The ultimate braai kit

Posted on 1 September 2012

At a bare minimum you need a braai grid and something to rest it on, but here are some items that will make up the ultimate braai kit:

  • Two identical grids with a hinged lid that can be closed.
  • One flat grid with thicker rods for braaing items such as roosterkoek and patties that tend to ‘sink’ into a normal grid and get stuck.
  • A cast-iron pot for making potjie and various other tasks. You can completely justify having a few pots of different shapes and sizes.
  • A steel, fireproof pan.
  • A braai pan with holes or a basket made from mesh wire to braai prawns, vegetables or other small items that will fall through a grid. Much easier than always having to put them on skewers.
  • At least three pairs of proper braai tongs: one for the fire, one for raw meat and one for braaied meat.
  • Six bricks. These are usually available at the building site nearest to your house. The bricks are to balance the grid. With six bricks you can achieve a phenomenal number of different height settings, more than you will ever need. You can also use a line of bricks as a border to keep coals and heat in a certain area of the braai as needed.
  • Two sturdy triangles of different heights to rest your grid on when you can’t find bricks.
  • One pair of leather welding gloves. Sometimes one or all of the fire, grid, tongs, bricks, triangles and potjie just get too hot to control with bare hands. It’s better to have gloves on standby than to let the meat burn while you think of a way to touch that grid.
  • One water pistol. There is absolutely no better way to keep control and enforce discipline on flare-ups.
  • Two cutting boards, for raw meat and for braaied meat.
  • A headlamp for nighttime braaing.
  • At least one proper chef’s knife. You can never have too many knives.
  • A knife sharpener. Blunt knives are like wet wood.
  • One braai bowl. They’re usually sold with a lid that can double up as a second braai bowl. In general, I’m very much against closing meat in a braai bowl and then letting it steam on low heat while you braai other things. This spoils the crisp sides of meat and frequently overcooks it. Plan the braai better and have it all ready at the same time.
  • Non-reactive bowls for marinating meat. These can be glass, plastic or stainless steel and should have lids.
  • A pestle and mortar to crush herbs and spices.
  • A digital instant-read meat thermometer. This is the 21st century, so get one.
  • A steel-wire brush to clean the grid.
  • A basting brush for painting marinade onto the meat.
  • A watch for checking how long the meat is on the fire. Overbraaied food isn’t fun.
  • Fireworks, my book.

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