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We chatted with braai-fessional and rugby journalist, Tank Lanning over a coffee (read: beer). “As the host of a braai, you have to take some – not all – responsibility for making sure things go smoothly”, he says. His coaching advice for your big braai day: “Details key, attitude vital”. We’ve made a checklist to ensure that your next braai is the one that everyone remembers as the best one ever.
1. Decide on the format
A bring and braai can take many different forms, and as the host, it’s up to you to decide how the day will proceed. “If you can afford it, the Deluxe Braai is a no brainer,” says Tank, “as it gives you more control over the day’s proceedings, but the Communal Braai helps spread the costs.”
2. Send the invitation
Some of the best braais ever are the impromptu ones with good mates and family, but if planning the shindig, the best thing you can do as the host is to communicate the details clearly. A start time is vital, an end time – less so. Detailing what will be provided helps as guests then know what they should bring themselves. A WhatsApp group or Facebook event is probably easiest, “but go easy on that send button”, warns Tank. We all know how invasive those groups can be! An RSVP deadline will make sure you know how many people to expect.
3. Check your braai equipment
We’re presuming ownership of a functional braai, but if it’s been a few months since the last braai, pull everything out a few days before and make sure that everything is still in working order. You’ll need braai fuel (charcoal or wood – not wet), tongs and a sturdy grid – make sure it’s clean! “A gas fire starter, charcoal chimney, thermometer and rib stand are optional, but will add to your braai cred immensely!”
4. Arrange the bar tools
If you can, clear out some space in the fridge to store all the drinks. We prefer a large cooler box, usually near to the sitting area where everyone can have their drinks within reach. Keep a bottle opener and a corkscrew nearby, and put out a crate or box to collect all the recycling. The host usually supplies the ice, but you can always ask a guest to bring some along too.
5. Sort out the furniture
At the very least, every guest needs a chair/stool/crate/bench to sit on. A table next to the braai is essential, as is an umbrella or some shade structure like an awning. Asking guests to bring their own folding chairs comes at the risk of losing braai cred, but will secure a comfy spot for everyone.
6. Take care of the facilities
Make sure that there is a clean and welcoming toilet available to your guests. Stock it with toilet paper, soap, tissues and a clean hand towel and please, please put away your smelly laundry and other unmentionables.
7. Make a plan for pets and children
Tank has some words of wisdom on the little ones: “If including the small ones, remember to feed them first. A coil or two of boerie and a few hotdog rolls should do the trick. “If you have a pool or a staircase, make sure that the area is safe for kids. Arrange for a movie, crayons or a board game to keep them entertained during the afternoon. If you have dogs and cats, try to keep both them and your guests safe and comfortable. Best to put Rover away in the backyard if he will be endlessly asking your guests for braai snacks.
8. Chat with your neighbours
Give them a call, or drop a note in the post box to let them know that you will be expecting company. Even better – invite them over to join you! There is nothing worse than your neighbours’ braai smoking out your house or laundry on the washing line while you’re out enjoying your Saturday!
There you have it! Follow our tips, and your braai should go smoothly and everyone involved will have a good time – even you!
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What are your braai tips? SHARE them with us in the comments section below!