Choosing the type of braai to buy is based on our lifestyle choices. Some people braai once in a while, others (normal people) use their built-in braai at least twice a week. The latter who can smell a cooked chop on a sunny South African day, 2 kilometers away. Some use gas for a quick cook-up, others (normal people) use wood to make every braai a long-lasting, warm and sociable event. However, most of us have used the skottel for a beach breakfast or Weber for a roast. Every occasion calls for its own apparatus.
Knowing all the features of your braai ‘appliance’ will give you the ultimate experience by untapping the power of the braai. Such as, buying a kettle braai with vented lids helps control even heat distribution to ensure an all-round cook, with minimal human interference. If you prefer the simplicity of a perfect fire by pushing a button, do you fully appreciate the precision of temperature regulation on gas?
If your braai habits are more hands-on, akin to performing a sacred ritual, then you’ll want to be sure you’ve discovered the best components of your braai kit. We rounded up the most important features on a built-in braai for the braai master who takes great pride in tending to the fire and food. By utilizing your braai’s best features, you’ll cook like a champion and feel like Jan Braai’s cousin.
Whether you’re using wood, charcoal, or gas, there are some important features to know about an installed built-in braai unit.
Light and Height
The left-hand holds the braai glove or beer and the right-hand holds the tongs. There is no space to hold a torch. Sure, you can rely on a head torch until the batteries run flat or your two-year-old hides it in the toilet. And, a good head torch is not cheap so rather rely on the light inside the braai. Shedding light over a cooking meal is critical to avoid underdone or overdone meat. Most built-in braai ranges include a light fitting except for some basic units.
Having the ability to adjust the height of the braai grid is another important feature to consider. Keeping the grid at a constant level requires more attention to the fire. But where height is adjustable, it allows the grid to move if the coals are too hot, or lowered when the coals are warming down.
Speaking of grids, every braai master needs a good quality, well-fitted grid or two, or three…There are different types available, mostly made from stainless steel, or nickel, or chrome-plated aluminum. A high-grade stainless steel (or cast iron) grid will guarantee durability and good braai’ing performance as long as they are well-maintained.
Control the Coal
The Ember Maker is fitted to most built-in braais excluding some entry-level units. This wonderful invention allows you to make coals quickly and easily, while still keeping the atmosfire going. It truly is a feature for a constant flow of coals, which is crucial to the braai process.
Trash the Ash
An enjoyable feast always requires a cleanup. Eliminate ash dust, hassle, and time by investing in an ashpan, ash tray and ash trap. The ashpan catches the ash which can be swept through an ash trap into an ash tray for easy removal. Easy peasy and highly recommended.
Necessity for Versatility
As we get older, we learn more about braai’ing which opens a world beyond the usual boerie on a braai. Including features that you don’t utilize often is not a waste of money. Develop your braai culture and experiment more with potjies and spits. Having the right tools will help you master skills you thought were for connoisseurs who had too much time on their hands.
Built-in braai units should have or, at least allow for a potjie hook. If you never made a potjie or don’t make them too often, then you’re missing out on another braai dimension. Its listed as one of the most important features on a built-it braai because it is.
Keep a Wishlist
There are nice-to-haves which is very much dependent on your budget and space that hopefully, you considered during the purchase of your braai unit. Casserole racks, extra grids, spit braai with motor and arm, and combo-gas units are accessories that one can aspire to have if there’s no limit to expanding.
One of the last for built-in braais but very important feature for a gas braai is safety. Be sure to have the unit installed by a certified supplier with regular gas checks.
There is a wide range of accessories to include in your whole braai set up. Brushes, drawers, and doors, the list is as long as your budget allows. Just don’t forget about the must-haves.