Braai Equipment: 6 Essentials For Any Braai Master

Braai Equipment: 6 Essentials For Any Braai Master

Posted by Donkey Long Tong on

Hey there, fellow adventurers and braai enthusiasts! Nic here from Donkey Long Tong. I have traveled all over South Africa and had to braai in every weather condition South Africa offers. If you're like me, nothing beats the thrill of a 4X4 safari in the stunning landscapes of South Africa, coupled with a braai under the African sky. I'm here to share my essential braai equipment list to help make sure you are prepared for your next adventure.

Top 6 Braai Equipment You Need

  • Portable Braai Grill
  • Braai Grid or “Braai-rooster”
  • Cast Iron Skillet
  • Braai Tongs & Spatula Set
  • Wood Cutting Board & Knives
  • High-Quality Wood

While this article is focused on camping, it is important to know the following: Whether you're embarking on a rugged safari in South Africa or setting up a backyard get-together, – the need for the right braai equipment will always be there. So, let's light the fire together and highlight the best uses of my tested braai equipment recommendations. Time to impress, not stress.

1.) A Portable Braai Grill

Choosing the Perfect Portable Braai Grill

First things first, a Portable Braai Grill is your best buddy in the wild. Compact and easy to transport, this type of Braai grill is your ticket to braai almost anywhere in the bush whether you're flipping boerewors or roasting veggies.

What Should You Look For In a Good Portable Braai Grill?

  • Durability: Look for a grill made from high-quality materials. Stainless steel is a popular choice, offering resistance to rust and corrosion, which is especially important in the diverse weather conditions of South Africa.
  • Size and Portability: The grill should be lightweight and compact enough for easy transportation yet spacious enough to cook for your group. Consider models with foldable legs and handles for added convenience.
  • Heat Control: Good temperature control is crucial. Look for grills with adjustable vents or dampers, allowing you to manage the heat efficiently for different types of food.
  • Ease of Cleaning: You're on safari, so you'll want something that's easy to clean. A grill with a removable ash tray and surfaces that are simple to wipe down will save you time and hassle.
  • Accessories: Some grills include additional features like a griddle or a warming rack. These can be great for expanding your cooking options.

In many camping areas across South Africa, you'll find dedicated braai facilities. Whether it's a pit in the sand for an authentic experience or a public braai area, you should be able to find something. That being said, having your own portable braai grill adds a layer of flexibility for when the feeling strikes. This adaptability is especially valuable in areas where a controlled fire is crucial. In regions prone to wildfires, using a portable grill ensures you can enjoy your braai while adhering to safety regulations and preserving the natural environment.

2.) Braai Grid or “Braai-rooster”: The Foundation

Now, let's talk about a piece of equipment that's as central to braai as fire – the Braai Grid or “Braai-rooster.” This isn't just any grid, it's the heart of the braai experience, a simple yet powerful tool that is a worthy investment for anybody serious about cooking on fire.

Choosing the Right Braai Grid

  • Material Quality: Look for high-grade, durable materials like stainless steel or cast iron. These materials withstand high temperatures and ensure even heat distribution. You also want to buy a braai grid that will last. I still use a grid my father gave me many years ago, because it was built to last. Make sure you do the same.
  • Grid Size and Shape: The size should match your cooking needs. Whether you're cooking for a few friends or a large gathering, there's a Braai-rooster to fit every occasion. Also, consider the shape – rectangular grids offer more surface area, while round ones can be easier to maneuver over open flames.
  • Handle Comfort: A good Braai-rooster should have sturdy, heat-resistant handles. This allows for easy maneuvering and flipping, ensuring your hands stay safe from the heat. I prefer a braai grid with a long handle. It keeps your hands from burning and makes it easier to turn.
  • Ease of Cleaning: Post-braai cleanup is a crucial part of the experience. Choose a grid that's easy to clean and maintain. Some come with non-stick coatings or are designed to make scraping off the residues easier.

My Braai Rooster Recommendation

SteelCraft offers a Maxi Heavy Duty braai rooster that can withstand almost anything. This rooster is crafted from stainless steel; it has a long handle, is easy to clean, and has enough space to cook for a good group of people. You can learn more about this grid here.


3.) The Cast Iron Skillet: A Timeless Tool

The Cast Iron Skillet isn't just any cooking utensil; it's a vessel steeped in tradition and versatility, an essential companion for any South African. Whether used on an open braai in the wilderness or your backyard, a cast iron skillet is synonymous with durability, versatility, and a touch of culinary nostalgia.

cast iron pan in fire

Why a Cast Iron Skillet is Invaluable

Exceptional Heat Retention and Distribution: Cast iron is renowned for holding and evenly distributing heat. This means whether you're searing steaks, sautéing vegetables, or even baking, your skillet provides consistent cooking, enhancing the flavors and textures of your dishes.

  • Versatility in Cooking: One of the cast iron skillet's greatest strengths is its versatility. It’s perfect for a range of cooking techniques – from frying and grilling to baking and braising. This skillet can handle it all. 
  • Durability That Lasts a Lifetime: A cast iron skillet can last generations when cared for properly. Its robust nature means it can withstand outdoor cooking, making it an ideal choice for the rough and tumble of safari life or the simplicity of backyard braais. You can even put it straight on the fire or on your coals, trust me, it can take it!
  • Natural Non-Stick Surface: Cast iron develops a natural non-stick coating called seasoning over time. This adds flavor to your dishes and means you can use less oil, making your cooking healthier.
  • Adds Iron to Your Food: Cooking in a cast iron skillet can increase the iron content in your food, an added health benefit, especially for those with iron deficiencies.

