The Fire & Feast Meat Festival, which was held in Johannesburg from June 8 to 10, featured various experts in the meat industry. These masters of meat, braai, sauce and spices have shared a few tips for the Ultimate braai experience!
Spicing your meat – Crown National
A leading supplier of spices, herbs, seasonings, sauces and condiments, Crown National knows the best way to add flavour to any braai. If you’re looking for something that goes with absolutely any meal, then Crown National’s Six Gun Grill is the perfect braai mate. It’s a well-balanced blend of herbs and spices and is ideal for grilled beef, chicken and lamb as well as potjies, mince and stews.
For the ideal pork braai, try Hickory Rub, Sriracha Rub or Citrus Rub for some zest. Chicken flavours can be enhanced with Citrus Rub or Sriracha Rub, the last of which is also a great beef spice. Both beef and lamb work well with a sprinkle of Chimichurri Rub.
Braai a prize piece of wors – BraaiBoy
The South African braai wonder and Chad-O-Chef ambassador, BraaiBoy cooked on an open flame every day for the past eight years and has some must-try braai tips. He notes that quality over quantity. Don’t be afraid of spending a little more at a quality butcher. Don’t prod or poke boerewors … you lose a lot of the juices by doing that.
Dip wors in water before braaing. This reduces the risk of breaking and, if your fire is too hot, turning the wors more frequently will also reduce the risk of bursting.
Get the heat just right – Chad-O-Chef
Leading manufacturers of gas braais, Chad-O-Chef have the best insights into optimising your braai for the ultimate meaty feast. Ribs are braaied best on a medium heat. Often purchased pre-cooked, ribs don’t need long on the braai before they are ready. To make a roast in a pan, pre-heat the roasting dome on a gas braai to 150°C using the outer-most burners on high and centre burners on their lowest setting (to create a convection heating effect).
Glaze the roast with oil and seasoning and place them in a pan in the centre of the dome. Roasts (on rotisserie rod) require the pre-heating of the roasting dome with all burners on high to 150°C. Set your roast into the dome and lock all fixtures. Leave the dome open with all burners on high for the first five minutes to sear your roast, then turn any burners below your roast down to their lowest setting and place a roasting pan underneath the roast to catch drippings, for a gravy later. Check on your roast and re-baste often.
Be adventurous – The Bearded Chef
He has a beard. He loves to cook. He’s the bearded chef. And one thing this wholesome farmer likes to do, when braaing, is keep it simple. The best meat from the braai is just that – the best meat cut you can find, lightly oiled and straight to the braai. Salt and spicing can happen thereafter. And if you bother to marinade, do it a couple of days in advance.
Choose great ingredients. South Africa has, not only the best meat on offer, but great olive oils and wines too. Be adventurous! Make a separate fire so you can add more coals to your braai. This way, you can control the heat over a longer period of time, allowing you to prepare some non-traditional items such as legs of lamb, pork roasts or even brisket.
The perfect Lamb – Lamb and Mutton SA
If you’re looking for some of the best lamb and mutton braai tips then consumer-awareness organisation, Lamb and Mutton SA, has all the answers. For medium to well lamb loin chops with crispy fat, line up the chops on a skewer and braai with the fat side down before removing the skewer and braaing as usual.
For medium to rare lamb rib chops with crispy fat, place the frozen chops on the braai. When the fat is crispy, the meat will be perfect. Stuff rosemary in between your skewered lamb chops to infuse some flavour into the meat while you crisp up the fat.
The secret to the perfect steak – Sparta Beef
For the beefiest braai tips, there’s nowhere else to turn to but Sparta Beef. Here are some of their hottest suggestions. If you’re concerned that your braai isn’t hot enough, it probably isn’t. Steak needs a hot flame. Always allow your steak to rest before eating. It should rest for the same amount of time it was on the grill. Rest cooked meat on a bed of sautéed onions as this will ensure the meat doesn’t dry out.
Tasty chicken – County Fair & Festive
When you’re choosing chicken for the braai, remember that boneless pieces cook faster than boned. If you use marinade, try and avoid excess sugar as it turns the chicken black. Brush marinade on your chicken with a rosemary branch to add extra, subtle flavour. Braai chicken over moderate coals and turn regularly as a too hot grill will burn the skin, but the inside will stay raw.
A porky situation – South African Pork
The best way to get the crackle out of your braaied pork is to follow these tasty tips from the South African Pork. Any pork that is going to be grilled on a braai grid needs to be dried well with kitchen paper. A wet meat surface will prevent the pork from browning nicely and getting that delicious, crisps crust on the outside.
Rub pork cuts such as chops, steaks, rashers and fillets with olive oil, braai spice, salt and pepper. Ideally, the salt must be added just before the pork goes onto the braai. Pork should always be braaied just until barely cooked through. Never overcook pork or leave it on the braai for too long.