How to make the perfect braai fire

Firstly you need to place your (dry) wood in a tower shape, like a rough Jenga puzzle; two pieces at the bottom, two pieces across and so on.
Tips by Jan Braai Firstly you need to place your (dry) wood in a tower shape, like a rough Jenga puzzle; two pieces at the bottom, two pieces across and so on.
Image: Supplied

Heritage day is an important day where we celebrate our culture and the diversity of our beliefs and traditions. Every South African knows that the best way to gather friends and family is over a good braai. 

However, we all have that one friend who considers themselves the braai master but ends up burning the meat or smoking everything up because of a bad fire.

SowetatanLIVE asked for some expert tips on making the perfect fire. Here's is Jan Braai's step by step guide:

1. Always make sure you use dry wood. Try never to braai with indigenous wood. Alien vegetation like rooikrans and black wattle drink lots of valuable ground water, so rather burn wood from those tress. 

2. Your fire can never be too hot. Rather put too much wood on (there is no such thing) than too little. 

3. Most fire lighter bricks are relatively inexpensive. I use a whole packet to light a fire, especially if the wood is slightly damp. 

4. Don’t fiddle around with tiny matches. Rather invest in a decent firelighter. 

The steps

1. Place your (dry) wood in a tower shape, like a rough Jenga puzzle; two pieces at the bottom, two pieces across and so on. I normally go five levels up. Keep the wood reasonably well apart, to allow air to feed the flames. 

2. Place your firelighter bricks into the centre of the wood pile. Using your new firelighter, light the bricks. Make sure they have “taken” before removing the firelighter. By now, you should hear the first crackles of the thinner pieces of wood starting to burn.

3. Step back and enjoy the display of your perfectly lit fire. If you have followed the steps correctly, there should be no need to blow, fan or wave your arms frantically at the wood. 

Braai
Braai
Image: 123RF/volody10

While we're at it, here is a delicious wors recipe to impress everyone with:

BEER MARINATED BOEREWORS

Difficulty: Easy

Braai time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

· 600g thick boerewors

· Organic olive oil (for drizzling)

· 6 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

· ½ large onion (diced)

· Pinch of salt

· 2 tablespoons treacle sugar

· 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

· 1 cup of Castle Lager

· 2 tablespoons tomato paste

· 2 tablespoons curry powder

Method:

1. Fry curry powder in a dry pan for one minute, add tomato paste and stir. Deglaze the pan by adding the Castle Lager and white wine vinegar.

2. Bring to the boil, then add treacle sugar, salt, diced onion and chopped garlic. Boil for about two minutes. Remove from the heat and add olive oil. Let the marinade cool slightly.

3. Place a pack of thick boerewors into a sealable plastic bag or container. Cover with the beer marinade and refrigerate for one hour.

4. Braai boerewors over hot coals or on the gas if you're in a hurry. Alternatively, cook in the marinade in a 200° preheated oven.

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