Let’s face it, outdoor cooking relies mainly on the weather situation. Rain and wind can both cause havoc when trying to prepare food - which makes sense that we do much of our al fresco eating and cooking in Summer. Hello Braai Season! No matter what you decide to do, it’s always advisable to check your weather app before going ahead with all the planning.
Are you going to be cooking over the coals? On a gas braai? A Cobb or maybe in the Wonder Bag (a genius invention if ever there was one!). Whatever method you choose, it’s always best to know how long the food will take to cook. Wonder Bags and potjies are designed for long, slow-cooking… think rich stews and large cuts of braised meat, whereas gas is great for instances where you don’t have much time at your disposal and need the food out ASAP. The great thing is that there are loads of cool gadgets available that enable you to make your favourite dishes without the need for a plug point! How about chocolate cake on the braai or this cheesy potato and corn bake done over hot coals.
You know the saying, “don’t get caught up the creek without a paddle”. Well, the same applies to outdoor cooking. You don’t want to be stuck without the right tools for the job. Especially if you are miles away from the nearest kitchen. That’s why planning what you’ll need is essential. Before you even begin, pretend that you are actually cooking the dish step-by-step and visualise what you would need for each step. It’s helped me in many out-of-kitchen situations!
Most often than not, you don’t have the luxury of a fridge to keep things cold. So always make sure the food and ingredients that need cooking, are able to spend at least some amount of time at room temperature. Seafood is generally a no-no unless you have an icebox nearby. Also – if you are able to chop and prep vegetables beforehand, do it! Just pop the amount you need into a Tupperware so that when the time comes to cook, it’s all ready to go! You never know if the outdoor venue will have a suitable area or table for prep work.
Recipe and meal ideas
Some of Food24’s favourite outdoor cooking recipes include the following:
Spicy chicken wings
Banana and ham jaffles
6 things you can make on the Weber
Bread and butter pudding on the braai
Pineapple and caramel sauce
If you’re going to be cooking outdoors this weekend, share your pics with us on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtags #Food24_sa #SmartCooking . You can also stand the chance to WIN a gas braai. Enter here!
Oh - and don’t forget the sunblock!