National Braai Tour

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How to braai the perfect steak

Link to How to braai the perfect steak

Comprehensive step by step instruction and recipe on how to braai perfect steak – by Jan Braai.

Braai lasagne potjie

After every braai, if there is any leftover meat, debone and skin the meat. then chop it up finely and add it to the container in your freezer that is specially placed there for this purpose. as soon as you have enough meat in that container, make the braai lasagne potjie. If you don’t have leftover meat, just fry 500g lean beef mince in the potjie as you start the process.

What you need (feeds 4–6)

  • 12 lasagne sheets
  • butter

For the bolognese sauce:

  • 500 g finely chopped leftover braaied meat (any mixture of steak, chops, pork, chicken, boerewors). Failing this, just use 500g beef mince and fry in the potjie until lightly browned.
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 clove garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup mix of grated carrots and finely chopped celery
  • 1 tot butter
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tins chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tot tomato paste
  • 1 tot oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

For the béchamel (white) sauce:

  • 3 tots butter
  • 3 tots flour
  • 2 cups stock (vegetable, beef, chicken, etc., whatever you have on hand. Alternatively 1 cup stock and 1 cup milk)
  • 1?2 cup cream
  • 1?2 cup grated parmesan cheese (or aged cheddar, but then use more)
  • 1?2 tsp nutmeg
  • salt and pepper

What to do

  1. Make the bolognese sauce: In the pot that you will bake the lasagne in, mix the onion, garlic, carrot and celery and fry gently in the butter until soft. Some light flames should give you the correct heat. If it boils too rapidly, remove the pot from the flames and heat it with a few coals. Add the meat, wine, tomatoes, tomato paste, oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Stir very well then simmer for 10–15 minutes, stirring now and then. Keep the cooked sauce in another container until you need it for Step 3.
  2. Make the béchamel sauce: In a separate pot, melt the butter and use a wooden spoon to mix the flour completely into the melted butter. Now add the stock bit by bit while you continuously stir the mixture. When all the stock has been added, let the sauce simmer for a few minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, Parmesan and nutmeg. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Make the lasagne: Fill the cast- iron pot with layers of bolognese sauce, pasta sheets and béchamel sauce. A flat-bottomed pot will result in a neater lasagne but any round- bottomed pot is also fine.
  4. Put the lid on the pot and bake the lasagne for about 50 minutes by placing the pot on a stand over coals and also putting a few coals on the lid of the pot. When all the pasta sheets are completely soft, the lasagne is ready.
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Sesame Seed and Chilli Calamari

It was in a restaurant in Plettenberg Bay, after finishing a delicious a plate of calamari that I enquired of the waiter if she could please ask the chef for the recipe. The waiter came back a few minutes later and said no, it’s a secret. And so I set out to research recipes and secrets for grilled salt & pepper calamari, and I delved into the story behind the perfect sesame seed calamari. What follows below is not a replication of any specific recipe or technique, but rather the culmination and compilation of lots of little bits of information that was discovered.

What you need

  • Good quality calamari. During my research a very famous South African chef told me that there is no secret to making great calamari that he knows of, the trick is simply to buy good quality in the first place. I have no pointers on this. Go to a fishmonger that you consider to be good and buy there. If it turns out rubbish, go to a different high end fishmonger the next time. The calamari I used was fresh, as in not frozen. As with most seafood I think fresh is alway better than frozen.
  • Milk
  • Cake Flour (1 cup)
  • Sesami Seeds – Black and White (3 tots i.e 75ml)
  • 5ml Salt
  • 5ml Pepper
  • 5ml Chilli Flakes
  • Oli
  • Mayonaise
  • Wasabi
  • Lemons

