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Braai Week Part1 and THANK YOU!

 In Braai Week, Meat

First of all, I have to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU! I have made it to the Top 2 of both the New Blog and Food & Wine Blog of the year categories in the SA BLOG AWARDS. Thank you so incredibly much for all the voters and supporters! You guys are absolutely amazing. I am still in shock as I really didn’t think I had a chance of winning. I was in the same category as Nina from My Easy Cooking, Andy from JamieWho and Janice Tripepi after all. So I just have to say THANK YOU again. The ceremony is on Saturday night, and I’m still contemplating whether or not I should go to Cape Town for the night, but for now I am just so incredibly thrilled to be in the Top 2. Well done to Jeanne from Cooksister for, once again, being in the top 2.

And now, back to the food! As Friday, 24 September, is Heritage Day in South Africa (which translates to National Braai Day for all of us), I thought I’d dedicate this week to the Art of Braai’ing (Barbecuing) . It is after all, the hobby of many a South African.

Everyone I know, has a Braai Hero. Mine, is my dad. No one can braai a pork chop/lamb chop/chicken like my dad. The only thing I can critique him on, is his steak. But that’s because I like my steak still moo-ing on my plate! He also makes the perfect accompaniments. Braai Broodjies (cheese, tomato & onion on bread, toasted on the braai) andΒ  Pap & sous (Maize meal pap with tomato & onion sauce) are just two of his bests.

And since we have a gas braai, I myself have been getting more and more familiar with the whole braai process. And I’m getting quite good at it. Now I know there will always be a debate about gas braai-ing vs the traditional pyramid stacking, cole braai-ing, but for me, it doesn’t really matter. Maybe because I’m not the one doing the braai-ing. I just love the smokey smell of the meat charring and the fact that no matter what’s going on in your life, for the time that you are sitting outside and enjoying the Summer positivity, nothing else matters.

In this, the first of the “Braai Chapters”, I will be discussing Marinating. I am the Queen of Marinating (well self-proclaimed anyway!). I absolutely LOVE marinating things. Anything! Butterflied Chicken is probably my favourite but I love marinating everything from vegetables to pork chops. The complexity ranges from simple olive oil and lemon juice to 10 ingredient marinades.

Now for me, the secret to a good marinade is making sure there is some form of acid in there. I love using lemon juice for my marinades. Then, as you’ve probably heard a million times already, it’s also important to remember that you shouldn’t season your meat before braai-ing. This results in the moisture being drawn from meat which results in tough, dry meat. No one likes tough, dry meat! So I’ve heard, if you are planning on leaving the meat in the marinade for more than 2 hours, you shouldn’t season the marinade. Although, quite honestly I always season the marinade but I’m no purist so please don’t throw me with tomatoes for seasoning my meat, pre-braai!

A few more tips on marinating :

  • Never use Aluminum pans/dishes for marinating, the acid in the marinade might react to the aluminum. Glass, plastic and ceramic dishes are all good for marinating.
  • Never re-use the marinade.
  • Always refrigerate the marinated meat, poultry or seafood.
  • Always make sure the meat is completely defrosted and preferably at room temperature before you start braai-ing.

Butterflied Chicken

Chicken Marinades:

I think that chicken should ALWAYS be marinated. And the possibilities for doing this, are endless. Moroccan, Italian, Greek, Indian…anything goes. Some days I want the serious flavour and spice of the Moroccan and Indian marinades and other days, something as simple as garlic, lemon and olive oil is perfect. That’s what’s so wonderful about Chicken! I think most people know this, but if you start your chicken off in the oven or microwave and cook it 3/4, it’s much easier to braai it as you don’t have to worry about cooking it all the way, you just have to worry about it getting that delicious crisp, almost burnt skin that everyone loves!

Here are 5 of my favourite chicken marinades : (all these recipes will yield enough marinade for 1 large chicken)

The method for all these marinades are the same, combine the ingredients, pour over a butterflied chicken and marinade for at least 30 minutes (or up to 1 day) before braai-ing.


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
2tsp ground cumin
2tsp ground coriander
2tsp paprika
1tsp ground cinnamon
2tbsn honey
1 tsp salt


1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
2tbsn fresh oregano chopped (or 1 tbsn dried oregano)
1tbsn fresh mint, finely chopped (or 1tsp dried)
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1tsp salt
Black pepper to taste


1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2tsp crushed ginger
2tbsn garam masala
1tsp ground coriander
1tsp ground cumin
2 cardamom pods, crushed

French Provencal:

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
4 sticks fresh thyme (or 1tbsn dried)
2tsp Dijon mustard
3Β  garlic cloves, crushed


1 cup tomato sauce (ketchup)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3tbsn lemon juice
2tbsn Worcestershire sauce
2tbsn honey
2bsn brown sugar
1tsp salt

In the next post, I will be discussing Ribs and Lamb chops. ohh yummy! This post is my entry into the “Braai the beloved country” event, Cooksister is hosting. Click here to check out the event

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Showing 14 comments
  • Biddinghuizen

    Great marinade recipes! Don’t know which one to choose. I agree, a good marinade is super yum especially with chicken, but in the same breath have to add that I’ve had some excellent braaied chicken seasoned only with salt & pepper which made the skin go super crispy.

    • Ally_R

      You’re absolutely right. Some of the best chicken I’ve had has been with just lemon, salt and pepper. But a good marinade is hard to beat! πŸ™‚

  • Tabby

    thanx, your recipe is superb!

    • Ally_R

      My pleasure Tabby! πŸ™‚

  • Rico

    Nothing like a good char-grilled chicken, especially for me being Portuguese. Thanks for sharing.

    Tried and Tested Recipes

    • Ally_R

      My pleasure Rico! It’s always nice to get the approval of THE Chicken grillers!! πŸ™‚

  • Jeanne

    Hey, fellow-finalist! Well done and I feel honoured to be engaged in this heroic, epic battle with you πŸ˜‰ Do you want to submit this post (or another, as long as it’s posted by tomorrow) to the braai The Beloved Country event? All you have to do is add a link to the event somewhere in your post and drop me an e-mail with the post URL if you want to be included in the roundup on 24 Sept!

    • Ally_R

      Sure, why not! Can I have 3 entries? lol

      And congrats to you too! I feel very honored being up against the woman who has held the title for the last gazillion years! πŸ™‚ (no I’m not saying you are old lol)

  • REM

    Hey there. Congratz on the nomination. Well done.You wouldn’t mind me posting your link on my blog??
    Cheers vi eers

  • nina

    As I have said to you earlier, you deserve to be at the top, don’t let people make you believe otherwise.
    Love a good marinade and will defnitely try this one soon!!

  • Marisa

    Great marinade recipes! Don’t know which one to choose. I agree, a good marinade is super yum especially with chicken, but in the same breath have to add that I’ve had some excellent braaied chicken seasoned only with salt & pepper which made the skin go super crispy.

  • Indigo Girl

    Well done! I didn’t make it through nominations but have been rooting for you all the way! At least one of us can make it through, sure we have a winner here πŸ˜‰

    • Ally_R

      Thanx so much IG! πŸ™‚

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