When writing the first Braai post there was nothing that I wanted to do more than ask the man Jan Braai himself a few questions/tips & share it with you. Jan Braai is the the creator of Braai 4 Heritage initiative which is backed by the Archbishop Desmond Tutu & supported by a large number of South Africans.
How did you come about the idea to start the Braai 4 Heritage initiative?
The idea behind National Braai Day is to create a national day of celebration in South Africa. One day per year where the whole country comes to a standstill and all citizens celebrate together. Similar to St Patrick’s Day (Ireland), Thanksgiving Day (America), Australia Day etc.
In what order would you braai the following: Chicken pieces, Steak, Boerewors, Braai Broodjies & Lamb Chops?
I’d do the steaks medium rare whilst the coals are still searing hot and serve slices of steak for starters. During this time rake a few coals aside and start the chicken on a separate grid on lower heat as it takes the longest. After the steak is done, braai the chops and wors. At the very end when the coals have lost most of their ferocity, braai the braaibroodjies.
Where is your favourite holiday spot around the Cape?
Cape Town is a holiday spot. We are fortunate to be living in it. I also like the West Coat, Kleinkaroo and Garden Route.
Do you have a sous recipe to share for our next boerie braai?
Caramelise some onions, add chopped chilli, red peppers and garlic and fry another minute or three. Add chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, bit of sugar and bit of vinegar. Simmer whilst the boerewors is braaing. Serve this relish in a hot dog roll with the boerewors.
What is the best all-round wood to buy & is there any way to deal with wet wood?
Rooikrantz is my favourite and Black Wattle is also good. All the others are transported from elsewhere and I really think it’s silly to braai with wood that is trucked in from a great distance. You need to distinguish between wood that is freshly chopped and thus still ‘green’. That’s the wood that bubbles with juices when you make a fire with it and that is what we refer to as wet wood in the braai industry. The only way to make that wood better is to let is age for a few months until it is dry. Wood that is wet from lying outside in the rain is not a problem. Simply use an extra piece of firelighter and some newspaper and it will burn nicely.
Are there any tips you would give to aspiring braaiers?
It’s the most ancient and natural way of cooking food. Do it as often as possible.
You are already the record holder for the world’s longest braai, what do you think of attempting to break the world record for the largest braai on Heritage day? It would be great to beat the Uruguayans & everyone would be braaing on the day anyway.
Ja, I’ve looked at the record. Maybe some time in the future.