Braais are not unique to South Africa. I know America and the UK have barbeques and cook outs and I’ve had a version of a braai in Germany.
The thing about a South African braai is that it one of the things we can agree on as a nation. Everyone braais. Everyone has their family traditions and everyone has their favourite braai meat. But ultimately it comes down to the most important thing: Spending time under a South African sky enjoying the great weather and the great company of your friends and family. We love it so much we even now celebrate Heritage Day as Braai Day as instigated by Jan Braai
Jan Braai will have you believe you can braai almost anything but I prefer the simple tradition of:
- Fresh Garden Salad
- Garlic Bread
- Pap n Sous
(We’re South African. We can have two to three starches at any meal.)
These are all served as the main meal but at some point during a braai you’ve also snacked on crisps and large slices of watermelon. By the time the meat is served you’ve also had a lot of time to drink some ice cold alcoholic beverages. South African men love their beer, I like G&T though I have also discovered Beergaritas which are the most fun you can have in your own back yard.
If your host is a good one you’re starting your meal at around sunset and so you can all sit quietly and watch the country say goodnight in the most spectacular fashion while feeling blissfully content in that moment.
Braais are not eat an run affairs and so you stick around for more beers and probably ice cream and chocolate sauce for dessert. A few hours later you’re still visiting and by now you’ve relished in more watermelon and the quick guests have made light work of the leftover wors (that’s why you’ve got to have it handy)
Eventually wives drag husbands away and sleeping kids are bundled into the backseat. You’ve had a great time and you’re so pleased that your cousin has invited you around to his place for the same affair next week.