Nataniël on braai

One of the guys that stood next to me on the top of Kilimanjaro, Justin Hollis, sent me the Afrikaans part of what follows below. The original text is entitled “Nataniël se braai etiket” (Nataniël’s braai etiquette). How Justin knows who Nataniël is remains a mystery. An even bigger mystery is how Justin, a thoroughbred English South African, understands one word of the original text. So for the benefit of Justin and all other non-Afrikaans speaking braaiers, I include English comments after each point. The original Afrikaans text includes a few swearwords; please ignore the Afrikaans parts if this will offend you.

Nataniël busy not braaing. Source of picture unknown.

Fokus Mense, Fokus! – Focus people, focus!

  1. Doen so bietjie moeite met jou aankoop van jou vleis. ‘n Braai is ‘n ernstige ding, benader dus jou aankope ook so. In die ou dae was jou slagter amper familie. Jy het hom immers meer gesien as jou dokter. Deesdae is dinge soveel makliker en onpersoonlik. Rakke het gesigte vervang met die gevolg dat die jonger geslag onbekend geraak het oor wat nou eintlik goeie vleis is. As ‘n ding goed verpak is dan lyk hy mos gaaf genoeg om te braai. Kak man! So, as jy nie vleis ken nie, vra jou slagter. Make an effort when you buy meat, braaing is serious business. If you don’t know your meat, ask your butcher. This is something that I have repeatedly said on this website. Buy meat from a butcher that you trust, and ask his advice.
  2. Daar is nie ‘n ding soos ‘n te warm vuur nie. Dikker snitte vir braai! Dun steak is altyd taai en proe kak. There is not such thing as too hot coals. Here I could not agree more, especially when it comes to steak.
  3. Steaks is medium-rare en miskien selfs medium. As jy van jou vleis ‘well-done’ hou, gebruik ‘n blowtorch en hou jou vleis van ‘n braaier af. Hardloop dan ook sommer in ‘n muur vas. Herhaaldelik! Rare is net vir persone wat die smaak van vleis opreg waardeer! Steaks should be served medium rare. We are now on 3 out of 3 in terms of me agreeing with Nataniël.
  4. ‘n Steak sonder vet is nie ‘n steak nie. (Fillet het geen vet nie). Fillet is vir bejaarde mense met valstande. Tenderised steak hoort op die Kerkbasaar se steakrolls. Nie op ‘n vuur nie! Steak without some degree of fat is not steak. Technically this is not true, but the fact of the matter is, Rib-eye or Rump has a lot more taste that Fillet.
  5. Wors moet nog kan buig as dit afgehaal word – dit moet nie breek nie. Wors word ook nie vol gate gesteek nie, kry vir jou iets anders om te steek. Boerewors should still be able to bend when you take it off. Here we need to clear up a general rule of thumb that goes “boerewors is ready when its breaks when you bend it”. It is, but it was also ready before it could break. Breaking boerewors should be seen as the upper limit. It means that you should take it off immediately, not that you should start thinking about taking it off.
  6. As jy nie kan braai nie, moenie! Jy fok net jou gaste rond. If you cannot braai, don’t. With this I do not agree. If you cannot braai, learn how to. Its one of the real joys of life.
  7. Vleis word van die rooster of die plaat af opgeskep – nie uit ‘n lou-oond uit nie. Meat should be served from the braai grid, not from the warming oven. Fellow braaiers, this is very important. That lamb gave his life so that you can enjoy your chops. Don’t put the chops in a bowl and steam them after they came of the braai. It insults the memory of the lamb, and it insults your guests.
  8. Uitpass voor die ete is uit soos bok???! Dit is moerse ongeskik en ‘n aanduiding dat jy kak gewoontes het. Going to bed before eating is bad manners. This refers to evening braais. Going to bed before a breakfast braai is perfectly acceptable. I sleep before almost all my breakfast braais.
  9. As jy self jou vleis wil braai want jy vertrou nie die braaier nie, of as jy net doodeenvoudig vol kak is, praat voor die tyd of shut up! If you want to braai your meat personally, speak up before the braai starts. Otherwise stay quiet. I don’t really agree with this. In general it is bad form to insist on braaing your own meat when you are at the braai of another man. And regarding talking on his hand, if he breaks enough rules, tell him.
  10. As jy ‘n ander persoon die braaireg by jou huis gee dan swaai hy die septer. If you give another man the braai duties at your house, then he is in charge. Absolutely.
