Braai tips and tales from Jan Braai ahead of Heritage Day
“My earliest memory? Sunday lunches at my grandparents’ house, usually involving chops, boerewors and braai broodjies.”
This is true for many South Africans. Bonding with family and friends, sharing stories and having a great time together while flame-grilling meat is integral to our identity, regardless of creed or culture.
That’s why the nation gathers around the fire to celebrate Heritage Day. And, when discussing how to celebrate 2018’s biggest braai, who better to talk to than Jan Braai himself? We’ve got the scoop to get you ready for the action.
What are the essential items in a braaimaster’s toolkit?
The Jan Braai tongs, gloves, and braai grid set. And a thermometer!
What’s the trickiest thing to braai right and why?
Frozen chicken. No one has time for that!
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever braaied?
The Blou Bull steak, also sometimes known as the Texan steak. It’s a crosscut leg chop. But from a cow. This meat should be used to make awesome boerewors and not sold in steak form.
What lessons can we learn from braais in different countries, such as the American BBQ?
Not much. But they can learn a lot from us!
Where’s the craziest place you’ve ever braaied?
On the steps of the Cologne Cathedral, a World Heritage Site. We had to get up at 4:00am and braai at 4:30am before security woke up.
What was the highlight of your recent Namibia Tour?
The scenery of Spitzkoppe was very special.
What’s the biggest braai-related mistake you’ve ever been responsible for?
I once had to braai on the stoep of a radio station in Windhoek. It was for a live broadcast and we had to use a gas braai because of safety regulations. This is a mistake, as you should never use gas!
Do you have any advice or insights to share with anyone making biltong or boerewors at home?
For biltong, simply make more because you can never have too much! And use Freddy Hirsch Hunters® Biltong Spice. For boerewors, use Freddy Hirsch spice packs, as it’s unlikely you will be able to create the right spice combination. In my opinion, using Freddy Hirsch products is by far the easiest and best way to make your wors.
What are the best Freddy Hirsch products to spice up a braai?
For chops I like the Winchester Grill spice. For chicken and steak, I like the Chicken Grill Seasoning. For making your own boerewors, the Freddy Hirsch Kameelhout® Boerewors seasoning. And for making biltong, the Hunters® Biltong Seasoning.
If you weren’t the Tongmaster, what would you be doing in your daily life?
Professional surfer. Travelling the world to surf at the best locations seems like the best job in the world – after being Jan Braai, that is.
What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you recently?
I braaied with a guy in Nelspruit, which is on the doorstep of Mozambique, who told me he exports prawns to Mozambique because Mozambique prawns are so popular that they get exported everywhere else in the world. That’s like importing boerewors into South Africa.
If they made a movie about your life, what actor would you want to play you?
Bruce Willis, because Braai Hard is the perfect name for the movie of my life.
And lastly, what advice would you have for any of your fans that want to turn their passion into a living but don’t know where to start?
That’s it from the Tongmaster! After an interview packed with advice and entertainment, we hope Jan has you fired up and ready for 2018’s biggest braai.
Browse our online store to get all the spices and equipment you need to make this year’s Heritage Day the best one yet.
From manual mincers you can use at home to giant vacuum packers fit for large butcheries, this is the entire catalogue of equipment available from Freddy Hirsch.