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Just Say Braai!

28th February 2017 tagged braai, lamb, meat, south africa, steak

Say Braai and every South African will tell you that it’s more than just grilled meat – it’s a culture, a way of living, a lot more than just a barbeque. Every family or circle of friends has their self-appointed Braai master who thinks his abilities are treasured as an art form (even though we all remember him burning a steak one time or another…).  The Braai itself is a social occasion, a chance to meet and greet, to see and be seen, and above all, to dig in!

Did you know the original word braai is thought to originate from the combination of the words braden (Dutch for Roast) and braaivleis ( Afrikaans for grilled meat) and turned into a verb braai means “to grill”?  Today the word is used and easily recognised in all 11 official languages of the country.



Braais can happen anytime anywhere, even in winter! The other men around the braai can also partake but only under the supervision of “the boss”. The fire is lit only after the last guest has arrived, that’s part of the South African tradition.



So without further ado, let’s look at what goes into the perfect braai.

  • First and foremost; the meat. Without a solid, quality steak, a braai is rather meek.
    Typically, you’d see lamb chops, chicken flatties, various cuts of steak, pork ribs, corn, fish and, of course, some juicy boerewors. Go ahead and mix and match the meats to suit your crowd.
  • The Salad. Usually done by your mom or sister, the fresh and crunchy greens is a great feature for the dinner table (if only for added colour). Lettuce is one of the favourite green leafy vegetables. It’s crispy, green leaves are one of the incredible sources of essential nutrients.
  • Potato Salad. Everyone’s family has their own twist on potato salad, and everyone’s aunt
    swears they make the BEST potato salad South Africa has to offer. But here’s what goes into the basic version; 1 kg of potatoes, 1/3 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 tsp chopped chives, 2 heads of garlic, 3 tsp olive oil
  • Snacks are essential. You’ll need some biltong and droewors to chew on, as well as some delicious Simba Chips. Mrs.Balls Chutney flavoured Chips always goes down well with the crowd.
  • Sauces play a big part on the table. You MUST have some Mrs. Balls Chutney ready to serve. You’ll also need some tomato sauce. (Not ketchup.)
  • Beverages. Special attention is paid to beer and wine. Of course the children have their juices, but the adults indulge in some Windhoek, Castle Larger or Amstel. Or if you’re feeling classy, wine is also a great option.

There’s also a special day to demonstrate South African’s love for a good old Braai. 24 September is when thousands of people head outdoors, get the fires going and celebrate National Braai Day. The event, which takes place annually on National Heritage Day, 24 September, has become something of an institution in South Africa.