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The Layman’s Guide to Braaing

I must tell you, writing this article has just made me incredibly hungry. I mean, just look at the header image and you’ll understand why.

The topic of discussion today is the South African pastime known as The Braai. If you’re an international reader, you’re probably wondering “What the heck is a Braai?” Well never fear, I’m here to not only tell you what a Braai is, but also shed some more light on the whole phenomenon.

Find out more after the jump.

So what is a braai you ask? Well, according to Wikipedia the word braai (plural braaie) is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “grill” and is a social custom in South Africa and other Southern African countries. The word has been adopted by English-speaking South Africans and can be regarded as another word for barbecue, in that it serves as a verb when describing how food is cooked and a noun when describing the cooking equipment, such as a grill. The traditions around a braai can be considerably different from a barbecue, however, even if the method of food preparation is very similar.

In short, it’s a very South African way of preparing meat, which is not exclusive to the preparation of the food, but also to the time spent with friends in mutual camaraderie. It forms a huge part of our popular culture and we tend to become very defensive when this specific topic of discussion comes under attack.

In recent years, South Africa has introduced a National Braai Day on Heritage Day in celebration of this much favored activity and at last year’s event, a Capetonian, called Jan “Braai” Scannell set a Guiness World Record for the longest braai ever, clocking in at 28 hours and 30 minutes. Read more on this great achievement here.

To celebrate this favoured South African activity, here are a few videos for your viewing (and taste bud) pleasure.

Braai Etiquette for the die-hard fans.

Jack Parow & The Kalahari Boere-Orkes – Blaas jou Vuvuzela (Baby Ek Wil Braai).

Jan Braai sets a new World Record for Longest Braai Ever

And here is a very informative web site if you are in need of some recipes or if you just want to brush up on your braaictionary – Braai 4 Heritage.