The food at a Braai is delicious, but the whole experience is also very social. Waiting for the fire to produce the right amount of heat takes time, then there’s eating, drinking, and more drinking. This is the whole point of a Braai: a long social gathering that can last for hours on end.
A difference between a Braai and a Barbecue must be the fire. A Braai just isn’t considered a Braai if cooked on a gas grill. The fire also remains lit for the duration of the Braai, even after the food’s been cooked.
It is a grand social event where family and friends converge on a picnic spot or someone’s home. Guests and friends will gather around the fire after eating and spend the rest of the day or evening there.
Meats are the star of the South African Braai. They typically include boerewors, sosaties, kebabs, marinated chicken, pork and lamb chops, steaks, sausages of different flavours and thickness, and possibly even a rack or two of spareribs.
Unlike a Barbecue, Braais are not strictly reserved for warm weather. Many South Africans can Braai on a covered patio, making rainy weather irrelevant to the occasion.
“The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for “roasted meat.”
The word Braai (pronounced “bry”, rhyming with the word “cry”; plural braais) is Afrikaans for “barbecue” or “roast” and is a social custom in South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia. It originated with the Afrikaner people, but has since been adopted by South Africans of many ethnic backgrounds. The word vleis is Afrikaans for “meat”.
The word has been adopted by English-speaking South Africans and can be regarded as another word for barbecue. The traditions around a Braai can be considerably different from a barbecue, however, even if the method of food preparation is very similar.