Happy Heritage Day! Today South Africans across the land celebrate the cultural diversity and heritage of the rainbow nation. Fittingly many choose to do this with the quintessential South African pastime known as ‘the braai’.
Our executive chef Peter Templehoff is known to host a rather good braai himself—and he’s shared his ten top tips for braaiing.
- Getting the coals to the perfect temperature is crucial, placing your hand just above the grill and count to 8 if you can just count to 8 before having to pull away it is ready, if you can only get to 4, 5 or 6 it is too hot and if you can get to 10, 11 or 12 you need more heat.
- Adding a little wood to the coals helps improve burn time as well as flavour.
- Keep a spray bottle at hand with a light solution of spices, oil, vinegar and sugar. Halfway through cooking use this to help develop flavour and crust on your meat.
- Constantly turn chicken and thicker cuts of meat like pork neck and ribs, but only turn steaks and chops once (before basting) as they need good heat to develop a grilled flavour.
- Baste your ingredients for the last 2-3 minutes only, never baste from the beginning as it will burn.
- If you have a lot of things going onto a small grill your timing is imperative, start with the chicken or the thicker cuts and finish them in a low oven (about 120C) while the rest of the stuff is being grilled.
- Brining meats the night before in a 10% salt solution of water with herbs, garlic and onions in it really helps to keep the meat moist and imparts an amazing flavour.
- For the best grilled potatoes; boil new potatoes on the stove and grill skin on with some olive oil, sea salt, rosemary and pepper for about 10 minutes, or until charred and crispy skinned.
- The best corn on the cob is boiled for 20 minutes then grilled with a little olive oil, when it comes off the grill sprinkle with a little Mexican spice and roll in finely grated pecorino and parmesan cheese.
- Pork neck is one of my favourite cuts on the grill, always tender, flavourful and easy to cook. Cook it to medium then baste it with an Asian marinade of honey, hoisin, soy sauce and sesame oil.
And… The perfect steak needs really high heat, bring the grid right above the coals and place the meat down, give it a good 2-4 minutes (depending on thickness and desired temperature inside) then turn it and cook it for another 2-3 minutes. Baste that side then flip it and baste the other, when the basting is caramelized on both sides it is done which will not be more than another minute each side.