Braaing is a huge part of South African culture and it seems that no matter the season, we’re always up for a get-together around a fire with friends and family. Although coal is commonly used to braai, wood remains a reliable and popular option. Many braai enthusiasts believe that being able to braai meat and other foods properly requires the right type of wood. If you’re keen on using wood for your next braai, have a look at the list below for the best types of wood to use.
There are 3 key considerations for choosing the right wood:
1.The dryness of the wood
Dry wood is recommended over other types of wood because it’s easier to light, burns quicker, and produces less smoke.
2.The type of food
The type of food you’ll be braaiing is important to take into account because some woods burn quicker than others, and woods that burn faster are recommended for meats such as steak and pork.
3.The density of the wood
Denser woods are great for slower braais as they take a long time to burn and often burn at much higher temperatures. They also tend to be more expensive than less dense woods.
Types of woods to use
This popular braai wood is an alien invader species and is primarily used in the Western Cape, although it can be found around other parts of South Africa too. It takes about 40 minutes for this wood to burn and produce coals and is the perfect choice for those looking to add a smokey tang to their food.
Pinewood is a softwood that is ideal for starting a braai fire, but it’s worth keeping in mind that the fire doesn’t last too long. Pine also produces quite a lot of smoke when it’s burnt, however the scent is strong and pleasant.
Sekelbos is a yellow wood that releases natural oils that aid in flavouring the meat. This hardwood is recommended for potjies.
In addition to being found in South Africa, Mopani wood is also found in Zimbabwe, Namibia, and Botswana. Apart from being commonly found,its easy to stock and preserve due to its termite resistance ability and its a quick fire starter.
This wood burns quite slowy and doesn’t produce much smoke due to its low moisture content. It’s perfect for standing around if you’re not in a hurry to get your braai done.
Bluegum is wood that comes from the eucalyptus tree. It may not burn with a super-hot flame, but it offers a long-lasting burn. This wood is recommended for moments when the braai is done but you’re still wanting to spend time socialising around the fire afterwards.
Consider using any of the braai woods above for a great braai flame to enhance the flavour of your cooking or just spending quality time around a warm, inviting fire.