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A braai for meat lovers

Trying to think of something different from the usual steak, chops and wors for Braai Day, I looked around my local butcher shop to see if anything unusual was available.

I love the idea of burgers on a braai but often find it quite a lot of work, especially if you're cooking for a large crowd. I decided to try to make one giant patty with a cheesy filling, which is then served in wedges in place of on a bun. It worked really well and was easy to cook and serve. If you feel the need for bread, it's great served on toasted slices of ciabatta.

GIANT FILLED BURGER   Picture: Karen SandisonCHICKEN ESPETADA   Picture: Karen SandisonHOLLAND TEXAN STEAK    Picture: Karen SandisonRIB-EYE ON THE BONE   Picture: Karen Sandison

My butcher recommended a cut of steak I have never tried on a braai before, a Holland steak. He cut it from a leg and then butterflied it to make a nice big steak which, when cooked, gets served sliced. It was really tender and had lots of flavour.

The rib-eye chops are really great for impressing guests who will be amazed at their size. Rib eye is one of the tastiest cuts you get, so the flavour will never disappoint.

Espetada always looks impressive on a braai. You can either do big chunks of beef threaded onto soaked wooden skewers or, if you have a bay tree, the traditional way is to thread the meat onto branches cut from the tree.

I like to include chicken when I do a braai and find chicken thigh espetadas work well because you can cook them for a long time and they won’t be tough. Marinating meat helps add extra flavour as well as tenderise it. One often finds most cuts come in a marinade when you buy them, which saves you from having to do this step yourself.

All the meat I used for this article was sourced from Impala Butchery in Northcliff, where the staff are helpful and knowledgeable in advising how different cuts should be prepared. They can be contacted on 011 782  7755.

GIANT FILLED BURGER

Serves 6-8

2kg beef mince

2 red onions, finely chopped

20ml chopped garlic

750ml fresh breadcrumbs

125ml chopped parsley

2 eggs, beaten

10ml salt

good grinding of black pepper

olive oil for cooking

FILLING

300g feta cheese

60ml chopped sundried tomatoes

60ml chopped pitted black olives

60ml chopped spring onions

60ml chopped basil

250ml grated mature cheddar cheese

Combine the mince with the onions, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, eggs and seasoning and mix well.

Divide the mixture in half. Press one half of the mixture into a 30cm disc shape onto a board lined with a sheet of non-stick baking paper.

FILLING: Combine the feta cheese, sundried tomatoes, olives, spring onions and basil and mix well to form a rough paste.

Sprinkle the top of the mince disc with grated cheese and spread with the feta filling.

Press the remaining mince to form a disc the same size as the other one on a sheet of non-stick baking paper.

Transfer this disc on top of the cheese and filling, and pinch the edges together to seal.

Place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to chill well.

When ready to cook, brush the surface with olive oil and cook on a gas covered braai until nicely browned on one side.

Brush the top side of the burger with oil and carefully flip it over.

Cook until golden brown and until the meat is cooked right through.

Carefully remove from the braai and keep warm until ready to serve. Serve cut into wedges.

CHICKEN ESPETADA

Serves 8-10

125ml olive oil

30ml red wine vinegar

30ml dry sherry

1 red chilli, seeded and chopped

10ml chopped garlic

10ml dried thyme

5ml salt

5ml ground black pepper

6-8 bay leaves

8-10 chicken thighs trimmed of excess fat

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and mix well. Pour over the chicken thighs.

Refrigerate for a few hours or overnight.

Thread the thighs on to soaked wooden skewers or metal ones.

If you have a bay tree, the chicken can be skewered on to cleaned branches.

Prepare a hot fire and cook the skewers over indirect heat with the lid on for 30-40 minutes until well cooked.

Base with any remaining marinade.

Delicious served with Portuguese rolls.

HOLLAND TEXAN STEAK

Serves 6-8

MARINADE

30ml soy sauce

125ml olive oil

60ml lemon juice

10ml chopped garlic

5ml salt

5ml crushed black pepper

1.2kg piece of Holland steak, with the surface lightly scored

Combine all the ingredients for the marinade and pour over the meat.

Set aside to marinate for a few hours or overnight. Remove from the marinade when ready to cook.

Prepare a hot fire and cook the steak for 6-8 minutes a side until done to your liking. Medium rare is best.

Brush with the marinade. Remove the meat from the braai and cover with foil for 10 minutes before carving into slices.

Serve with sides of your choice like potato salad and a mixed green salad.

RIB-EYE ON THE BONE

Serves 6-8

125ml olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, crushed

grated rind and juice of 1 lemon

60ml chopped fresh rosemary

10ml Dijon mustard

salt and pepper

3-4 rib-eye on the bone chops

Combine the olive oil, garlic, lemon rind and juice, rosemary, mustard and seasoning, and mix well.

Rub into the meat and set aside to marinate for a few hours or overnight.

Remove from the marinade and cook over indirect heat for 10-15 minutes a side, basting frequently or until cooked to your desired doneness.

Remove and rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Delicious served with sweet potatoes wrapped in foil and cooked on the braai.

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