Breakfast Braaibroodjies

Jan Braai Breakfast BraaibroodjieThe braaibroodjie (braaied toasted sandwich) is the highlight of many a braai. Those not yet emancipated by the fact that you don’t need meat at every braai, frequently braai meat as a pretext when all they actually want is braaibroodjies. Top your work of art with a sunny side up egg or two for the ultimate in breakfast braai. This is the superior South African braai fire version of the classic French croque-madame.

WHAT YOU NEED (makes 9 braaibroodjies)

  • 1 pre-sliced loaf white bread (usually contains at least 18 useable slices)
  • 300 g cheddar cheese (sliced – grate if you want to, but it falls out easier)
  • 1 large onion (sliced into rings)
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced (you need 2 slices per braaibroodjie and there are on average 5 useable slices per tomato)
  • chutney
  • butter
  • salt and pepper
  • one or two eggs per person

WHAT TO DO TO ASSEMBLE

  1. Butter all the slices of bread on one side. Slice the cheese, onion and tomatoes.
  2. Place half the bread slices butter side down, spread chutney on them and evenly distribute all the cheese, tomato and onion on top. Grind salt and pepper over that.
  3. Cover with the remaining bread slices, butter side facing up. Some people try and make an issue out of whether to butter the braaibroodjie on the outside or inside. There is no debate; you butter it on the outside. This makes a golden-brown finished product, and also keeps the braaibroodjie from sticking to the grid.

WHAT TO DO TO BRAAI

  1. Braaibroodjies are always braaied in a toeklaprooster (hinged grid). Using an open grid for this is silly to the point of stupid. You want very gentle heat and you need to turn them often. They are ready when the outsides are golden brown, the cheese has melted and all the other ingredients are properly heated all the way through. If the outsides are burnt before the cheese is melted you’ve failed.
  2. Many people braai the broodjies right at the end, after the meat. The advantage is that the coals are then quite gentle but the disadvantage is that your meat then rests until it is cold.
  3. An alternative trick is to have two identical braai grids. Braai your meat in the bottom one and your braaibroodjies in the other, resting right on top of the meat grid. When you want to turn the meat, first remove the top grid with the braaibroodjies in it. Turn both grids and then replace, meat grid below, bread grid on top. The heat will reach the bread and start to melt the cheese but the meat will protect the bread from the direct heat and getting burnt. Right at the end, when you remove the meat, give the bread solid direct heat for about a minute on each side to get some colour.
  4. Top each braaibroodjie with one or two baked sunny side up eggs.
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