How to Braai Steak

How to Braai Steak

Posted by Donkey Long Tong on

Braaing is a go-to activity and cooking style in South Africa, so if you are a local or just visiting South Africa, it’s important to know some braaing basics. Steak is a staple braai meat, which means you’ll want to know how to cook it properly. We’ve created the ultimate guide on how to braai steak - brought to you by Donkey Long Tong, South Africa’s specialty braai tongs and fire tools creators. (But don’t worry, even if you aren’t in South Africa, we ship internationally, check out our shop here!)

Whether you're a novice griller or a seasoned braai master, this guide will walk you through the steps to achieving a perfectly braaied steak. Let's dive into the art and science of braaing, South African style!

how to braai steak

Choosing the Right Steak

The first step in learning how to braai steak is rather obvious: it’s selecting the right cut of meat. South Africa boasts a wide variety of delicious steaks, but some cuts are particularly well-suited for the braai.

Quick tip: If you are looking for an A-class butcher, we highly recommend Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants

diagram of different steak cuts on cow
(Image credit:  Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants)

Here are a few of our favorite cuts:

  • Ribeye: Known for its marbling and flavor, ribeye is a popular choice for braaing.
  • Sirloin: A leaner option that still offers great flavor.
  • T-bone: Combines the best of both worlds with tenderloin on one side and strip steak on the other.
  • Fillet: Extremely tender, though less marbled, making it a healthier option.

When choosing your steak, look for good marbling (the white flecks of fat within the meat), as this will ensure your steak stays juicy and flavorful on the braai.

Preparing Your Steak

Preparation is key to mastering how to braai steak. Follow these steps to get your steak ready for the grill:

  1. Bring to Room Temperature: Take your steak out of the fridge about 30 minutes before braaing. This ensures even cooking.
  2. Season to Your Desire: Contrary to what some people may have told you, you should avoid rubbing your steak with olive oil as the oil can burn over the fire. If you have the perfect steak from Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants, then we recommend only using quality, coarse sea salt as you want the natural flavors of the steak to really stand out. If you so desire to add more seasoning, we would recommend freshly ground black pepper garlic powder, paprika, or your favorite braai spice mix. 
  3. Marinade (Optional): If you prefer a marinated steak, prepare your marinade and let the steak soak for at least an hour. Popular marinade ingredients include soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, balsamic vinegar, garlic, and herbs.

Setting Up Your Braai

A crucial part of how to braai steak is setting up your fire. At Donkey Long Tong, we believe the fire makes all the difference. Here’s how to do it right:

  1. Choose Your Fuel: We think that wood is the best option for how to braai steak. It gives you a different kind of flavor than you can get from any other type of fuel. We recommend Kameeldoring wood, Sekelbos wood, Mopani wood, and a few more. To learn more about the best braai wood in South Africa, check out our page. Otherwise, hardwood charcoal is ideal for braaing, as it provides consistent heat and imparts a smoky flavor. Avoid using briquettes with chemicals that can affect the taste of your meat.
  2. Build the Fire: For wood, start with a firelighter. Break your wood into smaller pieces and pack it in a square shape. Place the smaller pieces of wood around the firelighter, but leave room for air to flow. For Charcoal, arrange the charcoal in a pyramid shape and light it. Let it burn until the coals are white-hot and covered in ash, which usually takes about 20-30 minutes. Learn more about how to make a braai fire here.
  3. Create Heat Zones: For optimal braaing, you want to ensure you pack your wood as stated above and leave a space for airflow. If you are using charcoal, create a two-zone fire by spreading the coals to one side. This gives you a hot direct heat zone and a cooler indirect heat zone for more controlled cooking.

Braaing the Steak

Now that your steak is prepped and your braai is ready, it’s time to cook. Follow these steps to braai steak to perfection:

  1. Sear the Steak: Using your Donkey Long Tong fire tong, place the steak on the hot side of the braai. We recommend using the Donkey Tong with its uniquely shaped head designed for braaing. Sear for 2-3 minutes on each side to achieve a nice crust.
  2. Cook to Desired Doneness: After searing, move the steak to the cooler side of the braai. Cook to your preferred doneness, using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature:
    • Rare: 50-52°C
    • Medium Rare: 55-57°C
    • Medium: 60-63°C
    • Medium Well: 65-68°C
    • Well Done: 70°C and above
  3. Rest the Steak: Once your steak reaches the desired temperature, remove it from the braai and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. This allows the juices to redistribute, ensuring a juicy and flavorful steak.

Serving Your Steak

Learning how to braai steak isn’t complete without mastering the art of serving it. Here are a few tips to elevate your braai experience:

  • Slice Against the Grain: This makes the steak more tender and easier to chew.
  • Add Finishing Touches: Top your steak with a pat of herb butter or a drizzle of chimichurri sauce for extra flavor.
  • Side Dishes: Serve your braaied steak with classic South African sides like pap, garlic bread, roasted butternut, chakalaka, or a fresh green salad.

Braaing Tips from Donkey Long Tong

As experts in braaing tools, we at Donkey Long Tong have gathered some pro tips to help you perfect your braai technique:

  • Use Quality Tools: Our specialty braai tongs are designed for precision and ease of use, ensuring you can handle your steak with care.
  • Control the Heat: A good braai is all about managing the fire. Adjust the distance of the grill grid to control the intensity of the heat.
  • Don’t Overcrowd: Give each steak enough space on the grill to cook evenly.
  • Stay Patient: Avoid the temptation to flip your steak too often. Let it sear properly on each side for the best results.
how to braai steak with the best braai tongs

You’re Ready to Braai Your Steak! 

Learning how to braai steak is an essential skill for any braai enthusiast. With the right preparation, a well-managed fire, and the best tools from Donkey Long Tong, you can achieve steak perfection every time. Whether you're hosting a weekend braai with friends or simply enjoying a quiet evening at home, these tips and techniques will ensure your steak is always a hit.

So fire up your braai, grab your Donkey Long Tong specialty tongs, and get ready to impress with the perfect steak. Happy braaing!

At Donkey Long Tong, we’re passionate about braaing and providing you with the best tools to make your braai experience exceptional. Visit our online store to explore our range of specialty braai tongs and other fire tools.

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