Calling all tong-masters: introducing the Draai Braai

Posted by Ilhaam Hoosain on 29 June 2022

South Africans never need a reason to braai, but improving the whole experience is a definite incentive to braai more. A proudly South African invention, the Draai Braai is a braai grid that rotates for greater heat control, taking the pressure off the tong-master and allowing more precise cooking.

The rotating Draai Braai. Picture: supplied.

‘Draai’ is the Afrikaans word for turn, and in case you’ve been living under a rock, ‘braai’ comes from the Dutch word ‘braden’, meaning ‘to grill’

‘Having retired after selling my business in 2016, I found myself thinking more and more about how to adjust the heat easily and proficiently on my braai or Weber. The idea of a BBQ grid screwing up and down to adjust its height came from the winding mechanism of an office chair,’ says 80-year-old retired Cape Town businessman and DIY enthusiast Harvey Downes.

He created this appliance in his workshop, on a quest to improve the braai experience for everyone. Despite some setbacks Downes persevered and finally succeeded with a prototype.

Never give up

‘Perseverance paid off and eventually I managed to complete my first model of the Draai Braai to show the engineers how it worked. This is where they finally changed their minds and showed massive interest,’ says Downes.

‘It made me think of Tim Leatherman, who got turned away from almost a hundred people over 8 years saying his ‘multifunctional gizmo would never get any traction, and now today with 350 staff, the Leatherman Tool Group sell about 2,5 million units a year in 80 countries.’

Takealot are distributing the Draai Braai and already inquiries from the UK, Australia, Canada, Holland and the USA have come in. Downes would like to get the expertise of Engineering hubs in the Cape Town township areas to uplift and contribute to the economy to increase local trade and employment.

‘I am confident that with my experience as a personnel and training manager, I am capable of being able to teach the skills required to make the Draai Braai’s, once a suitable venue is secured,’ says Downes.

Change your mind, change your braai

There’s no doubt about it, South Africans mastered the art of braai-ing long ago, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep striving for perfection.

  • With the Draai Braai, you can raise, lower and rotate the braai grid, allowing easier control of the temperature.
  • Food can be cooked for longer and to perfection and there is no risk of burning as there sometimes is with a charcoal kettle braai.
  • The Draai Braai keeps food on the grid and lets you add and position fresh coals or smoking chips to the fire.
  • The Draai Braai allows the braai-er to rotate the food away from the flame if flare-ups occur, calming the flames with ease.

Did you know?

Other inventions that come from South African brains are the CAT Scan, the Kreepy Krauly, the Vuvuzela, Q20 lubricant, Rooibos Tea, Pinotage and Pratley Putty.


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