Selecting and Caring for Your Cast Iron Skillet

When choosing a skillet, consider size and weight – it should be comfortable to handle. A well-seasoned skillet prevents rust and creates a natural, non-stick surface. Regular seasoning and proper cleaning (avoid soap and never soak it) will ensure your skillet remains in top condition.

We recommend Victoria cast iron cookware. Since 1939, they have gotten it right and continue to produce high-quality cast iron skillets that will last a lifetime if cared for properly. You can learn more about their cast iron products here.

4.) Braai Tongs: An Essential Braai Tool

Every braai master knows that the secret to perfect grilling lies not just in the ingredients or the fire but in the braai equipment used to bring it all together. Enter the Braai Tongs – the unsung heroes of fire cooking, providing the control needed to turn a good braai into a great one.

Choosing the Right Braai Tongs

  • Durability and Material: Look for braai tongs made from high-quality stainless steel, ensuring they can withstand high temperatures and the test of time. 
  • Length and Safety: Longer tongs offer a safe distance from the heat, especially when managing large fires in the bush.
  • Grip and Comfort: Wood handles provide a comfortable and secure grip, crucial for precise control and ease of use during extended braai sessions. No plastic!!

Donkey Long Tongs: The Only Braai Tongs You Will Ever Need

One standout product in this category is the Donkey Long Tongs 80cm braai tong. These tongs are a revelation for any fire cooking enthusiast, especially when making a fire in the bush. Their impressive 80cm length is not just a safety feature to prevent burns; it also allows for a comfortable standing position while cooking on the ground. This extra length is particularly advantageous in the wild, where fire conditions can be unpredictable and safety is paramount.

Additionally, the Donkey Long Tongs lineup includes the 69cm flat head donkey braai tong, specifically designed for the culinary finesse required in flipping burgers. Its wide, flat head provides the perfect angle and grip for handling burgers, ensuring they are cooked evenly without falling apart.

5.) Wood Cutting Board & Knives: The Cooking Essentials

When it comes fire cooking, the role of a Wood Cutting Board & Knife Set cannot be overstated. These tools are the unsung heroes behind every slice, dice, and chop, laying the groundwork for culinary excellence.

Selecting the Perfect Cutting Board and Knives

  • Quality of the Wood: Choose a cutting board made from dense, durable wood like acacia, teak, or maple. These woods are hardy and long-lasting and gentle on your knives, keeping them sharper for longer.
  • Size and Stability: The board should be large enough to handle your ingredients comfortably but compact enough for easy transport and storage. You know what you like to cook most, so make sure the size that works for you.
  • Knife Varieties and Sharpness: A good set should include a variety of knives – a chef's knife for general use, a paring knife for smaller tasks, and a serrated knife for bread or tougher cuts. The sharpness of these knives is important for efficiency and safety. A blunt knife is the last thing you want when cooking.
  • Maintenance and Care: Wood cutting boards require regular maintenance with food-safe oils to prevent drying and cracking. Knives should be regularly sharpened and cleaned properly to preserve their life and performance.

Recommendation for Cutting Boards and Knives

My Butchers Block focuses on cutting boards and is my favorite choice. Their board is well-capped and very durable, and they offer a wide variety to fit your needs. You can learn more about the products they offer here.

6.) High-Quality Wood: Kameeldoring and Rooikrans

When it comes to an authentic South African braai, the choice of wood is not just a detail – it's a central element that defines the entire cooking experience. High-quality wood, particularly Kameeldoring, and Rooikrans, is revered for its practical benefits and the unique flavors and aromas it imparts to the food. Understanding why these specific types of wood are so cherished will deepen your appreciation for the art of braai. You can learn more about the best wood for a braai here!

Kameeldoring: King of Braai Wood

  • Long Burning Time: Kameeldoring, a type of hardwood, is known for its exceptionally long burning time. This means more consistent heat over an extended period, which is essential for cooking meats to perfection.
  • Minimal Smoke and Sparks: Kameeldoring produces minimal smoke and sparks, unlike softer woods. This results in a more pleasant braai experience and reduces the risk of altering the natural flavors of your food.
  • Rich Aromatic Flavor: The most prized characteristic of Kameeldoring is the rich, smoky flavor it adds to the food. This unique aroma cannot be replicated with other fuels, making it a favorite among braai enthusiasts.

Rooikrans: Versatile and Flavorful

  • Excellent Heat Source: Rooikrans wood provides a fantastic heat source for braai. It burns hot and evenly, which is crucial for perfectly grilling meats and vegetables.
  • Adds a Unique Flavor: Rooikrans has a distinctive aroma that subtly infuses into the food, enhancing its taste with a touch of the wild South African landscape.
  • Widely Available: In South Africa, Rooikrans is readily available and sustainable, making it a popular choice for both casual and serious braai masters.

fire wood

My Recommendation For Braai Wood


The type of wood used in a braai does more than cook food; it creates an experience. The aroma of Kameeldoring or Rooikrans slowly burning, the sound of crackling wood, and the sight of glowing embers contribute to the overall ambiance of the braai. It's about tradition, authenticity, and a deep connection to the land and its natural resources. 

We use Stompies for our braai wood needs. The wood they deliver is always dry and of the highest quality. You can learn more about Stompies Braai Wood here!

We Can Help With All Your Braai Equipment Needs!

Donkey Long Tong is a leader in the braai community of South Africa. We have connections to the best of the best and would love to help you get the most from your braai experience. 

Ultimately, it's not just about perfecting the art of braai. It's about savoring the journey, cherishing the connections, and embracing each moment as an opportunity to create something extraordinary. Here's to your next braai adventure – may it be filled with good food, great company, and the unmistakable spirit of South African hospitality.

Happy braaiing!


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