A Kettle Braai is not a braai

Weber is a brand that produces Kettle Barbeques. There are other manufacturers like Cadac, and Bush Baby that also produce them. I don’t have a problem with any of these companies. I like using their products from time to time, and I love eating the food that is prepared in them. I have a problem with calling it a braai.

Staring at the coals. Something a Kettle Barbeque does not allow for.

Yesterday my friend Tank Lanning wrote to me on Twitter: “Checkers have Eisbein on special for R 29 per kg. Bought a few and going to do them on the weber tonight. Any tips?” All of this was good news. Checkers have a special on Eisbein, Tank is cooking himself some nice food, and Tank is asking my advice.

I replied “First cook them a bit in salted water, makes them softer.” This I know because a few years ago when camping in Namibia, we did that. Eisbein* is German, and Namibia is a bit German. So we decided to braai Eisbein whilst there. At the time I read that advice somewhere, and it worked well. I will replicate that recipe one of these days, and write about it on this website. But that is not the point today.

A few hours later, Tank told me the following: “My oath but it was good.” This did not surprise me. What’s not to like? A good piece of meat, made even better by the taste of flames, coals and smoke. However, Tank also said: “Thanks Jan. I know you are anti Weber, but it’s sensational for cooking an Eisbein.” I agree with Tank. Kettle Barbeques are sensational for cooking (certain meals). But then call it that. Cooking, in a very manly way. The essence of a braai is lighting a fire, and gathering around that fire. Not lighting briquettes, putting a lid on proceedings, and waiting in the living room for the food to get ready.

So this is what I propose South Africans do henceforth: When you are using a Kettle Barbeque, say “I cooked this meal in my man-oven”.

*If you are really technical, the meal that we were discussing is called Schweinehaxe. That is pork knuckle with a crackling on the outside. Eisbein in the true sense of the word is pork knuckle, boiled in water, and served as is.

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  1. Posted May 17, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    It is with shame that I confess we almost exclusively use a kettle braai. Not a Weber, but a cheapy version. In my defense, we live in a flat, so don’t have any other choice. It’s kettle braai or nothing.

    But I agree, braai-ing with wood gives a whole other flavour to your meat.

    Like the man-oven idea though … 😉

  2. Jan Braai
    Posted May 17, 2010 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Nothing wrong with the better priced versions. The result tastes the same. Save the money and use it on more or better meat.

  3. KeepitReal
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Rather silly to be so opinionated about kettle braais.
    Your ideal is …’ nurturing and embracing a common South African culture, which is shared across all races and genders’ ..yet you want to be exclusive and ridicule people who make do with what they have or can afford.. Go figure!!

  4. Jan Braai Jan Braai
    Posted December 14, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks KeepitReal, I absolutely agree with you. Keep it real. As far as the economics go, man-ovens are rather expensive compared to normal/real braais.

  5. Shirley
    Posted September 14, 2011 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    Have just purchased a 57cm Bushbaby Kettle – is it recommended by anyone out there?

  6. YouCanBraaiInAWeber
    Posted September 24, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    We have a Weber and we still consider it braaing. We don’t put the lid on and go inside waiting for the food to cook. We, just as you do, sit around the fire beer in hand etc. In fact 90% of the wood-fire braais I have experienced have been in built-in fire places which eliminates the possibility of sitting all around the fire which I reckon is one of the best aspects of braaing. That being said, happy National Braai day to everyone.

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    A Kettle Braai is not a braai | Braai.com

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