Grilling South African-style

A repost of last May's cover feature on Braaivleis, to pair with our Food Department on Von Hanson's meats.

Braaivleis! A new-to-you way to grill from food and wine aficionado Roy Goslin.

Grilling is a fundamental part of South African cuisine. With long summers, South Africans get out and grill as often as possible. While each person has their own style and sometimes their own recipes, we generally grill over wood coals or charcoal. Very few people grill on a gas grill—in fact, to us natives, that practice seems somewhat like sacrilege.

Watching the fire burn down to a set of glowing coals is a ritual that is often accompanied by several glasses of wine. The grilling of several different courses helps us get through the evening and all of the important conversation that needs to be shared.

Braaivleis literally means grilled meat in the Afrikaans language; impress your guests with your sophisticated knowledge of the pronunciation—the “raai” sounds like “rye,” the “v” is an “f” and the “leis” sounds like “lace,” so “bryeflace”—then wow their stomachs with an assortment of this traditional fare.

What follows is a number of dishes that you may well encounter at an authentic South African braai.


First Course

Spicy Grilled Shrimp

20 medium shrimp, plus or minus 1 lb.

½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped

½ cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 clove garlic

2 tsp. smoked paprika

2 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. peri peri powder

½ cup olive oil

1 cup fish stock (include shellfish tails /shells to provide the associated flavors)

Zest of 2 limes

¼ cup lime juice

Marinade: Make the fish stock. Add the garlic and spices to the fish stock while still hot. Chill the marinade for at least four hours.

Shrimp: Add all of the remaining ingredients to the marinade, and chill for at least four hours. Grill over medium heat.

Serves four as a first course.


Second Course

Grilled Chicken Breasts

8 skinless boneless chicken breasts

½ cup lemon juice

½ cup chicken stock

½ cup canola oil

1 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 tsp. ground coriander

½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Wash the chicken breasts. Place the chicken breasts in a dish that will hold them in a single layer.

Mix the spices, cilantro, lemon juice, chicken stock and canola oil. Pour the marinade over the chicken, cover with plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator. Allow to marinate for at least four hours.

Grill the chicken breasts over medium coals for five minutes on each side or until just done.


Third Course


Derived from a 100-year-old family recipe

10 lbs. beef

2 lbs. pork

3 lbs. bacon

3 Tbsp. Herbs de Provence

4 Tbsp. garlic flakes

2 Tbsp. salt

1 Tbsp. black peppercorns

2 Tbsp. coriander seeds

3 Tbsp. pickling spices

¾ cup red wine

Grind the meat through the medium plate of a meat grinder. Grind the herbs and spices in a spice mill.

Mix the meat, red wine, herbs and spices, and allow the meat to cure for 24 hours. Stuff medium sausage casings with the meat mixture. Package in 2–3 lb. rings.

Grill over medium coals, ensuring that the sausage does not get burnt by any flaring of the coals. 


Fourth Course

Grilled Pineapple

1 large pineapple

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup Malibu rum

Peel and core the pineapple. Slice the pineapple into ½-inch rings. Place in a dish that will hold the pineapple rings in a single layer.

Mix the sugar and Malibu. Pour the rum over the pineapple rings. Place the pineapple in the refrigerator, and allow to marinate for three to four hours.

Grill over hot coals, and serve with vanilla ice cream.


Accompanying Wines

  • Watching the fire burn to coals: Bush Camp The Sundowner Chenin Blanc
  • Spicy Grilled Shrimp: Tygerberg Sauvignon Blanc
  • Grilled Chicken Breasts: Either the Bush Camp or Tygerberg whites, or a red like Bush Camp Our Daily Red
  • Boerewors: Bush Camp Our Daily Red
  • Grilled Pineapple: Hugo’s Hill Morio Muscat