Wood vs Gas
One of the great joys of life is cooking steak over a wood fire. Taking the time to build a good fire, and letting it burn down until the coals are white hot. Carefully nurturing it while everyone else works on dinner, chatting to mates around an open flame. It’s all you need. No knobs, no dials.
Building a good fire, let alone a good cooking fire, should not be taken lightly. Everyone has their own special technique, be it the classic log cabin method or a tepee setup. It is tricky and takes practice, and requires total involvement and all the senses. Grilling over a wood fire is sweaty, smoky, eye-stinging work. But it’s fun.
There’s something about the flavour you get from cooking steak over a wood fire that can’t be duplicated using gas. The blistering heat from the coals, with wisps of smoke infusing its earthy goodness into the meat that makes the taste unforgettable.
If you want all the meat ready simultaneously, throw the chicken on first over some medium coals. Then you can put on the boerewors and chops, leaving the steak for last – over the hottest coals in the middle. As a rule – flip as little as possible; to avoid losing the meat’s precious juices. The exception is boerewors, which cooks more evenly if you turn it more.
Don’t be the fool that brings a whole chicken to a braai; you’re stealing prime steak real estate. Go for chicken pieces rather – they’ll be ready when the juices run clear. 15minutes.
As mentioned before, wors cooks more evenly if you turn it more. So flip every two minutes. Boerewors is done when you can snap it easily with the tongs. 10 minutes.
Only Karoo lamb loin chops will do. Rub in olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper and then rosemary. 5 minutes on both sides, then braai fat-side down for 2 minutes.
I use a simple timeline for 1-inch steaks. After the right temperature is reached, you can put the meat on the surface. And don’t touch it for at least a couple of minutes – to allow the important Maillard reaction to take place.
After 3 minutes turn steaks. Another 3 minutes – turn. After 2 minutes, turn. And then a final 2 mins. Rest for 5 minutes.
That’s it! The steak should be left to rest for about 5 minutes, to allow its juices to redistribute (and continue cooking a bit). Everything else can be eaten straight off the braai. Enjoy!
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