Grill Hills

Kettle or gas: which braai is the better buy?

Our food expert answers your culinary questions

03 September 2020 - 00:00
Cooking over the coals is much more atmospheric than flicking on the flames of a gas braai.
Cooking over the coals is much more atmospheric than flicking on the flames of a gas braai.
Image: 123RF/Foodandmore

THE QUESTION

Kettle or gas, which is the best braai to buy? — Bokkie, Pretoria

THE ANSWER

For convenience and spontaneity, I’d recommend a gas braai. If you have the time to spend building a fire and are after the conviviality and the feeling of a “real” South African braai, a kettle braai provides that. You might even want to consider getting both as there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

A gas braai offers you instant heat and the ability to control the flame and hence the temperature. It is also simple to clean. Gas braais come with a lid so can be used as a grill with the lid open, and for indirect cooking, like an oven, with it closed.

Cooking over a kettle braai requires planning, but when it comes to atmosphere it can’t be beat. As it comes with a removable lid it too can be used as oven; this means anything larger than 6cm in thickness, from a stuffed turkey to a haunch of meat, can be cooked over the coals with the lid closed.

The downside is the time and preparation involved; depending on what you are braaing, you might even need to replenish the hot coals during the cooking process. It also takes more effort to clean than a gas braai.

When it comes to buying either type of braais, there’s a range of options and sizes to choose from. Pricing is fairly competitive and before you buy, I’d suggest you research the brands and see which is the one for you.

HAVE A COOKING QUERY? GRILL HILLS

In a cookery quandary, have a problem with a recipe, bogged down by measurement conversions, or baffled by an ingredient? For sound advice, Sunday Times food editor Hilary Biller is at your service. Send your queries to food@sundaytimes.co.za with “Grill Hills” in the subject line. If yours is selected, she'll answer it in an online article.