Braai hacks for the best braai

2018-12-21 14:22
Photo: Getty Images

Photo: Getty Images

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Summer is in full swing and the air is thick with the aroma of braaied meat. You may think you’re an expert when it comes to cooking boerewors, chicken and chops – and you probably are.

Still, there are a few ways to make this favourite South African pastime a little easier. Read on.

• Throw sprigs of fresh herbs such as sage, rosemary or thyme onto your fire. It will give your meat added flavour and make the air smell wonderful.

• Love braaiing but hate cleaning up? When the grid’s still hot, take a freshly halved onion, stick it on the braai fork and use the cut side to scrub grease and grime off it. The oils and acids in the onion will take care of most – if not all – of the grit without you working up a sweat.• Having vegetarians over? Season a few veggies (such as mushrooms, baby marrow, mealies and sweet potatoes) with garlic, salt and pepper, wrap in foil and cook over the coals for 5-10 minutes.

• Make a two-zone grill by putting coals under only one side of your braai so that once meat is cooked, you can simply move it to the other side of the grill. This will keep the meat warm without drying it out as you braai the rest.

• Instead of using several plates for your various sauces and having to do tons of dishes, serve them in a muffin pan. Simply place trimmings – such as onion rings, tomato slices and pickles – and sauces into the hollows.

• Pressed for time and guests are arriving any minute? Cook the meat in the microwave until it’s nearly done, then braai to finish cooking and get that tasty chargrilled effect. We promise not to tell anyone!

• As you’re braaiing the meat, spray pure apple juice over it to improve colour, flavor and tenderness.• Before you start braaiing, dip a wad of paper towel in a little cooking oil and use tongs to wipe the oil evenly over the grid. This will help the food cook and stop it from sticking to the grill. For extra flavour use garlic-infused oil.

• Braaiing fish? Lay it on a bed of lemon or lime slices. The citrus will stop the fish from sticking to the grid and give it a delicious citrusy tang.• Here’s a clever hack from US MasterChef judge Graham Elliot to keep your burger patties from cooking too dry: “Make your patties, then put a small ice cube in the centre. The ice keeps the meat moist as you grill it and prevents it from drying out.”

• Have two different braai tongs handy – one with grips for turning andhandling food, and the other with insulated handles for turning coals. This will stop your food from getting ashy and reduce the amount of grease on the coals.

• If you really want to show off your skills, invest in a chimney starter. It’s easy to use and makes you look like a pro. Simply fill it to the top with charcoal and then light the coals – it’s quick, safe and efficient. You can also use it to make extra coals when you’re cooking to prolong the braai’s life for those late arrivals.

• Lost track of who wants what in their burgers and how they want them cooked? Mark the buns with tomato sauce or mayonnaise so your guests get what they actually ordered.

• For a creative touch, throw a few lemons on the braai. Cut them in half or into wedges and place them on the rack until the grill marks start to show. The heat releases the juices and the grilling adds a lovely smoky flavour that’s superb with fish, and even in drinks. Think cocktails like sangria, mojitos and caipirinhas, or lemonade and iced tea. You can also try other fruit – limes, oranges, grapefruit and pineapples work just as well.



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