The only thing more lekker than a steak sizzling on the braai, or a braaibroodjie toasting on the coals, is getting your friends, family or even strangers together around a roaring fire.
On his recent visit to Port Elizabeth, tongs master Jan Braai said sharing stories and getting to know all kinds of new people were the best part of any braai.
“That is why the slogan for our campaign is simple: Unite Around A Fire. We want everyone to spend Heritage Month, specifically Heritage Day and Braai Day, around fires all over the country.
“We need to spend more time with our loved ones, or get to meet new people,” he said.
Last week Jan Braai (real name Jan Scannell), along with 200 “braai disciples”, spent a week on the road, starting the third annual National Braai Tour in Cape Town, travelling through the Karoo and down the Garden Route, and ending their trek at the Addo Elephant National Park on September 17.
Along the way they stopped at a number of historic and heritage sites, including the Donkin Reserve in Port Elizabeth.
“We started the Braai Tour initiative in 2014 as a way of promoting our country’s rich heritage and bringing people from all walks of life together,” Scannell said.
“On previous tours, around day four or five, I met with my crew to discuss ways for us to improve the tour the following year. But this year was absolutely amazing.
“There were no discussions about improvement. This year’s tour was just great.”
He said ending the tour at Addo had also given the participants the opportunity to celebrate South Africa’s great parks and animals.
“Our country is the only place where you can see the Big Five, and thanks to the guys at SanParks we also got to celebrate that aspect of our country’s greatness.”
Asked about his favourite recipes and what he loves to braai most, he said a good steak or “braaibroodjie” was always nice, but any food cooked over a fire, with good company, was a memorable occasion.
“Look at this year’s Braai Tour as an example. We had 200 people, in teams of four, travelling with us.
“At any point when we stopped you potentially had 50 fires going, and at any point I could just walk up to people, steak in hand, and toss it on their grill. No hassles, no arguments.
“Everyone just loved the camaraderie, showing exactly what a braai should be about.”
But if you do find yourself stuck without some tasty Braai Day treats, you can always try out Jan Braai’s Breakfast Braaibroodjie or his Pulled Pork Potjie – or if you have a sweet tooth, perhaps his Apple Tart in a Potjie or Bread Pudding Potjie is for you.
Check out his website www.braai.com for more great recipes and more info on the Braai Tour.