The Traditional South African Braai

The Traditional South African Braai

A South African braai is a social event that involves cooking meat over an open flame, accompanied by good company and conversation. It is a unique and beloved aspect of South African culture and a popular way to spend time with friends and family. In this guide, we’ll explore the history and traditions of the South African braai and how to have your own braai experience.

Introduction to the South African braai

The South African braai is more than just a way to cook meat; it’s a social event that brings people together. It is a beloved tradition in South Africa, and many South Africans take great pride in their braai skills. The braai has its roots in the culture of the indigenous people of South Africa, who cooked meat over open fires for thousands of years.

How to have a South African braai

To have a South African braai, you’ll need a few key ingredients: meat, wood or charcoal, and good company. Some popular meats for a braai include steak, boerewors (a type of sausage), chicken, and lamb chops. You’ll also need a braai stand or grill to cook the meat over the fire.

Braai etiquette

Braai etiquette is an important part of the South African braai culture. It is customary to bring your own meat and drinks to a braai, and to offer to bring something to share with the group. The person hosting the braai is responsible for providing the fire, utensils, and plates, while the guests help with the cooking and cleaning up.

Traditional South African braai dishes

In addition to the meat, a traditional South African braai often includes side dishes such as pap (a type of porridge made from maize meal), chakalaka (a spicy vegetable relish), and braai-broodjies (grilled sandwiches with cheese and tomato). Desserts may include malva pudding (a sweet cake made with apricot jam) or koeksisters (a type of fried dough pastry).


The South African braai is a unique and beloved aspect of South African culture, providing a way for friends and family to come together and enjoy good food and company. Whether you’re a seasoned braai master or new to the tradition, a South African braai is an experience that should not be missed. So fire up the grill, invite your friends and family over, and enjoy a memorable and delicious South African braai.