A ‘braai’ is the South African term for a barbecue. The concept is exactly the same whereby everyone has a social gathering and grills their food on an open fire. Every person has their own style of barbecuing, and whether it is vegetables or meat, the purpose behind the meal is to have everything piping hot, fresh and succulent. Since I am back home, my brother and sister-in-law hosted a hearty braai filled with all sorts of meat (if you’re a vegetarian, I recommend you stop browsing) and vegetables. Botswana is known for two main things to which no other country can come near: their diamonds and their beef. As one of the largest exporters of beef, you know what is popping up in a classic Botswana braai.
For this braai, my sister-in-law prepared a variety of marinated chops, t-bone steaks and chicken drumsticks. This was accompanied with garlic bread (of course), potato salad and coleslaw as well as pap (also known as Sadza). Pap is ‘meilie porridge,’ often accompanied with a tomato and onion relish or even green vegetables. The consistency of the dish is thick so it can be held in your hand and eaten alongside the meat. If you’ve been to a Nandos in Africa you can order it as a side (it is pretty much the same thing we have in our braais). Honestly, it is what I look forward to most in a braai alongisde the potato salad and chops.
There is nothing like coming home to a braai, and my tastebuds were truly satisfied. As you can see from my plate, there is clearly no space for more food but I didn’t care – it was delicious and worth every bite. As someone that always braais in our home, my brother was able to impart some of his meat wisdom in getting the perfect chop. On a perfect summer day, he said that the best thing to do is to “let the perfectly grilled chop come to you and not the other way round.” Well, whatever that means, it clearly worked because the end product was grilled to perfection.
Ever experienced a braai? If you have, feel free to share your experience and what you love most about them. For now, I will leave you with the mouth-watering braai meat I experienced.