The great South African braai guide

By Melissa Scheepers, 15 September 2017

It’s that time of year when South Africans take part in our favourite national past time: braai! Haul out the coals and light that fire! We’ve tallied up a few of our favourite smoky recipes featuring veg, seafood, chicken, steak and tjops.

To marinate or not to marinate? That is the braai master’s question.

If you have a great cut of meat, keep it simple and opt not to marinade. Enhance the natural flavours of the meat with simple seasoning; salt, olive oil and a squeeze of lemon.

Marinades add flavour and tenderise tougher cuts of meat. Dairy-based marinades (using the likes of buttermilk and yoghurt) are a good match with chicken. Larger cuts of meat (including lamb and pork shoulders and ribs) will need longer to marinate – plan for at least eight hours or overnight.

Dry rubs add a stronger flavour and create that quintessential braai crust. They also tend to draw juices to the outer surface of the meat. Use dry rubs for bigger cuts such as steak, whole fillets and butterflied lamb.

Need a quick-and-easy marinade recipe? Food editor Abigail Donnelly has the solution with the only marinade recipe you’ll ever need.


Cooking vegetables on the braai? Remember that fat is your friend. Generously coat your veg in oil for good colour and flavour.

Discover more tips for grilling veg here.

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Braaing a whole fish? Keep it succulent by basting with your marinade. Prefer a simpler flavour? Stick to melted butter.

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Chicken tends to to take the longest time on the braai. If you can, choose a butterflied chicken rather than a whole chicken. Want to do it yourself? Follow these 5 steps to butterfly a chicken at home.

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Find more chicken on the braai recipes here.


Always rest your steak for at least 10 minutes after cooking. Slice against the grain to retain its tender texture. Find the 8 cardinal rules for cooking steak here.

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Rubbing salt along the marbling of chops will make for a excellent smoky crust once braaied to perfection.

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It’s imperative that every braai ends off on a sweet note! If you’re not making smores, take inspiration from American barbecues and put your own twist on easy ice-cream pies. Watch the how to video here.

Discover more brilliant braai recipes here.

Melissa Scheepers

Article by Melissa Scheepers

Woolworths TASTE’s online content producer has faced constant temptation since joining the team last year. When she’s not thinking about her next meal (it’s usually a variation of a cheese toastie), she’s researching the best cooking methods for her next article.
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