Braai with Jan

What’s Heritage Day without a braai. A sad day indeed. Here are three recipes from Jan Braai’s scrummie new cook book.

We’ve called him Master of the Braai before. And my gosh, does he live up to that title. In the latest updated version of Jan Braai – The Democratic Republic of Braai, Jan Scannell (who started the National Braai Day initiative way back in 2005) has outdone himself. From the opening recipe of Heritage T-Bone with Pinotage Sauce and Sherry Wors Sliders to the Lamb Shank Port Potjie and the Amarula Malva Pudding in a Potjie (notice any theme going on here!) … it’s just one sensational dish after another. More themes … a selection of tasty curries (Jan says he’s been going through a curry phase, and the one thing he does most often on the braai at home is a curry potjie). Loads of brilliant burgers (including the Bloody Mary version which is going to be our new go to). And the best names ever … Bushveld Beef Stragnoff. Braai Freedom Fighter (a burger which doesn’t play games … it’s a robust burger with little interest in debate and it dominates your plate). A Left Wing Steak Salad (created from a loop hole in the system … you’re craving steak but need salad). There are breakfasts and breads and puddings and cakes (Carrot Cake Potjie … honestly … could you ask for more!). This is going to take your braai get togethers to a mighty new level … it’s a cookbook all South Africans should rush out and get, peferably before Saturday. Have a delish Heritage Day. For more info on Jan Braai, visit or follow him on Facebook or Instagram. Bookstorm publishers, R425




Don’t believe us? Here are three recipes from the new book for you to try out on Saturday.

The braaibroodjie is one of the cornerstones of a successful South African braai. There shouldn’t be any argument about the ingredients of the real and original braaibroodjie: pre-sliced white bread, buttered on the outside, with cheese, tomato, onion, chutney, salt and pepper as filling. Naturally though, over time I embarked on a mission to create super luxurious braaibroodjies based on that original recipe. I replaced normal white toaster bread with slices of high-quality artisanal sourdough bread, and swapped chutney for a mixture of French-style mayonnaise and wholegrain mustard. The onion made way for spring onion, and sun-dried tomatoes replaced slices of normal tomato. For cheese the choice shifted to 18-month extra-mature Cheddar. For team spirit I also added gypsy ham but you could also use slices of fried bacon. And forget about butter on the outside – for these creations you go with olive oil instead.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 8 slices fresh sourdough bread (cut fairly thin)
  • olive oil
  • 2 tots French-style mayonnaise
  • 2 tots wholegrain mustard
  • 4 large slices gypsy ham 160g
  • 18-month extra-mature Cheddar (grated)
  • 1 tub sun-dried tomatoes (in olive oil or brine, 200–300g)
  • 2 spring onions (finely chopped)
  • salt and pepper


1. Go for an oval-shaped sourdough bread as opposed to a round one, so that all the slices will be more uniform in size. Slice the bread fairly thin, so it is the same thickness as normal toaster bread – be conscious of avoiding the natural tendency to slice these types of bread thicker.

2. Drip or spread olive oil onto one side of each of the slices. These oiled sides will be on the outside of the assembled units.

3. Lay out half of the bread slices, oiled side down, on a cutting board and liberally spread with the French-style mayonnaise and wholegrain mustard.

4. Add the gypsy ham, grated cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and chopped spring onions. Don’t be stingy with any of the ingredients; this is a super luxury braaibroodjie and not only should the quality of ingredients reflect it, but also the quantity.

5. With the flick of a wrist, grind some salt and pepper onto each one.

6. Finish by adding the top layers of bread, oiled side up.

7. Place in a hinged grid (toeklaprooster) and braai over medium-to-low heat coals with the grid fairly high. Continue to braai over the gentle coals, turning very often, until the cheese is melted on the inside and the braaibroodjies are golden brown on the outside.

AND… It goes without saying that you serve these beauties with glasses of ice-cold Methode Cap Classique, the South African – vastly superior – version of what the French call Champagne.


Compared with some of my other favourite cheeses, Camembert has a fairly low melting point. The outside skin has a much higher melting point than the inside though. This makes it the perfect cheese to braai as is. No need to put it in bread, in a pan or in foil – just take it out of the packaging and braai over medium to low coals for about 10 minutes until the cheese on the inside has melted, but before the outside skin melts, boils or ruptures. There are plenty of ways to serve braaied Camembert and my favourite is like this, with nuts and figs as a dessert. This way the coals of your fire are nice and relaxed post-dinner by the time you want to braai the cheese.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4)

  • 4 whole round Camembert cheeses (about 125g each)
  • 8 ripe figs (or preserved if you can’t find fresh ripe ones)
  • about 20 pecan nut halves (shelled)


1. Braai the Camembert cheeses on an open grid (I don’t like the pressure a closed hinged grid puts on them). You don’t want the coals to be too hot as you want the insides to melt before the outsides burn or break. Turn them about 3 times during the braai using either your recently washed hands or a clean pair of braai tongs. If you’re using tongs to turn them, take care not to press too hard and damage the cheese.

2. During the braai also toast the nuts in a dry pan for about 1 minute, just until they start to get colour but before they burn.

3. You will be able to feel when the cheese is ready (when it goes soft on the inside). Remove from the fire, plate and then cross-cut them open like you would do with a jacket potato.

4. Open the top of the braaied skin and serve with figs and toasted nuts.

AND… As a starter, you can braai the Camembert cheeses in exactly the same way, open them up and serve with a spoon of berry jam.



The beer bread, in its simplest form, has two ingredients: a classic bottle or can of beer and a 500 g packet of self-raising flour. By my reckoning and experience you can’t go wrong when you add a tot of olive oil and a teaspoon of salt to this mix. This brings you to 4 basic ingredients and you have a bread. But 5 is such a nice round number that you might as well add one more thing to get your bread to that magic 5-wicket haul.

WHAT YOU NEED (feeds 4–8)

  • 500g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 wheels feta cheese (150g, drained and crumbled)
  • 1 tot olive oil
  • 1 normal-sized normal beer (330–340ml)
  • additional olive oil or butter (to coat the inside of the potjie)


1. Use olive oil or butter and rub the inside of your no. 10 flat-bottomed baking potjie with a coating of your chosen non-stick agent.

2. To this potjie, add the flour, salt and feta cheese. Mix this with one of your recently washed hands.

3. Now add the olive oil and beer. Using one of your recently washed hands or a wooden spoon, mix and knead all the ingredients until they are combined. Do not work too hard here and over-exert yourself. As soon as everything is properly combined you’re good to proceed to the next step. If your beer happened to be a bit bigger than usual and you are worried that the mixture is too ‘wet’, don’t worry about it, just carry on. If you sneaked a few sips of the beer before adding it to the bowl and your mixture is too dry, add a bit of water or milk.

4. Place the lid on the potjie and bake for around 45 minutes with coals underneath the pot and on top of the pot’s lid until the bread is done. You will know when it’s ready by looking at it, tapping on it and then inserting a knife to see whether it comes out clean.

5. Take care not to burn the bread; there is no risk whatsoever in baking it a bit slower and taking an hour, for example.

AND… There is no limit to the number and variety of additional ingredients that you can use in your beer bread. Always add the 4 core ingredients but the feta cheese can be swapped with a cup of grated Cheddar cheese, chopped and fried bacon, chopped and fried onion, a tin of sweetcorn, a tin of chakalaka, sun-dried tomatoes, biltong … the list goes on.

Related Articles

Check Also
Back to top button