Braai The Beloved Country

Private Property South Africa
Shaun Wewege

Say what you will about us South Africans but we do know how to host a decent braai. With National Heritage Day having been hijacked by clever marketing people and re-branded as Braai Day, we thought we’d hop on the bandwagon and look at braais available for your home.

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One of the better home made braais...

Possibly the best known of kettle braai is the Weber. Over the years the brand has gone from producing braais to a range of accessories, gas grillers, fireplaces and electric grills. They distribute heat evenly, can be used to cook food slowly and have a number of uses including roasting and rotisseries. Weber grills are known for bespoke construction. There are similar grills for half the price though these can be problematic. We had an imitation Weber and the legs fell off mid-braai, sending boerewors into the atmosphere. Luckily I was cooking our neighbour’s food at the time. He hasn’t invited himself over since.

Verdict: If you like extra braai gadgets and have the money, you can’t go wrong with a Weber.

The Big Green Egg is possibly the most self-explanatory name for a grill. It’s big. It’s green. And shaped like an egg. Constructed from glazed ceramic, it doesn’t rust, heats evenly, quickly and lets you cook within ten minutes of starting the fire. There are also a range of sizes so you can grill up a storm for the whole neighbourhood or lament you bachelor status with a single lonely chop on the braai.

Verdict: Brilliant for braais but very pricey. You could save up or buy an imitation. The decision will depend on whether or not you mind being the laughing stock of the neighbourhood.

Cadac is a household name in South Africa and with good reason. For years they have produced practical, easy to use and comparatively inexpensive gas cookers and related products. Their range of patio gas grills has grown over the years to systems that include grills, storage units and trays and tables to work on. They are stylish and will look good on any patio.

Verdict: You can’t go wrong with Cadac. You’ll also be able to find spare parts with relative ease as most retailers, outdoor and hardware stores stock their products. Of course, if you prefer a charcoal braai then a lavish gas system will be disappointing.

Cobb grills are rather unique in that they can be used indoors and are more portable than most other cookers. They sell a griddle with a ribbed design that allows you to use less oil and opt for healthier meals, though if you plan to cook a steak the size of a car you might as well add the extra oil. They also manufacture a wide range of accessories such as roasting racks and carry bags, so if you buy a Cobb you are assured of getting add-ons as gifts.

Verdict: A Cobb cooker doesn’t come cheap but the quality of meals and portability make the price tag worthwhile.

The most inexpensive type of braai in South Africa is undoubtedly the home made one. I’ve seen old geysers turned into spitbraais and unused barrels sawn in half. They’re cheap, effective, durable and if they rust in the rain you can always find a new one. Unlike most of the grills mentioned above, the home made old-barrel braai is great for when you have to cook at those once-a-year-whole-family affairs where your lazy brother-in-law gets drunk while you do all the work.

Verdict: If you can make your own braai you should. If you are prone to arc eyes from improper welding technique you should probably save up and buy a braai.

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