Get out the house and say ‘hello’ to braai season
As winter comes to end, most South Africans can’t wait for the weather to heat up so they can run to the beach for a tan, or to the backyard for a lekker braai, otherwise known as a chop n’ dop. Nowadays a braai is so much more than just meat and booze (although we can all agree that those are the most important ingredients that make for a great braai!). Let’s take a look at the essential things you need for the perfect spring braai.
One thing we hate about winter is the fact that it rains on our wood – the wood we use for fires and the wood we use for braaing. Make sure that you purchase dry wood. It’s always been best practice to buy bulk because nothing puts a dampener on a spontaneous braai when you realise you’ve got a load of wet wood that wouldn’t even cook an egg.
Quality charcoal and blitz
We all recognise the dirty red and black TJ’s bags and boxes that have become the poster child for braai advertising across the country. No matter what brand you choose, make sure that the contents inside are of good quality. Find a brand you like and stick with it, there’s nothing worse than dealing with blitz that doesn’t burn for long or charcoal that doesn’t catch fire quickly.
Drum or Weber
Besides the contents, you obviously need something to braai in. A modern oke will probably go for a Weber or a gas braai, but for the full-on experience find half a drum (as it’s called) and braai your meat or fish on an open fire. No matter which option you choose, make sure you manage the strength of the fire – the last thing you want is to try a new method only to have all your meat burnt to a crisp.
No braai master would be caught dead without a cheeky apron. It has become a must-have item in the braai world. Not only to fulfil its purpose of keeping your clothes clean, but it’s a great conversation starter and it can spark some great banter – another key ingredient for a great braai atmosphere.
Good meat or fish
Even if you think you’re one of the best braaiers throughout the country, you can’t turn bad-quality meat into tasty goodness. Make sure you purchase your meat or fish from an established butcher, fishery or supermarket. Choose brands that you know, and ones that are recognised for excellent quality. As much as a braai is about the gees and the comradery, at the end of the day, people are there to eat. The meat is very important and should always remain top priority.
Fizzy drinks and alcoholic beverages
Yes we know a braai drink tray will mainly consist of beer but you have to take into account the non-drinkers or at least the non-beer drinkers. It’s important to have a variety of drinks available such as red wine, juice and refreshing carbonated drinks.
While the meat is the most important thing, you need to complete the meal with a range of salads and other side dishes. Potato salad, coleslaw and garlic bread are always a hit, as well as noodle salad, spring veggies and green salad. Choose two or three sides to accompany your main meal, and that your guests will enjoy.
Remember, it’s not summer yet, so when the sun sets, it gets a bit chilly. It’s still a nice idea to relax outside with some wine though, so make sure you’re equipped with a jersey, and if you’re hosting the braai, lay out some light blankets that people can use to stay warm.
All these things work together to create a successful braai and atmosphere! So plan ahead, get everything you need and enjoy the spring weather with friends and family.