I attended my first South African BBQ this past weekend (you call it ‘braai’). There are many things to say, but I won’t offend so I’ll simply say this, you’re doing it wrong.
Allow me to give you a rundown of how a BBQ should be done and how I’ve conducted dozens of these events over the years - American tradition as its best.
This is how to BBQ 101, with your friend, Emmett W. Garrett:
My buddies are coming around for the big game and usually arrive around eleven in the morning. I’ve set up the BBQ grill on the stoop and my then girlfriend, Mary-Anne, has just climbed out the shower and prettied herself the way I like it. She’s looking and smelling good - like the thick patties I’ve just whipped up in the kitchen.
Just thinking about this is making my hungry, but moving on.
I told her to put a pot of potatoes on earlier and I reckon they’re almost done and ready for her to chop up my favorite- potato salad. She knows how I like it and she’ll do it just right.
My buddies, Earl and ‘Hitchy’, are the first to arrive, as always. I’ve tucked my good booze away cause I know these guys. Instead, I’ve got them sucking on Buds all afternoon else they’d drink me dry.
To conclude our little shindig, Marvin and Lucas pitch up with their wives and kids (little brats actually, always breaking my stuff and urinating in my tool shed). We all get settled, drinks are served, then I go in and come back out with the tray of meat.
I fire up the BBQ and turn up the gas real high (need to burn off some dry bits of meat and sauce from the last time). I’ve got all pistons firing on this baby now and the flames are reaching up to my chest. Hell yeah!
After a quick wipe, I glaze the grid with butter and slap on my hamburger patties. I make them myself, old family recipe with an Emmett touch, and they’re the juiciest puppies you’ll ever see. To the side, I whip on the wieners (I’ll be serving the brat-kids hot dogs, they won’t appreciate my burgers anyway).
To add to the flavor, I’ve prepared a thick basting sauce (another family secret) and I’m practically drowning the patties in the stuff. Oh, man, the smell! It’s almost Divine.
The men gather around and we’re partaking in our customary ‘first rights’ as the cooks. I like to BBQ without my shirt on, to feel the splatter of hot fat and juices as the burgers fry on the grid. I’m handing out the chef’s portions to my buddies and we’re guzzling juicy chunks of beef burger.
The sauce runs off my chin and onto my chest. It’s quite a sight and Mary-Anne loves it. Later, when the guests have gone, she’ll treat me special in the shower and taste the sauces right off my chest (I love it when she does that).
The whole house smells like Emmett’s cooking now, everyone’s a bit tipsy (except for the kids of course although I suspect that Marvin’s oldest has snuck a few Buds. They gonna have a problem with that kid). Hitchy is stumbling about. He’s already puked in the flowerbed and he’s back for more - the man’s bullet proof, I reckon.
The game’s about to start and we’re eating for the first team, downing lunch - Emmett burgers and potato salad all around. When we get too loud or someone cusses, we get those looks from our women, but that’s okay, a man’s home is his castle. Our turf!
And that folks, is a good old American style BBQ. No pollution with burning logs of wood or those synthetic compressed coals. Who cooks like that anyway?