Celeb chefs cook up ideas for a budget-friendly braai feast
Reuben Riffel, Justin Bonello and Jan Braai on how to host a crowd-pleasing braai without spending a fortune
If the sky-rocketing price of groceries is giving you heart palpitations about hosting a big braai bash, don’t stress. Be strategic about what you cook over the coals and you'll be able to serve a fantastic meal without straining your finances.
Spicy chicken wings (recipe below) are a great choice when you're braaiing on a budget, says Justin Bonello, host of The Ultimate Braai Master. "They're quick to cook, almost impossible to ruin and can be served as a side or as the main event," he adds.
Bonello suggests serving an Asian-style slaw as a side dish. “It’s made from common, inexpensive ingredients and it’s easy to mix it up.”
Reuben Riffel, author of Braai: Reuben on Fire (Quivertree Publications), agrees that a good salad should be included on any cost-conscious braai menu, along with a potato salad and some garlic-and-parsley rolls. As for the star attraction, he recommends quality boerewors and marinated chicken thighs.
To take your chicken pieces to the next level, try Riffel’s go-to marinade: simply stir together 3 garlic cloves, 1 tsp chilli flakes, ½ tsp paprika, 1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano, 1 tbsp lemon zest, ¼ cup lemon juice and ¼ cup olive oil. “This marinade is good with chicken, lamb or pork,” he says.
Boerewors is also the thrifty meat of choice for Jan Braai, the man behind the National Braai Day initiative. “Boerie rolls are an iconic meal that is truly, proudly South African at heart, and a crowd-pleaser wherever you go in our beautiful country,” he says.
He stresses that the boerewors must be juicy, not overcooked and dry. “Turn your wors just four times,” he advises.
Riffel adds that you shouldn’t prick holes in the boerewors casing, which is why a hinged braai grid works well when you’re cooking it over the coals.
Ordinary boerie rolls sound a bit ho-hum? To pimp them up, Jan Braai suggests ditching the rolls and serving your wors on fresh croissants with lashings of apricot chutney. That makes an incredible brunch dish, he says.
JUSTIN BONELLO'S SPICY CHICKEN WINGS
16 free-range chicken wings
2 cups of tomato sauce
4-5 cloves of garlic, crushed
4-5 hot chillies, finely chopped
Salt and pepper, to taste
Juice of 1 lemon
- Place the chicken wings in a ziplock bag. Mix the remaining ingredients together, add to the chicken wings and allow to marinade in the fridge for two hours.
- Cook the wings on a medium heat fire for approximately 15 minutes, basting often with the marinade, until they’re caramelised and cooked.
- Serve the wings garnished with fresh coriander, a grind of black pepper and a sprinkle of coarse salt.