braai fire

How To Make a Braai Fire - The Right Way!

Posted by Donkey Long Tong on

Hello friends! Welcome to another edition of “Ons Gaan Nou Braai.” Our experts share: How to make a braai fire! If you are a South African, you know how important it is to know how to make the perfect fire. If you aren’t South African and you are still here to learn how to make a braai fire… Well then, wow, we are proud. You’re about to level up in life!

What is a Braai?

A braai is a South African barbecue. It's more than just cooking food on a fire, it's a time for friends and family to come together, chat, and enjoy the outdoors (or indoors if you’re lucky enough to have an indoor braai for cold and rainy days). Braaing food is also a style of cooking. When you braai, you are generous with the spices…and you become one with the fire. As the braaier, you know that the fire is not just for cooking the meat, but also for adding immense flavor to your meat. 

Preparing for a Braai

First, of course, is ensuring you have amazing meat, friends, family, and good wine. Or maybe a sneaky Brandewyn (brandy + coke). Once you have all of the above, you are ready to start preparing the braai area.

Get Your Area Ready 

Make sure your braai area is safe and clean. Remove anything that could catch fire nearby. Cleaning your braai is important to ensure the best flavors for your meat as well. Go ahead and spice or marinate your meat while you prepare the rest of your area to get your fire going. The longer the meat has one-on-one time with the spices, the better.

Find The Best Wood to Braai With

The best wood for a braai includes rooikrans, kameeldoring, and mopani. These woods burn hot and create great coals. There is however a lot more to it and depending on the type of food you cook and how much heat you need, you will need to choose the best type of braai wood for the occasion.

Here's a complete guide on the best wood to use for a braai fire!

Get Your Braai Tools/Equipment

You'll need some basic tools like tongs, a grill or fire pit, firelighters, a braai-grid, or fireblower to help get the fire going and then cook. If you are new to braaing, check out our list of essential braai equipment you need when making a braai fire.

If, however, you are ready to level up your braai skills, you may be interested in investing in some high-quality braai tools.  Now, you may think we are biased, but we can promise you that the best braai tongs (and other braai tools) are our quality pieces made here in South Africa at Donkey Long Tong.

How do we know they are the best? We are avid braaiers who have tried all the braai tools - we were fed up with existing ones on the market and driven to create the perfect braai tong ourselves. See for yourself:

How to Start a Braai Fire: 7 Steps

Step 1: Place Fire Starter

Start with a firelighter. In South Africa, we have various kinds like Blitz and Ziggurat. Put the fire lighter in the middle of your braai area.

Step 2: Break Wood into Smaller Pieces

Break some wood into smaller pieces. This will help get the fire going. Use larger pieces of wood later.

Step 3: Pack the Wood

Pack the wood in a square shape. Place the smaller pieces of wood around the firelighter, leaving enough space for air to flow. This helps the fire burn better.

Step 4: Light the Fire

Light the firelighter. Be patient and let the small pieces of wood catch fire first.

Step 5: Add Larger Pieces of Wood

Once the smaller pieces are burning well, add larger pieces of wood to the fire. Keep the wood packed in a square shape, allowing space between pieces for oxygen to flow. Do not smother the fire!

Step 6: Fan the Flames

Use a fan or a piece of cardboard to fan the flames. This will help the fire grow stronger. You’re an expert braaier you say? Then you probably already have one of our Donkey Long Tong fire blowers

Step 7: Wait for the Coals

The best braai is cooked over hot coals, not flames. Wait until the wood has burned down to glowing red coals with a thin layer of ash. This usually takes about 40 minutes to an hour. Don't rush the process, enjoy the experience!

Safety Tip: Always prioritize safety when handling fire. Keep a bucket of water or sand nearby, and never leave the fire unattended. Ensure children and pets are kept at a safe distance from the fire.

Enjoy the Braai!

Once your fire is ready and the coals are hot, it's time to start cooking. Place your grill over the coals and put your meat on the grill. Remember, a braai is not just about the food; it's about spending time with friends and family, sharing stories, and enjoying the moment.

So, invite some friends over, light up the fire, and experience the joy of a true South African braai! If you would like to learn more, visit our braai corner here, where we regularly share all the best advice about cooking on fire, adventuring in South Africa and updates on the latest braai tools.

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