Nothing quite beats a good old South African ‘vleis’ fest and it’s nearing that time of the year when we all have an excuse to break out the charcoal and tongs. The Braai is synonymous with South African culture and once a year we go all out to remind ourselves of this fact by firing up the braai to honor our heritage. The 24th Of September is National Heritage day and families everywhere are preparing their grills and stocking up on some choice cuts of meat for the occasion. Just as all tasty boerewors should be united with All Gold Tomato sauce, we too shall unite as a country to celebrate our rich cultural heritage. If you don’t have a braai yet, then go onto Junk Mail. We have many deals on a braai or gas braai for sale and a variety of other accessories up for sale too.
What is ‘Heritage Day’ you ask?
National Heritage Day is our own South African interpretation of days like America’s 4th of July, France’s Bastille Day, Australia Day and the Irish St Patrick’s Day. The 24th of September is a public holiday in South Africa in which all South Africans are encouraged to celebrate, and remember their culture. The National Braai Day campaign was created to make National Heritage Day South Africa’s annual day of cultural celebration.
Jan Braai, who came up with the campaign in 2005, says on his very own website braai.com. “We call on all South Africans to unite around fires, share our heritage and wave our flag on 24 September every year.” Whether you call it Braai, Chesa Nyama or Ukosa you are encouraged to light a fire that will unite us across race, language, region and religion. We are all South Africans and all have something to celebrate.
Some Braai Day Tips
In the spirit of National Heritage day, or just in case you are new to being ‘South African’, here are ten tips on how to braai properly:
- Nothing beats a real wood fire, charcoal comes a close second, but keep it real people.
- To all those who are on a diet take note! Braaing is actually the only true fat-negative way of cooking food, that’s right, it’s actually healthy to braai. When you braai the fat drips out.
- Please do your best not to braai with indigenous wood. Rather use alien vegetation like Rooikrantz and Blackwattle. They suck up a lot of our much needed water and it feels great to burn Australian invaders with a beer in hand.
- Braaing is one of the few direct forms of energy use. You are transferring heat directly from the coals, to your meat. Conventional electricity allows for a lot of spillage between the power plant and your stove and pan. If you want to be eco-friendly and love the earth us much as we do then it’s irresponsible not to braai!
- Ice is almost as valuable as your braai meat. You can use it to keep your favorite beer cold, and use it to treat burn wounds with. Please see point number 6.
- You WILL burn yourself at some stage, so make sure you see point number 5.
- Smoke from the fire always travels in the direction of the prettiest people at the braai. So unless you like smoke in your face, send these people to the kitchen to go and make a salad.
- Animals tirelessly eat grass, leaves and vegetation from the day they are born and convert it to meat for us. Don’t waste their hard work or your money on vitamin pills. Nature has the answer.
- An animal must only ever be killed once. Don’t braai your meat until the flavour is dead too. Ever heard of the expression, “never flog a dead horse”? Well that applies here.
- A braaibroodjie (which is a sandwich made on a braai) is your only chance in life to have your bread buttered on both sides. Take advantage!
Here are some great braai recipes
Now that you know why we braai, lets help you with some tasty recipes that will get your heritage pumping.
Red pepper braai poppers
Preparation time: 10 min , Cooking time: 20 min
You will need:
- 6 Red sweet peppers
- A handful grated mozzarella
- 2 rounds of feta
- 1/2 cup of spicy sauce (which ever you prefer)
- chili sauce, to taste
- 12 toothpicks
Cut your red peppers lengthways and then remove the seeds. Sprinkle a teaspoon of grated cheese into each red pepper half then add a slice of feta and a chilli sauce to taste. You then wrap each piece in bacon, because everything is better wrapped in bacon, to keep in the cheese. Secure with a toothpick.
Now braai the open side of the peppers first, until the bacon is lekker crispy. You need to work quickly here, so don’t leave this until the end of the braai when you have had one too many Klippies & Coke. Turn the peppers so that they are sitting skin-side down on the braai grid before the cheese melts and runs into the coals. Now shift the peppers to a cooler part of the grid and braai then until they are soft and the bacon is crispy all-round.
Sticky chicken wings
Preparation time: 15 min, Cooking time: 40 min
You will need:
- 1-2 kgs of chicken wings
- 1 Tbs peri peri powder
- 1 Tbs baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 2 cloves of garlic, bruised
- 1 Tbs smoky barbecue sauce
- Just a dash of Tabasco (optional)
- 2 Tbs chopped coriander
- 1/2 cup maple-flavoured syrup
- juice of 1 lime
- 2 Tbs soya sauce
Start off by drying your bird by patting it down with some paper towels. Now mix together the salt, baking powder, paprika and peri peri. Put the wings and the mixture mix in a bag and shake it like a Jack Russel with your favourite slippers. Now line a big bowel with paper towels and put the chicken pieces on top of the towels. This should now go into your fridge overnight but two hours will do the trick if you are strapped for time.
Now get out your food processor and combine all the ingredients we allocated to the sauce above. If you don’t have one then get the family involved.
You will now need some cool coals to braai the chicken wings slowly and then you will want some hot coals to char for taste. The easiest way to do this is to push most of the coals to one side of the braai. On the cool side, braai the wings skin-side down at least 20cm above the coals for about 30 minutes.
Baste your wings thoroughly with the sauce, drop the grid down a bit and push some hot coals under it. Keep on turning, basting and braaing your chicken until they become sticky and nicely charred. These are great for eating right off the braai.
Bacon beer bread
Preparation time: 10 min, Cooking time: 1h
You will need:
- A flat-bottomed potjie (25cm)
- 250 g of streaky bacon
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 500 g self-raising flour
- 2 Tbs sugar
- 340 ml beer (1 bottle of your choice)
- 1/3 cup water
- 1 egg, whisked
- 1 cup grated cheddar
Grease up your flat bottomed potjie with some cooking spray and line the bottom with bacon. Don’t worry if they are too long, the more the merrier.
Sift your flour into a big mixing bowl and stir in the salt and sugar. Pour the egg, water and beer into your pot and mix them together. Stir the cheese in and pour the batter into the potjie pot that you lined with bacon. Drape the long bacon ends lightly over the batter so they don’t go to waste.
Now to prepare the fire, spread a layer of coals in a circle around the pot. Rest the pot on a braai triangle or, for the ‘not so fancy’, flat rocks in the middle. This is done to allow the heat to circulate evenly through the entire potjie pot. Put a few coals on top of the lid and bake for about an hour over consistent heat. Keep checking your bread though, it will cook differently every time as the baking mixture and heat source will always vary. The way to test if it’s ready is to stick a knife all the way to the bottom of the bread. If the knife comes out clean then it’s ready to be enjoyed.
As we mentioned earlier, if you don’t have a braai then we can also help with that too. Junk Mail has all kinds of shapes and sizes of braai to choose from. Here are just a few examples:
Braai for sale
Gas braai for sale
Braai stands for sale
All this talk of heritage and braaivleis has probably got your mouth watering already. Remember, Junk Mail is the perfect place to find a great gas braai for sale or braai stands for sale. Junk Mail is hoping that everyone enjoys a fun-filled Heritage and National Braai Day. Spark up a fire and have a great braai with friends and family. Get your braai on South Africa!