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The ultimate showdown of open fire cooking is coming your way

You are in for a treat with the Fire Master Showdown, featuring some of South Africa's best fire food offerings.

Jot down May 4 in your diary and don’t miss the showdown with seasoned fire pit masters going head-to-head in a people’s choice judging system.

Contenders will battle it out from sunrise when the teams light their fires and brave the heat at the Fire Factory at 19 Stadler Road, Alrode South.

Judging starts at 16:00 until 18:00 and early birds can follow the tension and action as things heat up around the fires. Feel free to join them anytime before judging to catch insider tips and techniques from the masters.

Latecomers will still be able to vote, with voting closing at 19:00, followed by the prize-giving and party from 20:00 until late.

The cost is R300 per person, giving you a taste of South Africa’s finest fire food, which includes 15 mouth-watering tastings featuring chicken wings, pork picnic butts and briskets. So prepare your taste buds for an unforgettable culinary journey.

And that’s not all. Stay until late into the night, as they will roast a whole hog on a Texas charcoal fire pit. Music, drinks (cash bar) and entertainment will be plentiful.

For more information, contact 011 867 0404 or visit their Facebook pages The Fire Factory // Die Vuur Fabriek.

Meeting some of the pit masters

• Charl, aka The Thirsty Traveller SA has more than 25 years of food and cooking experience and describes himself as a restaurant reviewer, food critic and judge, MC, cook, product and drink tester and reviewer, coffee addict, competitive eater, influencer, events and catering, braai and meat smoking enthusiast and competitor – and that sure is a mouthful right there.

Charl, akak The Thirsty Traveler.

He has done big festivals like the Skaap en Skoffel Fees, Plaasjapie Fees, Biltong and Boerewors Fees and the Vleis Fees with promo smoking events for Mondanette Butchery, Ossewa Pub, Buffalos Pub, Padstal Pub to name a few.

There is also no lack when it comes to competitions entered. In the last six months, he participated in the Official BBQ competition and took first, second, third and fourth place overall. Other competitions include the Biltong and Boerewors Fees Boerewors Competition and took first place as well as the Safsma BBQ Competition where he took first place for beef ribs, second for chicken, third for pork ribs and second overall. Sure a worthy contender to be watching.

• Douglas Knight will tell you that he simply enjoys cooking as a hobby with his preferred style of cooking braaiing and smoking in his drum smoker. He loves preparing and cooking meals for family and friends and highlights for him are cooking at competitions and the interaction of people tasting his food. Douglas is big on flavour and mixes his own sauces and spices. He will bring his A-game to the showdown.

• Marcell van Aswegen will bring more heat to the competition. Marcell is a seasoned Texas-style BBQ and fire-cooking enthusiast with over 30 years of experience. While he’s been cooking over open flames for decades, he ventured into smoking meats a decade ago, drawn to the rich flavours of Texas BBQ.

Marcel van Aswegen.

With each passing year, Marcell refines his techniques, blending smoke and fire to create irresistible dishes. Despite his casual approach, his dedication to the grill and smoker is evident in every succulent bite. Marcell’s passion for fire cooking makes him a respected figure among BBQ aficionados.

• Jay Maan aka Mr Braai Guy creates unique open-fire dining experiences which invite people to slow down, share and enjoy culinary adventures through food, flavours and friendship.

Jay Maan aka The Braai Guy.

He is passionate about the unique atmospheres and bonding experiences that occur around open fires, delicious food and real friendship. In his own words: “It’s not just about a tasty meal or learning a new braai technique.

These are spaces where time slows down, the clutter of life is cut away, and people can truly connect – with nature, one another and themselves.

“Creating magical moments like this, for as many people as possible, is the fire that keeps my passion burning.”
You sure don’t want to miss out on sharing these moments during the showdown.

• Hanroe Erasmus owner of Genade Shoppie Vleis Huis, has been an executive chef for over 20 years and through all these years he has worked at some of South Africa’s most luxurious hotels such as African Pride Melrose Arch, Sheraton Pretoria, Hyatt Regency Rosebank and The Palace of the Lost City in Sun City. Hanroe has appeared in magazines and on television programmes which include Chopped SA, Expresso and SuperSport.

Hanroe Erasmus.

In 2012 and 2013 Hanroe received the Taste of Joburg award and also in 2013 formed part of the BraaiBQ which represented South Africa in America.

During lockdown, Hanroe and his wife Kirsten started a small shop in Secunda – Genade Shoppie. This was the only way for them to generate an income since hotels and restaurants were all, well, locked down. Today, they have a team of 22 who work with them in Genade Shoppie where they prepare all sorts of small meals.

Hanroe describes himself as someone who has always had a passion for food, however, meat is his favourite and he also processes most of the meat they use in Genade Shoppie.

He is sure to bring his best to the fires of the Fire Factory.

• And last most definitely not least, Alberton’s own Corne Borman aka Borries has perfected his art in outdoor cooking. He entered his first potjie competition in Grade 12 and won a holiday. This win sealed his passion for outdoor cooking and carried through from his culinary studies at Wits Hotel School to hosting, participating and winning outdoor cooking competitions.

Alberton’s Corné Borman, aka Borries and better known as Fire Master.

Borries has participated in a TV cooking show 10 years ago. From there, he travelled to America and, for four years, headed up teams to compete in BBQ-smoking competitions. He also participated in Ultimate Braai Master and won season six in 2018. He also competed in Bring en Braai. Another competition under his belt is Kokkedoor Vuur en Vlam. “Cooking shows and competitions have been a part of my outdoor cooking journey. I always admired the show Kokkedoor Vuur en Vlam and entered when the opportunity presented itself.”

And that, in a nutshell, is Borries. As he said: “I enjoy cooking steak, but I believe in exploring different flavours and ways of cooking all food, especially meat.”

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