I won’t lie. I used to rate myself someone who knew how to braai or at least knew *about* braais. I had a full size drum braai and I always had massive amounts of people at my house. I would load that braai with a bag and a half of briquettes and get it roaring. Then I would designate a braai master, and it would usually be the first person who made direct eye contact. Keep in mind, they had to braai for 20 to 30 people each time so being braai master at my events was no small feat. Some were good, some were really bad. I remember one very sad day when I got my t-bone extremely well done and I chewed on it, feeling miserable, thinking I would never invite that person who ruined my steak again.
And then I met my One True Braai Master: Tall Dark & Handsome. Guys, I thought I knew about braaiing until I met this man but I soon realised I knew very little at all. Life is not complete until you meet your One True Braai Master, in my opinion. Now that he’s opened my eyes to the possibilities, I don’t ever let him off the hook and we braai every week, sometimes twice a week. But he’s happy to do it and loves himself a good braai. He also loves experimenting and trying new things on the coals, and that’s my favourite part of all!
So where I had a very lively conversation with someone on Twitter the other day about how horrified they were that we were braaiing lamb kidneys, we thought it was such a cool idea! I finally had to placate them by insisting we were also braaiing a good ole regular steak. And that’s us … we braai chicken hearts and giblets and kidneys and chicken backs and whatever you can think of, beside your regulars. We try everything. That’s my motto after all! Try everything. And all the while, TDH hones his steak braaiing craft, as this is the ultimate pinnacle of a great braai: a thick, juicy steak with crispy fat and caramelised meat with a decent amount of smoky flavour.
We probably eat a little too much meat on the weekends but try as I might, I can’t turn my back on a t-bone straight off the braai. We’ll soon start adding some awesome veg elements a la recent Weber braai events we attended. The Weber really is a thing of beauty. The lid seals the deal. No more blackened meat charred directly over the coals/fire. Beautiful convection braaiing means you really can try so many things you never even considered. Even massive pieces of meat like lamb roast. Don’t be afraid! By the way, picanha is the new hotness so if you see it at your butcher or your local supermarket, you have to definitely give that one a shot.
This is the only thing we miss when we’re on one of our epic road-trips. The little rectangle fold-up braai we have – for easy packing – has no lid. I recently tried to find one of those little table-top kettle braais that have legs that fold back over the lid and makes a nice space-saving package, but alas, I can’t find it locally and import prices are absurd. If you see it, let me know!!
So next time you decide to gooi ‘n tjoppie op die vuur, why not add a few skildpadjies or a skewer of chicken hearts. Or even some broccolini or asparagus. Mix it up a little. Don’t send wifey to the kitchen to make salad. Don’t be that guy. Be the modern man or be the woman who takes up the tongs. Put it all on the fire and then all chill together, enjoying a great local craft beer.
Wherever your journey takes you, always braai!
Photos from various braais and a few braai events.