Celebrating National Braai Day (Heritage Day)
With National Braai Day – now an annual event on Heritage day – just around the corner (Wednesday, 24 September), Moneybags looks at some of the specials and events that could help you have the perfect sizzling braai or be the alternative to making the food yourself.
South Africa has a rich tradition with braaing. Some archaeologists believe to have found the earliest evidence of humans cooking with fire in South Africa. The Wonderwerk cave in the Northern Cape may be the site of the world’s oldest braai. According to Discovery Magazine, it could be as old as one million years.
No matter what you think of National Braai Day, having a braai with friends and family is always a celebration worth having.
Across the country there are a whole host of events to get everyone in the spirit. Perhaps the biggest event to attend on Wednesday is the Castle Larger Braai Day Record event. According to the Castle Larger website: “Hosting simultaneous events in Cape Town, Durban, East London, Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Pretoria, South Africa’s home-grown beer invited the nation to join them in setting a new world record for “the greatest number of people preparing and cooking the same meal, at events held simultaneously at different venues set by a single organisation”. The existing record was 2311 people, set and verified on 25 September 2011 in Chiba, Japan.”
For more events, see below but first we have some tips for you on how to get a braai ‘right’: .
Top braai tips
- Clean your grid: You would think this is a given, however, it is often overlooked. A clean grid ensures leftover burnt flavours are not imparted on your meat from a previous braai. Heat the grill and then use an onion or lemon to wipe the grid if you don’t have steel brush. The acidic nature removes grit and cleans you braai without fuss.
- Fresh is best: Always use fresh meat over defrosted meat. Meat loses some flavour when frozen and then defrosted, so plan in advance to ensure you have fresh meat for your braai. If you have to use frozen meat, ensure it defrosts slowly and is not microwaved.
- Timing: Braai meat should have a specific order of appearance. Chicken takes the longest to cook, steak takes the shortest, so always put chicken on the braai first, and steak on last. Between the two, you can throw on the wors, chops, sosaties and whatever else you’re braaiing.
- Bursting wors: Boereewors is known to burst open on the braai, resulting in the wors losing its tasty juices, and drying out. To prevent this, dip the wors in water or beer before cooking it. This will make the skin more elastic and prevent it from bursting open during the braai.
- Dry meat: Once you have cooked some of your meat and need to get the next batch on the braai, rest the cooked meat on a bed of fried sautéed onions. This will ensure that your meat doesn’t dry out.
- Enjoying the flames: If your family enjoys large flames and ambience of a wood fire before cooking, place the charcoal first, then build your pyramid of wood above the charcoal. This way you get to enjoy the wood fire and by the time the flames have died down, your coals will be ready for braaing.
If you would prefer to get out on Heritage Day, Moneybags has sourced a couple of options in Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg where you and the kids can go. Remember all National Parks are open to the public free of charge on Heritage day.
The annual Heritage Day Potjiekos Challenge at Noordhoek Farm Village has become one of the most popular yearly events in Noordhoek. According to their website, the Potjiekos Challenge is about “celebrating a truly South African Day, a great national past-time, a sense of community and a fundraiser for a local charity and a large helping of good food and fun.”
At Durbanville Hills Wine estate you can enjoy a glass of their “sublime” wine, as well as enjoy breakfast and lunch on the estate.
The Red Table at Nederburg in Paarl is hosting a “braai of note” in celebration of Heritage Day at 12 midday.
If perhaps you want to enjoy some beautiful scenery and enjoy the fresh air, then the Kirstenbosch Gardens are hosting a free guided tour. The tours leave at 10h00 and 14h00 from the information desk. For more information on the tours, click here.
Stonehaven on the Vaal is having a braai day to showcase different South African cuisines. Besides the delicious braais, there will also be cruises on the Vaal River. For more information on the meals on offer and the prices, click here. There will be a heritage day tour of Soweto, for R995 per person. The tour includes return trip to Johannesburg, with an expert tour guide and free entrance into the different museums. For more information on the package, click here.
The Warm Up Jozi Heritage Day Party will be held at Maboneng. Pre-ordered tickets are R100, but if bought at the door they are R150.
The White Mountain Festival is held near Giant’s Castle in the beautiful Central Drakensberg region of KwaZulu Natal. The festival offers acoustic performances by some of the country’s finest established up-and-coming artists including Craig Hinds, Cape Town singer and top of the chart performer Matthew Mole, Brett Newski, duo Margaret’s Daughter, as well as Paige Mac, Gerald Clark and Luna Paige.
“Look forward to ample space within the beautiful surroundings where you can enjoy fishing at the dam, swimming in the pool, or watching your children enjoy the playground area. As soon as you feel slightly hungry tuck into the charming restaurant’s menu or relax with an ice cold bear at the pub,” says the SA Venues website.