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Top tips for braaing

There's always something you can learn about braaing.

10 Feb 2015

A man (or a woman’s) braai is his/her castle. This surely is the number one rule – don’t interfere with the braaier . You will get - at best, a cold stare. 

Other than that rule – there are a couple of guidelines when lighting the fire and preparing for a feast to feed your guests. Nowadays you can buy those nifty charcoal bags that you simply just light and leave –and when the coals are ready you merely distribute them evenly before cooking.

Whatever you braai on – whether it be charcoal, wood or (gasp) gas – there is always room for improvement and here are some tips that will take your braai from boring to brilliant! 

Jan Braai – the undisputed king of braais in South Africa reckons that ‘gas’ is Afrikaans word for a guest at your braai – not something you braai with.  (Check out his Top 10 braai tips here).  

But these days, with everyone trying to do their bit to save electricity, the gas braai is becoming increasingly popular. Let’s face it – it is super quick and convenient and you still get amazing results – albeit without the flavor you get from the wood. Check out one our expert’s opinion on the whole gas vs wood debate.   


And did you ever think of this? Braaing is in fact fat-negative! That means the fat actually drips out of the meat as it cooks. This is not great news for those on the Banting diet – but it’s like winning the Lotto for the everyone who is on a low fat diet. We’ll drink to that! So visit our Braai Recipes section right now for inspiration!

Weber tips

Oh how I love my Weber. Sometimes I think I don’t know what I would do without it.  But when I first got it I used to struggle with those vents – when must they be open? And when must they be closed? Partially closed or fully closed?  

While I could talk you through it now – rather click on this link and have a look at the simple diagrams to guide you – down to how many briketts you should be using.

And while you are at it - here are some of Food24's top recommendations for when you are a Weber expert: 6 sizzling Weber recipes to make your Summer sizzle!


Blitz is naturally the go-to for starting a braai fire – but if you forgot it off the grocery list you can also try leaving used tea bags to dry out. Pack them back into a glass jar and cover with mentholated spirits, allowing it to soak in. A few of those between the brikettes will do the trick. Pine cones are also very handy if you have a few lying around. 

Foodie tips:

1. If you are braaing lamb chops squeeze lemon over them – it keeps them lovely and tender

2. Don’t turn your meat too often – this allows the juices to become sealed in. 

3. There really is no better braai accompaniment than Putu Pap. So here is a recipe. Enjoy. 

Some standard braai tips to keep in mind:

1. Make sure the fire is not too hot to braai on – you should be able to hold your hand over it for 5-10 seconds without pulling it away. 

2. Clean the braai grid with half an onion or half a lemon. 

3. And last but certainly not least here is our favourite braaier, Justin Bonello, with a few tips on what NOT to do at your next braai.

So there you are. I’m sure there are hundreds more tips and we’d love nothing more than for you to share them with us. I promise we will choose the best ones and publish them on Food24.

Just post in the comments below – or email us on and you can also tweet us on @food24 using the hashtag #SmartCooking

As Jan Braai says… if you love the Earth. Braai. 

- Cathrine Shone


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