If there’s one South African tradition Tall Dark & Handsome and I adore, it’s the braai. We braai nearly every single week, without fail, and quite often twice a week. Rain, shine, winter, summer … we braai. When we moved to Melville, I had to leave behind my (by then completely rusted) full drum braai. New home, new braai. So we scoured Gumtree and found a lady who was selling a Weber at a great price, and who had hardly ever used it! And that’s how we settled into our new home: with our good as new Weber and a new drive to braai braai braai till we die!
It’s become a much-loved weekend tradition. We call it Braai & Chill (as opposed to Netflix). There’s no TV in Casa de JFW/TDH so we hardly spend any time facing a screen. In winter, Braai & Chill is on a Saturday late afternoon and in warmer weather, on a Friday night to kick off the weekend. And every other week, sommer on a Sunday too to wrap up the weekend. It feels like the ultimate way to relax and let go of all the week’s stresses and just sit by a fire, enjoying each other’s company, tasting a new beer or an old favourite, our doggies between our feet.
So when we found out that Weber was doing a special launch of their latest cookbook, Weber Classics, and at the home of great steaks, The Local Grill, we had to be there. It was one not to miss. By the time we arrived, the braais were already in full swing. They had about four braais going, some on coal and some on gas. One of the most interesting things we learned on this excursion is that it’s even possible to make pizza and veggies on the grill, something we’d never considered before.
When they brought around pizzas for everyone to share, we were seriously impressed. It was delicious and the thin base was perfectly crispy without being burnt. Loaded with rocket and kudu salami, I thoroughly enjoyed it and had to stop myself from grabbing more, knowing lots of meat was still to come. One of my favourite new discoveries of the day was a beer I’d never even heard of: Loxton Lager. By no means a traditional lager, it is infused with boegoe and the earthy, herby tones are evident. I caught a whiff of guava but most people seemed not to agree. Though I loved the beer, I thought it best to enjoy some red wine with the meat being served and stuck to the entirely quaffable Porcupine Ridge Merlot, though a Shiraz would not have gone amiss. Boekenhoutskloof does have some of the best (and always superb value for money) wines on the market today so I am a big supporter.
I got up a variety of times to hear more from the braai masters directly about what they were doing and their methods. In the end, though, I left most of the details to Tall Dark & Handsome and focused on the eating! We were served some moreish pork ribs but oh my word, when the lamb ribs came around, we were in 7th heaven. Of this, I ate far too much and it was something I had never had before. Absolutely succulent and with the great lamb flavour still very prominent, this was a firm favourite of both myself and TDH.
Steve Maresch, the owner of The Local Grill, told us a little more about their passion for meat and braaiing, and how important good quality meat is. We also learned more about their adjoining store, The Local & Company. They had some spectacular Weber toys on display and in use, available to purchase there, and boy did we covet! For the time being, we’ll have to stick to our regular kettle braai until we can afford one of those amazing Weber super braais.
And then it was on to the main course. Oh boy! Corn bread; an incredible salad with feta, nuts and beets; a gorgeous broccoli dish with cheese and butter (this was my favourite!!); sweet potato fries; and of course the beef, pink and mouth-watering. By the time mains rolled around, I had taken the ribs and ran with it but I managed to have some room left and devoured my plate of food. The veggies and sides were every bit as incredible as the beef. I gave up well before dessert ever arrived, but always the trooper, Tall Dark & Handsome was in heaven with the grilled pear and salted caramel ice cream, served with a light berry compote.
When we left we were in post-braai bliss. We chatted to Steve briefly on the way out about the magic that happens in the Local Grill kitchen, and we hope to be back soon to see more of that. I had been so very pre-occupied with the eating and the braaiing going on that I didn’t even remember to pick up a copy of Weber Classics before the sales person had left. Definitely a must-have addition to the braai action we enjoy! Luckily we got to grab some of the coffee rub used on the meat that day and we cannot wait to try it at home!
Another gorgeous African day well spent enjoying good food, great people, and glorious braaiing.