I often get asked in interviews for my “ingredients” or requirements for a successful braai, so I thought I’d jot down my thoughts and share it with you guys as well. While it’s difficult to prioritise these braai essentials into an ordered list, I’ve put them into 3 categories:
- Good Friends – the single most important ingredient for a good braai. Snacking on a prime cut all on your ace is worse than eating charred chicken wings with good friends.
- Quality red meat – of course, a quality, medium rare rump steak is far better than those charred chicken wings, so if you find a butcher that supplies good meat, treat him better than you would your bank manager.
- Beer/Brandy/Whiskey (i.e. your drink of choice) and “slet sappies” – remember the “slet sappies”. If your better half is happy, it goes a long way to making you happy too.
- Ice, lots of it – keeps the beers cold. Your meat should be hot, not your beer.
- Quality (dry) hardwood – Dry wood will make sure you don’t need a gas mask to stand around the fire while enjoying those drinks. If you can’t find good wood, then rather use charcoal. Look out for something that says ‘Namibian Hardwood’ on it, and you should be safe. NB: Make sure you’ve tried the specific brand out before though – there are a lot of dodgy, false claims out there.
The single most essential ingredient for a braai: Good Friends
- Braaimaster – someone that knows what they’re doing to take charge of the braai duties, however good company will make up for ‘average braaing’.
- Firelighters – however, a good braaimaster should be able to light a fire using a strip of newspaper and 3 twigs.
- A blend of ‘secret spices’ – If your meat is good enough though, all you’ll really need is some top-quality Salt & Pepper.
- Garlic rolls – (plain or cheesy) and/or a Braai Pie (see http://www.braaiboy.co.za/page/Braai-Pie.aspx).
- Camera / phone – Always fun to share epic braai pics with your emigrant friends who have deserted SA and can’t enjoy braais like we do here at home.
- Good Tunes – Not essential, but some doctors claim that background music helps with digestion.
- Braai Tongs – and if it has your name on it, it will add to your street-cred.
- BraaiBroodjies – I’ll substitute salads etc. with BraaiBroodjies any day.
- Biltong & Droëwors – good for a snack before the braai is done.
- Salads, Rolls – I’ve heard that some people actually enjoy this.
- Chairs, Gazebo’s etc. – If you spend too much time in an office and not enough time outside braaing, I’ve heard that this helps with comfort levels.
- Good weather – Again, purely optional. Fortunately here in SA, that’s almost standard… so no need to really concern yourself with the weather.
There are 100’s of other “less important issues” that could make your life easier, but can easily overcome, such as good lighting (when braaing at night) and a quality stainless steel grid for easier cleaning afterwards etc. etc., but if you stick to the single most important ingredient (good friends), you won’t ever go wrong!
Got anything you’d like to add to the list? Comment and let us all know.