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How to have

the perfect braai

Wow, have we had some serious discussions around this topic! Everyone has their preferences and believes that theirs is the ultimate way to braai.


Some swear by charcoal, while others prefer wood. Some insist on a specific brand of firelighter with a long-handled gas lighter, while others believe in oil-soaked newspaper and matches… and don’t even get us started on the discussions around how to prepare the meat!


However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some tips you can follow to improve your braai and make sure everyone’s meat is perfectly done and delicious. Here are our six tips for the perfect braai.

Timing the fire

Guys, we know that standing around the braai with a beer, waiting for the coals to be the perfect temperature, then “accidentally” letting it get too cold and having to add more fuel, then waiting some more is a braai tradition. But your guests are hungry and they’re filling up on chips and dip. Timing the fire is an art form, but it’s usually wise to give between 30 and 60 minutes for building it and allowing it to get to the right temperature.

Getting the meat mix right

We’ll be honest - we always make way too much meat at our braais. But we do that on purpose, because there is nothing quite as delicious as leftover wors for Sunday breakfast. And lunch. And sarmies for supper. However, we have been to many a braai where there is nothing but wors, which can get a bit boring. Try to have at least three different varieties of meat, like wors, kebabs and chops, or steaks, chicken drumsticks and sausages. And don’t be afraid to get creative! Perhaps try several different types of meat cut into bite-size portions - it was a definite winner the last time I tried it.

To side or not to side

How many times have you said the words “nobody eats the salad anyway”? Sides can be contentious - if you have too few, people complain that there’s no variety; if you have too many, you have a fridge full of wilting salads and mushy potato salad for a week. A good rule of thumb is three sides - like a salad, bread and potatoes - for up to six people, and to add one for every two to four people after that.

The music

What, did you think it’s just about food? Haai, nee! Music is a very important part of socialising, and you want to get the right music going for your braai. Of course, this entirely depends on your preferences, the people you are inviting, and the atmosphere you want to establish. From oldies to contemporary pop, to heavy metal, to kwaito, music will make or break your party.

The people

Asking how many people you should invite to your braai is like asking how long a piece of string is. For us, the most important thing isn’t how many, but who. Which people can you imagine yourself having a braai with, and how will they interact with one another? Just make sure to have enough food and drinks, and if it is a large group, don’t be afraid to ask them to bring their own drinks and some sides.

The drinks

If you’re feeling generous and are going to be buying drinks for everyone, it’s always best to have a good bit of variety. One or two brands of beer, a few soft drinks, red and white wine, and two or three spirits, plus mixers… look, you’re welcome to do it this way if that works for you, but we highly recommend asking everyone to bring their own drinks. It’s perfectly acceptable, and this way, you don’t have to buy the whole bottle store to make sure Alan has his no-alcohol beer and Muzi has his preferred whiskey that nobody else drinks.


If you have any more tips for the perfect braai, or want to share your favourite braai recipes, visit our Facebook page and let us know.