Hurrah! Next month is the beginning of spring. It is that time of the year when blue skies and sunshine return to South Africa.
The braai, which is one of life's great joys, is the perfect meal for a relaxed social gathering.
According to chef John Blou most people overlook many things when it comes to a braai.
"People think a braai is only about putting meat on fire," he says. "But there are many things that must be done to have a successful and tasty barbecue.
"People forget simple but important things such as making sure that the grill is set up in a well-ventilated area away from buildings, bush or dry leaves."
It is also crucial that the braai stand is clean before starting.
Blou says: "Most people get sick after a braai, not because they ate too much meat, but because the braai stand was not cleaned properly."
He says getting the coals at the right temperature is also crucial.
"The rule is that once your charcoal or wood is a glowing orange and red, and you can hold your hand over the coals for no longer than two to three seconds, you can start the braai," he says.
Blou advises people who braai more than one kind of meat to always start with the flesh that takes the longest to cook.
"Cook meat in the correct order," he says. "For example, steaks should be cooked last since they toughen if not served immediately, and if beef is cut 2cm thick it should be placed about 10cm from the coals."
Brilliant braai tips
l Marinate meat the night before if possible, says Blou.
"This allows the flavours to infuse the meat and help to tenderise it."
l He also advises people to keep marinated meat in the fridge until half an hour before the meat is put on the braai.
l He says wooden kebab sticks should be soaked in water for at least 30 minutes before threading the meat.
"This helps keep the sticks from burning."
l Blou says that meat should be taken out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before the braai. Beef must be thawed before it is grilled. l Remove the meat from the freezer at least a day before use and leave it to thaw in the refrigerator in its wrapping.
l Brush either the meat or the grill with a little cooking oil to prevent the meat from sticking to the grill.
l Sprinkle the spices on to the chicken on both sides. Don't be shy with the braai salt.
l For snoek, use lemon, lots of garlic, lots of butter and some apricot jam and cook in a pot on the stove.
Keep stirring the sauce until everything has melted.
Keep to one side while you make the foil jacket.
l Sprinkle salt just before serving.
If salted too early, it draws out the juices, resulting in dry and tough meat. Serve immediately or it becomes tough.