How to plan the perfect braai

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Picture the perfect braai. Snacks and drinks are ready by the time your guests arrive. You’ve got the fire going at an ideal temperature to cook everything on your menu. And speaking of the menu, there’s more than enough food, something for everyone, and it all tastes amazing. No one can stop talking about your excellent hosting skills for at least a week.

This perfect braai is possible. All it takes is a little planning.

Before the Braai

STEP 1: The best braai hosts have a secret – they start preparing everything a few days in advance. As soon as you know how many people to expect, make a list of everything you want at your perfect braai.

•    What kind of snacks, food and beverages would you like to serve your guests? This handy 7-Day Braai Guide is a great place to find inspiration.
•    Will they be eating on paper plates, drinking from glasses and using plastic utensils?
•    Do you need decorations, serviettes, camping chairs, wood, charcoal or braai tools?

STEP 2: Take inventory of everything you already have at home and what you still need to buy. This is also an excellent time to draw up a budget, so your perfect braai doesn’t exceed what’s in your pocket. Keep your eyes peeled for in-store promotions and specials.

STEP 3: Get all the goods you need. Non-perishables and things easily stored in a fridge or freezer can be bought early. And perishables like ice for your cooler box and fresh fruit and vegetables can be bought the day before.

STEP 4: Start your food preparations as early as possible, so you’re not rushed on the day. The day before, take frozen foods that need to thaw out of the freezer and marinade your meat – or select your favourite dishes from the NEW no prep needed Ready to Braai range available at Checkers.

On the Day

STEP 5: On the morning of your shindig, ready your braai and entertainment area.
•    Ensure your Weber or built-in braai is clean, with all your braai tools, wood or charcoal nearby.
•    Place a large bin where everyone can see it.
•    Arrange your chairs, tables and place settings.
•    Set up a drinks area or place beverages in an ice-filled cooler box to chill.

STEP 6: If you’re not taking advantage of a ready-to-braai range, the morning on the day is also the perfect time to prep your fruit and veg. Foods that can’t be cooked directly over the flames can also be pre-wrapped in foil.

STEP 7: Get your fire started. Did you know that a sloped heap of coal is best for braais? The side with fewer coals will be perfect for slow cooking foods on a low heat, while the opposite side ensures foods are closer to the flames, to cook them on a higher heat.

For advice on what to braai first and how to arrange everything on your grill, check out this 20-second video:

After the Braai

STEP 8: Once your guests are fed, the conversation is flowing and mood is relaxed, there are three simple things to do. Treat them to a decadent dessert, after-dinner drink or a delicious cup of coffee or tea.

Remember, the perfect braai might include a feast of food, bottomless drinks and a fun party playlist. But these things mean nothing without the right company of people and the meaningful memories you make together.

- Checkers

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