Any grill guru worth his braai salt will tell you: acing flame-grilled fare requires getting into the zone. Two different zones, to be precise. Once your coals are glowing orange (whether it’s from wood or charcoal is totally up to you), create two heat areas. Park most of your hot coals on one side of the braai for a high heat, and a smaller pile with fewer coals for a cooler zone on the other. If you can comfortably hold your hand 5 cm above the glowing coals for 2 seconds, the heat is high; for 3 seconds, it’s medium high; and for 4 seconds, it’s medium. Got it? Good. Here’s what to braai where.
The hot zone: Put anything here that requires fast, hot heat and a perfect sear. Free-range, flavour filled red-meat cuts like beef rump, R169,99/kg or fillet, R225,99/kg (whole fillet) and lamb steak, R184,99/kg; and veggies such as corn, from R22,99 (4 pack), and peppers, from R34,99 (3 pack) all benefit from hot-hot heat.
The cool zone: This is where the bulk of your braai fare, including thicker cuts and anything coated in marinade, goes – anything that needs slower, steadier cooking, essentially. Honey, teriyaki and ginger chicken thigh kebabs, R139,99/kg, whole snoek with BBQ and apricot marinade, from R89,99/kg (average 1,1 kg) and butternut filled with ratatouille, R37,99 (2 halves), are all good bets for this semi-hot spot. For butter-soft, smoky sweet potatoes, from R21,99/kg and brinjals, from R16,99 (350g), wrap the whole vegetables in tinfoil and nestle in the cooler coals while you braai, and cook until a fork goes in easily.
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