Wood vs Gas on the braai

The Food Bitch challenges your opinion and shares some handy braai tips.

by: The Food Bitch | 18 Sep 2012
gas wood braai fire

Right, let’s put the cat amongst the pigeons.

Gas barbeques are not braaing. Grilling maybe, but not braaing.

Gas BBQ’s are toys bought by the 'nouveau riche' who cannot go through a weekend without buying something. They are the very same people that have the biggest TV in the street and think that owning a BMW defines them as a person.

Gas may be faster, cleaner and better for the environment, but cannot compare to the flavour of the meat you get from wood.

Two years ago I did a cook-off and a blind tasting with exactly the same meat, marked by three judges. The result was unanimous, 3-0 to wood.

And hey, let's be honest, who wants to stand around a gas barbie and have a chat? It's just not right.

Patio braai losers

Mind you, another real braai that I hate are those built in patio braais that you find in some suburban homes.

All you do is stare at the cooks bum-crack while they braai, which is OK if it belongs to Chad Le Clos, but not if it's your mate who needs to lose a few.

The perfect braai

The perfect braai is one where I can stand around and have a jabber and a cackle, the fire is made with wood/charcoal, and there's a decent pair of tongs on hand. 

Tip: If you can get Kameeldoring (camel thorn), it makes brilliant coals and gives the meat great flavour.

My braai tips

Now here are some braaing tips for National Braai Day. If you are a gas braai owner I cannot help you, just go to the Spur.

Never ever wrap fish in tin foil. You want to braai the fish not boil it in butter and its own juices. If you ever serve me boiled yellowtail with apricot jam I will feed it to the dog in front of you.

What you need to do: rub a generous about of oil on the outside of the fish and brush the grill with oil and it won't stick. Remove the fish from the grid when it is 90% cooked to your liking, the other 10% will take care of itself.

If you are serving meat with fat, then make sure the fat is cooked too. If you are serving blue to medium rare then it is wise to cook the fat first.

Tip: You can jam the tongs in to the grill which will hold the steaks ‘fat down’. Or you could use a kebab stick to skewer the chops or steaks so that you can cook the fat before you lie the meat down on their sides

Mielies, zucchini, eggplant, asparagus, turnips, potatoes etc all taste amazing done on the braai.

What you need to do: Slice the veggies, rub with olive oil and season. You can experiment with all kinds of vegetables. Mielies need to be boiled for 10 minutes first, then melt butter, salt and pepper over them.

Why not braai the mielies raw? They take a very long time to cook, the corn is pretty hard and they end up getting burnt.

Over cooked boerie is appalling! It's dry and you need a large glug of wine to wash it down.

What you need to do: Cook your boerie until it's slightly rare in the centre. By the time you serve it, it will be cooked through and juicy.

You want the boerie juices to dribble down your chin when you take a bite. A nice touch is to squeeze on a little fresh lemon juice before serving.

Braai hard peeps!

Follow The Food Bitch on Twitter - @FoodBitch_SA

- The Food Bitch

Read more on: the food bitch  |  wood  |  gas  |  braai

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