Durban - Heritage, next Tuesday, has been rebranded as National Braai Day over the years.
On this day South Africans celebrate their diversity over the common and uniting force of a good old-fashioned South African braai.
We asked the braai master himself, Justin Bonello, to share a few recipes and tips.
Season two of his popular show Ultimate Braai Master: Roads Less Travelled, which is sponsored by Pick n Pay, launched on SABC3 at 8.30pm on September 18 and will flight weekly until the finalé on Wednesday, Decemeber 18.
Bonello says, “This year we’ve raised the ‘braai-grid’ with tougher challenges and more off-the-beaten-track locations that really showcase a side to our country that many South Africans have never seen or known about.”
The recipes he’s selected are from his latest cookbook, which bears the same title as the reality show, and will be available in November.
THE PERFECT LAMB CHOPS
This is good old braaivleis at its best.
For six people, you’ll need:
12 Karoo lamb loin chops
4 sprigs rosemary, at least 10cm in length
Coarse sea salt
Cracked black pepper
I don’t believe in marinating lamb chops… if you get proper Karoo lamb chops, the lambs marinated themselves when they ate all those fragrant Karoo bossies. The meat should speak for itself.
So the first thing you do is make a fire and wait for the coals to be at a moderate to low heat. While you’re waiting, take the rosemary and skewer one lamb chop at a time just under the bone in the meaty part.
Repeat this until you have three chops lined up, fat sides all facing towards you. Do this with the remaining chops and rosemary sprigs so that you have four rosemary skewers with three lamb chops on each.
Next take loads of salt and rub it into the fat and then put the four rosemary “kebabs” and place them, fat side down, on the braai grid.
Braai these over a gentle heat until the fat is nice and perfectly crispy then take it off the heat. Pull the rosemary out of the chops, then place them flat on the grid. Season with salt and pepper on both sides as you braai them over moderate to hot coals.
I like my lamb chops to be still pink (but not bloody) on the inside, so braai them for about 10 minutes, or until done to your liking.
When you bite into that lamb chop, you’ll get it. Crispy fat (not burnt) and tender, delicious and juicy meat.
In the battle of the perfect steak, you can’t do much wrong with a good old bistro-styled steak. Serve it drizzled with a sauce, or eat it plain – either way, it’s really good.
For the perfect steak:
With a mortar and pestle, roughly bash together equal quantities of coriander, garlic and mustard seeds
1 free-range steak for one person – any cut you like – I used sirloin
I like to use thick-cut sirloin steaks, but use whatever steak is your favourite. Make sure the coals are nice and hot, then after you’ve generously rubbed the steaks with the spices, seal them on the fire.
Once the steaks are sealed on both sides, drizzle with sunflower oil and let the flames lick (not burn) the one side.
Turn the steak around and do the same on the other side. The taste this creates is worth the fire hazard you’re causing, trust me.
Remove the sealed steaks from the heat, for about 5 minutes, then cut the sirloin into friend-size portions and braai to your their taste (rare, medium rare or medium – I think anything more than that is sacrilege). Lekker!
STICKY SHORT RIBS
Because the ribs need to simmer and then marinate overnight, these babies take a little effort, but I promise you they’re the most flavourful, stickiest and tender lip-smacking ribs you’ll ever get your hands on!
The Night Before…
2kg free-range pork loin rib racks, cut into blocks of 4 (ask your butcher to do this for you)
A couple of splashes Kikkoman soy sauce
A couple of bashed garlic cloves
A knob of roughly chopped ginger
½ a lime, squeezed
Grab the biggest pot you have, fill with water to about halfway and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat, add the garlic, soy, lime juice and ginger, then the blocks of ribs.
Simmer gently for about 45 minutes to an hour, then remove from the heat and allow the ribs to cool in the water (to be infused with the flavours), then strain.
While the ribs are simmering, make the marinade.
About a third of a cup soft brown sugar
About ¼ of a cup sherry
A couple of chunks of ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 red chilli, finely chopped
About 3 cloves of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 cup tomato sauce
A couple of splashes of Worcestershire sauce
A couple of tablespoons Dijon mustard
A good couple of splashes of Kikkoman soy sauce
The juice of about 4 lemons
Salt and pepper to taste
Pour the sugar and sherry into a saucepan and simmer until sugar has melted.
Next, stir in the remainder of the ingredients and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Put the ribs in a large airtight container, pour over half the sauce, pop the lid on, shake it around a bit so that the marinade covers all the meat, and leave it in the fridge overnight. Bottle the other half of the marinade to use as extra basting sauce.
The next day, get ready to wow your friends with the best ribs they’ve ever eaten.
Place the ribs on a grid over moderate coals and slowly braai them, turning and basting as you go, for about 30 to 40 minutes or until caramelised and sticky.
Give them one last generous brush of basting sauce without turning them over again, take them off the heat and serve.
Tips for steak
For the perfect steak, here are a couple of tips to keep in mind next time you try to impress your friends:
* Buy quality meat.
* Bring the steak to room temperature and pat dry with paper towel, before seasoning.
* After braaiing, let the steak rest for at least five minutes before slicing, to allow the juices to redistribute evenly and give you a juicier steak.
* When turning a steak around on a braai, don’t use a fork, knife or any other sharp object you have managed to get your hands on. When you use a sharp object on the meat, you’re essentially piercing holes into the meat, and this means that it is losing moisture. So use braai tongs… or do it like me and just use your fingers.
* Braai the steak on hot coals – you’ll know the temperature is perfect if you can hold your hand about 10cm above the coals and count to three without flinching. Finish the steak off over moderate coals (count to four). - The Mercury