Trout grilled on the KUDU Grill

How to 'Braai': A Barbecue Guide to South African Braai

‘Kom Ons Braai!’ - that is a signal for the start of a South African braai. And as simple as it sounds, it’s the beginning of something truly magical, shared only amongst the South African people. In their country, braaing is not just a social gathering around the fire; it’s a culture. From boerewors (sausage) to potato salad and toasties (a toasted cheese, onion, and tomato concoction), there are signature dishes that’ll come out of a South African braai too. This ritual-like gathering amongst South Africans inspires(d) KUDU Grills, and we want to share a guide so you can experience it too!

Why is Braaing So Important to South Africans?

South Africans will use any excuse to braai. A birthday, anniversary, graduation, or even a wedding, they WILL braai. It’s a celebration in itself that brings together family and friends. It’s a way of life, where people gather around the fire to share good food and love. The word ‘braai’ originates from the old Dutch colony that existed in South Africa many years ago. The word ‘braden,’ which means ‘to roast,’ evolved into the term South Africans use today. Although braaing is an every day - any day occurrence, the public holiday ‘Heritage Day’ is South Africa’s most popular braai day. It is a day that celebrates the country’s cultural diversity and how this has united them despite their turbulent past.

A Barbecue Guide to South African Braai

The Braaimaster Runs the Show
The ‘Braaimaster’ is known as the host or who builds a fire and cooks the meat. He or she will have their own special method to braaing, including the wood they like to use, their meat and cooking method. South African’s share a common saying when it comes to braai; “Jy krap nie aan ‘n ander man se vuur nie” which means “You don’t mess around with another man’s fire!” If you’re a guest, you simply enjoy the experience, maybe make a side dish or two, and socialize.
Chop n’ Dop vs Bring and Braai
Yep, there are two main types of braais. Chop n’ Dop This is a casual braai where you bring your own meat and drinks, and the host provides the rest. Bring and Braai Another casual braai, but the host only provides the fire. You bring your drinks, meat, and side dishes along.
Snacks Are for Keeping Hunger at Bay
This may sound weird, but make sure you aren’t too hungry when going to a braai. South African’s can braai for hours and mostly eat snacks while the meat is cooking to keep bellies from grumbling. Popular snacks are things like biltong (basically jerky), chips n’ dip, and anything with cheese. You never rush a Braaimaster while he cooks; just snack, drink and wait for the food to be ready.

You Can Braai Anything, But South Africans Still Have Their Favorite Mains

‘Boerewors’ means ‘sausage’ in Afrikaans and is a traditional sausage mixed with beef and pork. This will either be eaten alone or made for boerewors rolls, always served best with caramelized onions.
Lamb Chops
Or, as South Africans like to call it, ‘chops.’ This is a simple yet delicious dish usually marinated with garlic, rosemary, and thyme.
Chicken is often considered a ‘salad’ by braai purists, but it’s still a favorite amongst South Africans. Chicken kabobs are usually a go-to.

Signature Side Dishes

A sweet and savory sandwich filled with cheese, onion, tomato, and chutney. This is usually grilled with a foldable grid that you can flip easily.
Potato Salad
Potatoes mixed with mayo, spices, and sometimes boiled eggs. It’s a must for any South African Braai.

How South African Braai Inspired KUDU Grills

The origin of KUDU Grills all started when our founder Stebin Horne met his dream girl, a South African woman. He had his first South African braai experience at his brother-in-law’s house and once again fell in love. When he laid his eyes on his disc plow turned-grill, it sparked an idea to create something even more versatile. The birth of the KUDU Grill came from the desire to build a grill people could use to cook anything, at any time, and anywhere. And now, it’s one of the most diverse grills on the market! Contact us today, and experience the diversity that the KUDU brings. Have your own South African braai on American soil with our multi-functional grill.