Although Braai Day only comes once a year, we South Africans enjoy cooking our meat outdoors on a fire. We’ve gathered some tips and recipes for great marinades.
You don’t have to be a chef to branch out beyond boerewors on the braai and the secret is simple: a really great marinade. A little effort at the front end of your braai day means you will be cooking delicious marinades steaks, chicken and chops on the braai.
National Heritage Day – Braai Day
National Heritage Day on 24 September is a public holiday in South Africa. Our government set this day aside for all South Africans to celebrate our rich heritage. Across race, language, region and religion, we South Africans all share one common heritage. Although the ingredients may differ, the one thing that never changes is that when we have something to celebrate we light fires, and prepare great feasts.
Generic Marinade Recipe
Olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and pepper will form the base of just about any marinade, and as long as you’ve got those ingredients, you’ll be fine.
Make space in your fridge, mix the basic ingredients, add whatever herbs and spices are appropriate, and then use your hands to mix it all up. At Household Plastic we have the perfect big, flat sealed containers to marinate your meat or chicken in the fridge.
Leave the food in the fridge to absorb all the lovely flavours, the longer the better: overnight is ideal but at least an hour will do.
Variations on the Marinade Theme
For a different flavour, especially with steaks, whisk olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, balsamic for 2 hours. Turn steaks over and marinate for another 2 hours.
A similar marinade can me made us by whisking together balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, oil, Worcestershire sauce, honey, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and dried mustard. Add steaks and marinade to a zip lock bag, tossing the steaks a few times to coat. Press the excess air out, seal the bag, and chill for 15-20 minutes. (Household Plastic also stocks a range of ziplock bags.)
There’s no need to wait 24 hours, but you’ll want to let things rest for at least 30 minutes. You might even let your chicken, beef marinate in the fridge overnight before you plan to cook. With one of these marinade recipes, you will be a hero on Braai Day.
There are plenty of great marinade recipes around, but if you are looking for some great guidelines take a look at The 15 Best Steak Marinade Recipes on the Planet.
Use a Braaimat
Marinades meat can get messy and drippy over a direct fire, so you can always use a Braaimat – in fact they are perfect for any grill: Including charcoal, electric, oven, Weber, porcelain, microwave and so on.
Chicken Marinade for the Braai
Garlic and peri peri chicken, sticky chicken, masala chicken, basil and pesto chicken, chicken tikka and a host of other recipes are popular for those who prefer chicken on the braai.
Durban Halaal Meats has a great recipe for a Chicken Tikka cooked in Marinade – this cooked chicken can be placed on a braai for a final bit of colour.
If you want to know more about marinading chicken, take a look at these Top 10 chicken recipes on the braai.
Mistakes Everyone Makes When Marinating Meat
Just throwing a “secret blend” of sauces, spreads and condiments on your chicken likely isn’t going to yield a great flavour, and more marinade doesn’t always equal a better outcome
Flavour – not enough or too much
If you are in a hurry, to bring out a flavour that’s anything but boring, go ahead and toast spices, bruise your herbs and smash your garlic! Be mindful of the flavours of your ingredients and how they’ll interact when you’re cooking.
Don’t Hurry the Marinade
Your protein needs more than 5 minutes to properly absorb all the flavours. There’s no need to wait 24 hours, but you’ll want to let things rest for at least 30 minutes.
Careful with the Salt
Don’t go crazy with the salt, because it pulls the moisture out of your ingredients. You can always add more salt when you’re cooking, and keep some out at the dinner table, too.
On Braai Day, whether you are at the beach or in a park or at home, making a braai – take a moment to look around you and say thanks for your loved ones; your neighbours and for having delicious food on your braai.