Braai Vs Barbecue – which tops the stakes?

Steak and other meat on barbeque. BackgroundIf your South African then the above question is a simple one – a Braai is by far one of the best gatherings – in your back yard with your Braai fired up, displaying a range of flavoursome meats, a dop in your hand, surrounded by family and friends. It sounds like a real occasion – but the beauty of a Braai is that it is not kept for special occasions – South Africans can have one or two a week!

With the reality show The Ultimate Braai Master in its 4th season these predominately South African gatherings have become more widely known throughout the world – sparking fresh interest in improving the traditional barbeque in the US or UK.

Traditional Barbeque

The traditional barbeque in the UK or USA is normally enjoyed as a special occasion a handful of times throughout the year – for the UK the weather plays an important part in any BBQ. This can mean a last minute barbeque on a surprisingly summers day, or a plan made around the weather forecast – ending in a retreat indoors when the heavens open!

Whatever the reason BBQ’s are enjoyed by many every year in the UK – with a gathering of friends and family, traditional barbeque food such as burgers, hot dogs & kebabs and some guess work on the weather!

Why a Braai?

A traditional Braai is much like a barbeque – the food is cooked in a similar way although some use wood as fuel while others use charcoal & briquettes. The food that is cooked on a braai, along with the social aspect of the event are the major differences between a BBQ and a Braai.

Meat is the main food served at a braai, including:
  • Boerewors (A type of Sausage)
  • Sosaties (Lamb cooked on skewers)
  • Kebabs
  • Marinated Chicken
  • Lamb Chops
  • Steak
  • Spareribs
  • Rock Lobster

To accompany the grilled meat traditional braai bread, green salad, potato salad and even pap, a thickened porridge like dish, can be found. These dishes can vary between regions and can include a variety of spices – from spicy chakalaka to onion sauce and apricot jam.

There are some fresh new Braai food ideas if you are looking for something different at you next gathering from Taste Mag

The Braai is a process – it is much slower than a barbecue due to the time taken to firstly get the fire going and then cook the meat – it is a laid back time which is savoured. The Braai is not saved for special occasions – the use is for any occasion – birthday, welcome home dinner, housewarming or just a Friday night get together. It is something that always brings people together – on Heritage Day, 24th Sept, all South Africans get together for a Braai with a relaxed, chilled out atmosphere.

How can the traditional BBQ be improved?

You might love the sound of the Braai – who wouldn’t! But how can we improve our traditional barbeques to incorporate this South African get together?

  • Barbecue Food – try something different on your BBQ – not the usual burgers and sausages – add some spice to your food by marinating and consider kebabs, steak, ribs and even fish the next time you prepare for your barbeque.
  • Don’t forget the sauces and dips! Try some new flavour sensations to add a kick to your barbecue.
  • simplify your side dishes. Don’t worry about making many different side dishes – a simple garden or pasta salad can compliment your barbecue – no need to over do it!
  • Don’t leave your barbeque in the shed all year! Get it out and have an impromptu barbeque when the suns shining – and even when it’s not don’t let it ruin your get together – a gazebo tent can work wonders!
  • Preheat your grill – make sure that your grill is ready for your meat by heating it up for 20 minutes before adding anything to it.
  • Control your cooking temperature by using indirect heating.

A Braai may sound like the best of both worlds – so next time you get out the barbeque why not try and go one better!


Bernard Fisher from 4EverDeck is a professional in the world of outdoor decking in South Africa. He provides a range of outdoor solutions to compliment your home and has an interest in everything associated with outdoor life.

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