Try A South African Braai

Braai Like a Local

©Eric Miller
A Braai is meat cooked on an open fire and a favourite pastime for most South Africans.
©Eric Miller
A Khayelitsha street braai.

The first skill any foreigner in South Africa learns is how to braai. Traditionally you do not use charcoal, even less, briquettes: you use mopane, rooikrans, vine stock, acacia or whatever is the preferred local fuel. Without boerewors, a braai becomes a barbeque. No shrimps on the braai, thank you, Bruce! And no firelighters, please!

But a real bushveld braai requires the pofadder (puff adder) and the skilpadjie (tortoise). The former is the large intestine of an antelope stuffed with spiced minced heart, liver and kidneys. The skilpad is caul fat stuffed with minced liver and covered with bacon. Cholesterol rules! 

A Braai Must-have

©Marinda Louw
Summer or winter, a braai fire is a social place to gather with friends.
©Marinda Louw
Boerewors on the braai is truly South African.
©Marinda Louw
Not everything on the braai is meat, roosterkoek is a traditional South African braai bread, cooked on an open fire.

A braai isn’t complete without boerewors. Boerewors cooked expertly on a braai is one of the most South African meals you could ever eat. Although you can buy wors almost anywhere, it's the stuff made by the farmers who pride themselves on generations-old family recipes that tastes the best. Stop at small-town butchers for the best ones.

No braai is complete without pap and gravy, and every real man needs to know how to make it. Pap is a starchy, porridge-like mixture eaten with almost anything meaty. Although it seems easy to cook, and is the staple diet of many Southern Africans, there is a definite art to doing it properly. This can be said to be the staple diet of South Africans, even if corn did originally come from Mexico. 

By David Bristow