A South African braai is a fabulous, laid-back social event that see family and friends gather at a picnic spot or someone’s home – with their own meat, drinks, salads and NikNaks in hand.
Meat is without doubt the star of the South African braai. Boerewors, sosaties, kebabs, marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, sausages of different flavors and thickness, and possibly even a rack or two of spareribs. In fact, the word braaivleis is Afrikaans for roasted meat.
Sometimes this activity is also known as a “dop ‘n chop” – dop being Afrikaans slang for an alcoholic drink. And as all South Africans know, alcohol tends to flow at each and every braai – whether it’s Castle lager, Klippies and coke, spook and diesel or Tassies.
The braai has specific traditions and social norms, as described so well on Wikipedia:
“In black and white South African culture, women rarely braai meat at a social gathering, as this is normally the preserve of men. The men gather round the braai and cook the food, while women prepare the pap, salads, desserts and vegetables for the meal in the kitchen. The meal is subsequently eaten outside by the braai, since the activity is normally engaged in during the long summer months. The braaing of the meat is not the prerogative of all the men attending, as one person will normally be in charge. He will attend to the fire, check that the coals are ready, and braai the meat. Other men may assist but generally only partake in fireside conversation. In South Africa, the person in charge is known as the braaier, and if his skills are recognised he will be called upon to attend to the braai at other occasions as well.”
Check out this hilarious video showcasing the (stereo) typical South African braai tradition – perhaps slightly exaggerated, but funny all the same!