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Summer of Braai: 7 Braai Basics

Feel-good music, sunny weather and community vibes are all essential elements of the perfect summer season, but everyone knows it isn’t really summer unless the grill is fired up.

In South Africa (where it’s currently winter in the Western Cape), “braai” is a term used to describe the authenticity of South African barbecue. But it’s more than just meat thrown on a grill; braai is so integrated into South African culture that National Heritage Day (September 24th) has been dubbed National Braai Day.

And in honor of our love for some good outdoor eats with friends and family, we thought we’d declare this summer “The Summer of Braai”!  In order to make sure that you make the most of this special season, we scoured the web and recipes from our chefs at The Africa Channel to assemble a list of seven braai basics!

  1. Seasoning is KING – No one ever wants to bite into the best-looking piece of brisket only to find out it tastes generic. The secret to the best summer braai is making sure your flavor is on point. (Here’s a  flavorful seasoning for Rib-eye Steak to get you started.)
  2. Wood fire grill or charcoal is a MUST – No gas grills allowed. In order to get that rich and smoky flavor just right, it’s mandatory to ditch the gas.
  3. Add an onion to the fire or coals before braaiing – Make your guests die in anticipation. Throwing an onion on the braai beforehand will make the flavor that much more aromatic.
  4. Don’t turn down (or up) for anything – Don’t turn more than you have to. Overturning your meat is a sure-fire way to kill that oh-so-necessary succulence.
  5. At least one buttery side is imperative – Saying no to carbs is illegal when it comes to braai. With all that beef, chicken and sausage, you need at least one, if not two starchy sides. (This recipe for Cheese and Olive Scones is perfection.)
  6. Put a lid on it – Keeping the lid on maintains steady temperature and helps get the juicy flavor just right.
  7. Make sure you have the right drink for your braai – These foods pair nicely with the following drinks:
  • Spicy Sausage- Enjoy a refreshing, lighter brew to balance the burn
  • Sweet and Thick Ribs- Try a sweeter beverage with a drier finish
  • Tangy Sauce on Chicken Tune out the bitter with a subtle white wine with fresh citrus

Have fun with your summer braai, and let us know how it’s going! Show us your #SummerBraai pics and happenings on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages.

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