­tains at least 90 per­cent meat, not more than 30 per­cent fat and con­sists of beef to which pork and/or lamb has been added. It can also not con­tain any other in­gre­di­ents ex­cept ce­real, vine­gar, spices and al­lowed food ad­di­tives. Braai­wors is cheaper but it con­tains less qual­ity meat.

STEP BY STEP

Boere­wors should be cooked un­til medium-done – still juicy but not pink in­side. Turn of­ten to en­sure it cooks evenly.

1 Coil the sausage and place on a cool grid.

2 Braai on mod­er­ate coals and turn three to five times to pre­vent the skin from burst­ing or sear­ing. If pre­ferred, first

SE­LECT­ING THE MEAT

Beef burg­ers are the most pop­u­lar, but you can make a burger from any kind of meat, even from lentils.

STEP BY STEP

1 If mak­ing your own pat­ties, make a slight in­den­ta­tion in the mid­dle of each patty as the meat tends to bulge while cook­ing. Don’t over­mix the mix­ture be­cause then your pat­ties will be tough. Make sure the mix­ture con­tains a lit­tle fat to pre­vent it dry­ing out while cook­ing, this also helps to stop it bulging.

2 Place the grid 15 cm above the coals.

3 First seal the out­side for a minute or so

TASTY TIP

Braai fruit ke­babs for dessert. Braai over mod­er­ate coals un­til just soft and serve with a choco­late sauce for dip­ping.

braai the sausage on the mod­er­ate part of the fire un­til half-done, then cook through on the hot­ter part of the braai.

3 Turn the sausage with wide tongs (or even an egg lifter) and not a fork to pre­vent the juices from running out. For the same rea­son you should not prick or cut the sausage to see if it’s cooked.

4 A thin sausage should not braai for longer than 8 min­utes, and thick sausage for 9-10 min­utes. When in doubt, braai for a shorter time rather than longer.

5 The sausage is ready when the skin is brown all over.

6 Rest the sausage for 7 min­utes so the juices can be ab­sorbed, other­wise they run out as soon as you cut it.

TASTY TIP

All fresh types of sausage can be braaied on coals.

on each side over very hot coals, other­wise the pat­ties will stick to the grid.

4 Con­tinue braai­ing the pat­ties over mod­er­ate coals. Be gentle with the pat­ties and don’t move them about on the grid to loosen them. As the meat seals, the pat­ties will au­to­mat­i­cally come away from the grid.

5 Braai the pat­ties for 8-10 min­utes, de­pend­ing on their thick­ness. They should be caramelised on the out­side and juicy and slightly pink in­side.

TASTY TIP

Lightly toast the burger bun on the grid while your burg­ers are cook­ing.

You de­cide on the cut of meat you want to braai and which rub or mari­nade should be used for ex­tra flavour – but there are three vi­tal in­gre­di­ents for a suc­cess­ful braai: smoke, heat and time. Once you’ve per­fected these three things, your braai sim­ply can’t go wrong.Fol­low our guide­lines in this ar­ti­cle and you’ll be­come that un­ruf­fled per­son who re­laxes next to the fire, non­cha­lantly nurs­ing some­thing cold, while the meat seems to braai it­self.

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