What to do

  1. Put the calamari in a bowl and add milk to just cover the calamari. Many sources claim that leaving calamari in milk prior to cooking it will tenderise the calamari, and make it less tough on the byte. I have no idea if this is true, but there is absolutely no harm in doing it, so on the off chance that it makes a difference, my advice is, if you have the time, let the calamari swim in milk for an hour. Then drain it and proceed to the next step.
  2. Mix the flour (one cup should be sufficient for the quantities of calamari you will make at home) with the sesame seeds, salt, pepper and chilli flakes. If you are the type of person that orders lemon and herb chicken at Portuguese restaurants, go easy on the chilli.
  3. Now toss pieces of calamari into a plastic bag with some of the seasoned flour and shake. This will give each piece of calamari a light dusting and cover of flavoured flour.
  4. Now you braai the calamari in oil in a pan over hot coals. It really only takes a minute of two for the calamari to be done, and you only need to turn each piece once.
  5. Serve with lemon wedges and wasabi mayonaise. To make wasabi mayonaise you mix mayonaise with a bit of wasabi.
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Luxury Braaibroodjies

We were at The Lofts Boutique Hotel on Thesen Island in Knysna, feeling quite chuffed with life and the hotel management said it would not be a problem if we wanted to braai on the deck. The only question was, what to braai in such a decadent setting. Now earlier in the day we got a very nice sourdough bread from Il de Pain, the renowned bakery on Thesen Island, and I wanted to use that as part of the meal. So the decision fell on creating a few super luxurious braaibroodjies. Normal white toaster bread was replaced by slices of the world class Il de Pain sourdough bread, chutney was swopped for a mixture of French style mayonnaise and whole grain mustard. Onion was replaced by spring onion and tomato was replaced with sun-dried tomatoes. Naturally we needed cheese and the decision fell on 18 months matured cheddar. For team spirit I also added gypsy ham into each unit. Forget about butter on the outside, for these creations you use olive oil on the outside.

What you need

  • Slices of fresh sourdough bread
  • French style mayonaise
  • Whole grain mustard
  • Gypsy ham
  • 18 months matured cheddar
  • sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • spring onions
  • olive oil
What to do
  1. Go for a oval shape sourdough bread as opposed to a round one. This way all the slices will be the same size. Slice the bread fairly thin, the same thickness as normal toaster bread. One has a natural tendency to slice these types of bread thicker, so be conscious of avoiding that.
  2. Lay out half of the bread slices on a cutting board and liberally spread with the French style mayonaise and whole grain mustard.
  3. Add the gypsy ham, slices of cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped spring onions. Do not be stingy with any of the ingredients, this is a super luxury braaibroodjie and not only should the quality of ingredients reflect it, but also the quantity.
  4. Add the top layers of bread and drip or spread olive oil on them.
  5. Place in a hinged grid (toeklaprooster)  and braai over medium-low heat coals. After the first turn, also spread olive oil on the other outside, the side which was at the bottom when you assembled the units. Continue to braai over the gentle coals, turning very often, until the cheese is melted and the braaibroodjies are golden brown on the outside.
  6. It goes without saying that you serve these beauties with glasses of ice cold Methode Cap Classique. The South African – vastly superior – version of what the French call Champagne.
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Braaitour sponsored by Sparta Beef

The main sponsor of the inaugural National Braai Tour will be Sparta Beef. The tour which starts in Johannesburg on 13 September and finishes in Cape Town on 20 September, comprises an eight-day epic road trip taking in some of South Africa’s most breathtaking heritage sites. Overnight stops will be camping style in pristine nature reserves where each night team members will take part in the daily braai of prime South African beef supplied by Sparta.

The tour is open to members of the public. Participants enter in teams of four with each team driving their own vehicle and pitching their own tents in the overnight ‘braai villages’ as the tour winds its way through the country. The braai villages, with the mandatory big fires, will be in Johannesburg, Golden Gate National Park, Gariep Dam Resort, Mountain Zebra National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Wilderness National Park, Bontebok National Park and Cape Town. To enter one team (4 persons), please download and complete the attached National Braai Tour entry form. Complete one form per team and email the completed entry form to braaitour@braai.com.

