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Your braai versus the elements: what to do when the weather changes

There is no getting away from the fact that braai-ing is an outdoor sport - here’s what to do when the weather works against you.

by: Katy Rose | 02 Nov 2018
braai in bad weather

ALSO READ: Don’t be that guy at the braai - are you one of these 6 worst characters found around the fire?

You can plan a braai, send the invitations to your buddies, pack the fridge like Tetris and research your menu, but when it comes down to the outdoor conditions, there is only so much you can do to weather-proof your braai. Here are a few hacks to help you through the 4 most common weather problems - windy, too hot, too cold and rainy. 

Windy conditions
A little gust to get rid of the smoke is always welcome, and of course, a little breeze will help to keep your flames strong, especially in the early stages of your fire. If you live in the Cape, chances are that the light breeze can quickly become a howling nuisance! 
What can you do: 
Change to an enclosed style of braai like a Weber. This is a more contained, less smoky style of braai-ing which will also prevent sparks from flying into your garden. 
Choose a braai location that is sheltered by a wall, building or garage, giving you some protection from the wind. 
Weather-proof your furniture by securing tablecloths, cushions and umbrellas. 
Worst case scenario: move the seating area into an enclosed area away from wind. 

RECIPE: Cheesy biltong braai toasts with coriander salt

Too hot
This is not the worst problem you can have at a braai, trust us. In fact, a very hot day is quite lekker. Just be aware that a very hot day may lead to excessive beer consumption - oh no! 
What you can do: 
Throw some shade. You will need the most protection from the hot African sun, so call for backup from your mates and ask them to bring umbrellas, tents and gazebo’s.
Stock up on ice. Buy more than you think you will need. 
Change your sides out for lighter, fresher salads. Think crisp lettuce, crunchy cucumbers or a potato salad instead of hot baked potatoes. 
Think about dessert. Ice cream, frozen lollies and chilled watermelon are a must. 
Worst case scenario: hand over braai duties to your buddy and take turns in the pool. 

tips for braaing in bad weather

Too cold
Year-round braai-ing is standard practice for many South African families. Sometimes, it can get a little too chilly - lucky for you, you already have everything you need for a toasty fire!
What you can do: 
Put a jacket on and keep braai-ing! What are you complaining about?
Build two fires - one to braai on and one to keep your guests warm (AKA a fire pit)
Keep the drinks flowing, but maybe switch up the cold beers for brandy on the rocks? 
Adjust the menu. Ditch the salads, chips and dips in favour of a warming braai pie, cheesy braaibroodjies or a lekker braai bread. Dessert should be warm and boozey, like this Amarula Bread and Butter Pudding. 
Worst case scenario: you run out of wood because you used it all in the fire pit.

RECIPE: Braai these calamari kebabs

This is a tricky one because it all depends just how much rain and for how long. Rain is also usually the easiest weather condition to predict, so just do your homework, silly! 
What you can do: 
Use waterproof umbrellas or shade clothes to protect your seating area. 
Use an enclosed kettle braai and rig up some protection from the rain, but be careful that any roof covering is well clear of the fire. 
Plan some snacks for early on in the afternoon to keep the morale up. We love these super easy and tasty Boerewors sausage rolls. 
Worst case scenario: put a potjie on the fire and hide inside for an hour.

RECIPES: 15 of the very best braai side dishes

There you have it! Follow our tips, and your braai should go smoothly and everyone involved will have a good time - even you! Follow us on Twitter as we swap tips, tricks and stories with the hashtag #BraaiFriday !

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