  11. As jy met hout wil vuurmaak, koop ordentlike hout. Gebruik slegs as daar genoeg vuuraanstekers is want om die ding aan die gang te kry kos hitte. Baie hitte. Die rook van ‘n sukkelende vuur is ‘n steurnis. ‘Smokey Robinson’ word nie hier geduld nie. As jy kan braai en nie ‘n ordentlike vuur kan maak nie, dan lieg jy. If you braai with wood, buy proper wood. I am not sure what he means here. What other types of braai does he think there is without wood? But the point remains, buy proper wood. Last minute emergency wood buying at a petrol station invariably means the wood is wet, will struggle to light, will make a lot of smoke, and will make rubbish coals. Order large quantities of wood to be delivered at your house, where it can age and be dry by the time you use it.
  12. Komplimenteer die braaier as die vleis gaaf is. Indien nie, sê so! Hoe de fok anders moet hy leer? If the braaier did a good job, give credit where it’s due. If he was bad, tell him that as well. How else can he learn? I think that I’ve mentioned this earlier.
  13. Een slaai by ‘n braai is meer as genoeg. One salad at a braai is enough. I have nothing to add.
  14. Hou jou stompies uit ‘n braaivuur uit! Jou kak gewoontes hoort by jou huis! As jy die behoefte kry om agter die braaier te gaan pis, was tog net jou hande voor jy testers vir die gaste gee om aan te proe! Don’t throw your cigarette buts in the fire, and after going to the toilet, wash your hands. These are basic housekeeping issues and shows respect to the braaier and the other guests.
  15. Met rugby steek jy die vuur tydens halftyd aan. With rugby, light the fire at half time. This depends when you want to braai. What I can tell you, from doing various experiments, is that a fire made with dry wood of any kind will on average take approximately 40 minutes to burn out.
  16. Hoender eet jy met die hand. Tjops ook. Steak en wors, met ‘n mes en vurk. Chicken and chops should be eaten by hand. Steak and boerewors with a knife & fork. This is personal preference. When I eat chops by hand pieces of meat usually gets stuck between my teeth. This is fine when I am at home and have access to floss. Not fine when I am at a strange location and have to use a second hand sosatie skewer to remove it.
  17. As jy jou pap saam met ‘n braai met melk en suiker eet, is jy wanaangepas en skreeu jy seker vir die Leeus. Vra almal by die braai om jou teen jou kop te klap, maar dit sal seker ook nie eers help nie. If you support the Lions rugby team, you are mentally deranged.
  18. Politiek, die rentekoers en babapraatjies is uit om ‘n braaivleisvuur. Rugby, jag, 4×4 bakkies en die buurvrou se tan-lyne is die norm. Visvangstories word eers gepraat as almal gesuip is, want dan kan die wat nie visvang nie saam kak praat. Politics, finances and baby-talk is not welcome around the fire. Rugby, hunting and 4×4’s are. Clearly he wrote this before the current Tri-Nations. I would much rather talk about politics, finances and babies than about Springbok rugby. Yes, our rugby is that bad.
  19. Vleis moet gereeld omgedraai word, nie halfpad aan die eenkant gaar gebrand word en dan omgedraai word nie. Draai kort-kort jou vleis. Sout word oorgegooi net voordat die vleis van die rooster afgehaal word. As dit jou idee is om die vleis uit te droog voor jy dit eet, gaan kry vir jou ‘n stuk volstruisbiltong om jou eetlus te demp! Meat should be turned often, and not burnt on one side before it is turned. Meat should only be salted shortly before it’s taken off the braai. I don’t completely agree on the turning part. For chicken or chops yes. For steak or boerewors, no. Regarding salt, this is high school science. If you add the salt before the meat is sealed, it will draw out some of the juices in the meat, which is exactly what you don’t want.
  20. Vleisbraai is nie net ‘n geleentheid om te staan en drink nie. Fok weet hoekom nie, maar baie moeite word gedoen met die voorbereiding en die gaste wil graag ‘n lekker stukkie vleis geniet. Enjoying a drink is not the sole reason for braaing. Guests expect a decent braaied meal as well.
  21. ……. en so terloops, almal wat 8-uur die aand wil eet, moet eerder by hulle eie huis fokken bly, daar is nie ‘n tyd om te eet vir ‘n braaivleis nie, eet as die fokken vleis gaar is! Lastly, braaing is not an exact science, if you want to eat at eight sharp, stay at home.
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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Mark Stacey, Jan Braai. Jan Braai said: Nataniël's view on braaing, translated into my version of English http://braai.com/2010/07/29/nataniel-on-braai/ […]

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