There is nothing more succulent than the aroma grilling meat! Dinner on the braai sets excitement in the soul and starts our mouths to salivating in anticipation. Braaing is a tradition nearly as old as time, passed down and perfected through the generations. Today it is a form of cooking that has been elevated to a sporting championship status and taken very seriously worldwide.
The versatility of the grill is only limited by your imagination. Throw some meat on the braai and let it sizzle away with a few seasonings or go gourmet using hours of prep and grill time, the choice is yours. It is exhilarating to push the limits and see what you can master.
There is a science to the art of braaing. The whole process not only differs from meat to meat but is also dependent on the type of grill that you use. Braaing is not the same on all types of grills and an expert griller knows the difference and uses the type of grill that is best suited for his or her personal purposes. Here are a few basic differences to keep in mind.
If you have a kettle type grill, charcoal is a great option because it is fast and easy to light. It does not take a lot of time to ignite. When using charcoal, choose briquettes. These are better because they can be used in small amounts and they hold their heat longer than regular charcoal does.
When braaing with charcoal, try putting it on only one side of the bottom of the grill. For an added fabulous mesquite or hickory taste, place wood chips on top of the charcoals. When the grill is ready, place your meat on the grill but on the opposite end of the charcoal then close the lid. The indirectly trapped heat will cook the meat to perfection giving less of a chance to burn.
This is the best. Let’s face it, wood gives meat that beautiful aroma like no other fuel can. It is also the only fuel that can add actual flavour to your food. The best woods to use are the dense and heavy hardwoods that create great embers after burning. Try to avoid light woods because you will not get a good long lasting fire with them.
This is the easiest form of outdoor grilling. It is easier to gauge and maintain your heat temperatures on a gas grill. If you use this type, keep a spare tank available. While you are cooking with one tank of fuel, have another full tank as spare. That way, if you run out of gas while grilling dinner, you won’t have to interrupt your grill to have your tank refilled.
Now with these basic differences in mind, choose the grill best for you and your grilling style. Once you have the decision made, use these tips from tried and true braaing experts to get you on your way to success. No Matter your grill type, let these tips help you to maintain your cook time, and create even tastier fare than ever before.
Do this before grilling. Your meat should be ready to grill when it is placed on the rack. Just some salt and pepper works great for a basic seasoning to bring out the meat’s natural flavours.
Clean Your Grill:
Before you use it, heat the racks and scrub them while they are hot. Next, take a clean cloth and rub your racks with oil. Once that is done, you are ready to cook. Scrub your racks again after braaing.
Organise the Meat:
Line up your food in neat rows on the grill, keeping like foods together. This will help you to stay on top of what is cooking and help you to remember what has already been turned.
When cooking foods with braai sauce, or other marinades or rubs that have sugar in their ingredients, keep in mind that sugar burns at 265 degrees F. If the temperature gets higher than this, your sauces will burn and run the risk of leaving your food blackened.
An overly nervous cook will make mistakes. Grilling is enjoyable. Don’t overcheck your food. Don’t flip it more than once or twice. Don’t’ keep spearing it to see if it is done because this will let the inner juices escape. Just relax and take it slow.
When grilling vegetables, put naturally water based produce such as onions and bell peppers directly over the flame. For dryer vegetable or starchy varieties like potatoes and mushrooms, place them on the opposite end of the grill away from the direct heat for a perfect braai.
Give it a Rest:
After you take your meat off the grill, let it sit for a few minutes before serving. This allows the meat to reabsorb its juices and not be so tough. Larger cuts of meat need to let stand longer than smaller cuts.
Braaing is not only an amazing way to cook food but is also a way to bring family and friends together. Great food and great conversation are what it is all about. Use the tips above, invite your loved ones and share in the experience that only a braai can provide.