Sparta, with its headquarters in the tranquil Free State province, was founded in 1966 and is a leading national supplier of beef and beef products. Every day, the South African public consumes approximately 38 000 Sparta sirloin steaks, 30 000 Sparta rump steaks, and 10 500 Sparta fillet steaks. Clearly, there will not be a meat shortage on the National Braai Tour!

The tour will be led by Jan Braai, head of the National Braai Day initiative, and the dates of the tour is no coincidence. The National Braai Tour happens in the week before South Africa’s national day of celebration on 24 September, the day on which all South Africans are encouraged to unite around fires, share their heritage and wave our flag. The whole tour will also be filmed and four special episodes of the very popular television series, ‘Jan Braai vir Erfenis’ (Jan Braais for Heritage) will be produced on this tour. These will broadcast as part of the normal run of the programme on kykNET – DSTV channel 144 – 19:30 on Friday evenings and will air around October/November.

At the core of the National Braai Tour, proudly sponsored by Sparta Beef, sits the daily official braai. Here Jan Braai and the Sparta brains trust have put their heads together and participants in the tour will braai and eat some truly phenomenal Sparta Beef products. What can be said at this stage, is that the ‘Sparta Big Six’ will form part of the repertoire. That means, over the course of the tour all participants will braai fillet, rump, sirloin, T-bone, rib-eye and club steaks. There will be more, but the organisers are hesitant to let the whole cow out of the bag now. Rest assured, it will be a very high protein diet and no man will sleep hungry! Do no miss the adventure of a lifetime, for proud and patriotic South Africans, and those who wish they were South Africans.

To enter one team (4 persons), please download and complete the attached National Braai Tour entry formComplete one form per team and email the completed entry form to braaitour@braai.com. 

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Steak with Smoked Mussel Sauce

So there we were in Mosselbaai (direct translation – Mussel Bay) on the South Coast of South Africa, the greatest country in the world. All set for a feast of mussels on the ‘Jan Braai vir Erfenis’ TV show. But as luck would have it, the sea was hit by a severe case of red-tide at the time, and we could not eat any fresh mussels due to the health hazzard. Now you cannot make a braai TV show in a town called Mussel Bay and not eat any mussels, so my attention turned to smoked mussels. And this is where we got lucky. The red-tide forced me to develop one of the greatest sauces ever to grace the presence of a medium rare braaied steak. My process started by looking at the intricacies of the classic Carpetbag steak, something described as “a luxury dish, probably of American derivation”. We went way beyond that.

What you need (serves 6)

  • 6 steaks of about 300g each
  • oil or butter
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 250g bacon (1 pack – diced into blocks or strips)
  • 250g mushrooms (1 pack)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 x 85g tins of smoked mussels (drained)
  • 250ml fresh cream (1 cup)
  • 50g – 100g pecorino or parmesan cheese (grated)
  • salt & pepper (to taste)
What to do
  1. Fry the chopped onion in the oil or butter until it starts to get personality and then add the crushed garlic and diced bacon. Sauté until it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  2. Add the mushrooms and stir-fry for another minute.
  3. Add the two tins of drained smoked mussels and gently toss. From here on in, go gentle so that the mussels to not break apart to much.
  4. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the sauce and gently toss.
  5. Mix in half a cup of the cream. As the sauce thickens later, you can mix in the other half of the cream as well.
  6. Add the grated cheese and gently toss. If you cannot get hold of pecorino, just use aged white cheddar.
  7. Test the sauce and add salt & pepper to taste.
  8. If the sauce is getting a but thick, add the rest of the cream.
  9. Keep the sauce warm.
  10. Braai the steaks over very hot coals for 7 – 10 minutes until medium rare. Here is a complete description on how to braai the perfect steak.
  11. Serve the smoked mussel sauce on the perfectly braaied steaks.
And
If you cannot get hold of smoked mussels, use tins of smoked oysters.
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