Being entirely subjective, I can factually say that South Africans are the best braaiers in the world. If you really want to see how to cook food on a fire, come to South Africa. And by South Africa, I also mean our adopted fellow southern Africans in neighbouring countries like Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Mozambique. We know the most and are the best.
But there are a few other nations around the world that also know their way around the braai fire. I have been fortunate enough to have experienced a few quite extensive braais – or as they call it in Argentina, asado. Now, what boerewors is to a South African braai, chorizo is to Argentina. Not the cured and dried sausage from Spain that we typically eat on a charcuterie platter during sunset before we braai – no, in Argentina the chorizo is a fresh sausage; the spicy cousin of boerewors, if you will. Heavy on paprika and with notes of chilli, you braai it like you would braai boerewors. It’s a staple item at any asado and you serve it as is, or on a roll, in which case you would call it a choripán. And what chutney is to a boerewors roll, chimichurri sauce is to a choripán.
Subsequent to experiencing this culinary delight in Argentina I set about creating a South African version, to match the best of the best I experienced in that beautiful South American country full of friendly people. As this style of chorizo is not widely available in South Africa, you start off by using the mince of pork boerewors and giving that the flavour profile of chorizo. Instead of making the effort of stuffing that back into casings, just braai chorizo patties and serve it in the shape of a burger.
Ingredients (makes 4)
FOR THE BURGER
- 500–600 g high-quality pork boerewors (I obviously suggest Jan Braai Varkwors)
- 4 hamburger rolls
- 1 tot white vinegar
- 1 tot paprika
- 1 tsp chilli powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tot cumin powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried marjoram
- butter or olive oilFOR THE SAUCE
- 4 long red chillies (deseeded and chopped)
- 4 long green chillies (deseeded and chopped)
- 2 garlic cloves (crushed and chopped)
- ½ tot dried oregano
- 1 tsp coarse salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tot white wine vinegar
- 2 tots olive oil
- ½ cup flat leaf parsley
- Prepare the sauce: Grab your stick blender or food processor (or if there’s loadshedding, your pestle and mortar) and convert all of the ingredients for the sauce into exactly that – a sauce.
- Make the patties. In a mixing bowl, combine the vinegar and all the spices. Now remove the pork mince from the boerewors casing. The easiest way to do this is to use a sharp knife and slice open the casing whilst it’s still in the punnet. Then, scrape out all the mince into the bowl and thoroughly mix this with the spice slurry. Use your patty press or recently washed hands to convert the spiced mince into four equally sized patties.
- Braai the patties in a grid over fairly hot coals. Aim for around 10 minutes’ braai time in total, either only turning once if the patties are fragile, or three times if you think they are looking solid. The spices in this patty increase the chance that you’ll burn the patties so we are taking an ever-so-slightly-less-aggressive braai approach than we would for regulation, pure-beef mince patties. To avoid the patties getting stuck to the grid, you can use a combination of the following tactics: Use a grid with thicker rods; spray the grid with non-stick spray; gently lay the patties onto the grid so that you’re not squeezing them into the grid; braai over very hot coals so that the patties seal before sinking into the grid; move the patties slightly with your braai tongs or spatula just as they start to braai and seal, so that ever-so-slightly braaied meat (as opposed to completely raw meat) touches the grid. As the meat cooks, it naturally starts loosening from the grid. Now, only turn the patties once and do that gently.
- Butter or oil the insides of the cut rolls and toast on the grid, taking care not to over-toast (burn) them.
- Assemble the burger: Roll, patty, sauce, roll.
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