A South African barbeque or Braai (pronounced br, roll ‘r’ if possible,-eye) is a typical gathering for holidays, weekends, or really, anytime. Similar to our American open flame barbeque; however, meals at a braai are cooked over hot coals. This enables a thorough, slow cooked meal.
As most braais include a meal of a couple different types meat and cold salads, such as potato salad. Because I do not eat meat, I normally make myself what is called a braai-broodtjie or sandwich on the braai. Lightly butter both sides of two slices of bread and fill the sandwich with sliced tomato, onion and grated cheese. Wrap with foil and place on a grill over the coals.
Braais are so well loved we have a National Braai Day and there is a new TV show called SA braai master meant to start sometime this year. Basically it is American Idol for South African braai enthusiasts. The judges search the country for the most skilled and versatile cook. That’s about all I’ve heard about it, but it seems to be a very popular idea!
Braais, though, are not just about cooking and eating, they are a social activity. Many times you get too carried chatting you end up eating quite late. Whether in summer watching the sunset or in winter wrapped up in blankets, they are a great way to reconnect with friends and family while sitting outside around an open fire.