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The warm summery weather in sunny South Africa means that the South African braai season is well underway. This means that many of us on this side of the equator are enjoying long sultry evenings around the braai, feasting on succulent treats cooked over the coals while Saffas on the other side of the equator – the cold side – may be feeling a little left out as they are experiencing the icy grip of winter sans a regular braai barbecue!

Not being on the sunny shores of South Africa doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy delicious braai fare; however, you may need a winter coat, gloves, and possibly a wooly thermal vest! We all know that a braai is one of the best ways to spend quality time with family and friends. But we don’t need to tell you that! Many a Saffa has put on their winter woolies, braved the cold, and recreated the perfect beef, lamb, or chicken braai meal surrounded by snow. You know who you are, and we salute you!

Why braai chicken instead of steak?

While braai-ing steak is commonplace, the chicken braai is another excellent braai to enjoy. Whether you’re creating your chicken marinade for braai under sunny skies or surrounded by snow, the chicken braai will not disappoint even the pickiest of braai connoisseurs. In addition, chicken is budget-friendly and super versatile, meaning it’s excellent for those large gatherings and can be made into a huge variety of braai barbecue dishes! Think of it as the cheap, tasty alternative to steak!

Is chicken safe to braai?

Unlike steak, chicken should not be undercooked as it can be detrimental to your health. Undercooked chicken can be the playground for salmonella bacteria which can have some nasty side effects. Often this is the reason for many braai masters avoiding poultry braais altogether. But, before you nod your head sagely and back away from the family favourite chicken braai recipes, here are some handy cheat-sheet tips you can use to ensure your chicken is super tasty and safe to consume.

  • Allow the raw chicken to stand at room temperature before cooking; this allows even cooking.
  • Avoid searingly hot coals as they will burn the outside of the chicken while the inside remains raw. Instead, cook the chicken over moderately hot coals.
  • Turn the chicken regularly to distribute heat and prevent burning.
  • Check the marinated chicken is cooked by piercing it with a fork or sharp knife. Once the juices run clear, the chicken is cooked.

Additional tips

For braai masters new to the cooking techniques required for the chicken braai, you may prefer a more definitive guess as to when your chicken is cooked!

  • The internal temperature of cooked chicken should be 75 C; measure the temperature using a meat thermometer.
  • Par-cook the chicken in the oven before finishing it off on the braai. This allows you to enjoy the smokey charred flavours of chicken on the braai without worrying about undercooked meat.

Chicken on the braai FinGlobal style!

There’s nothing better than a spatchcock chicken, seared on the coals with lashings of salad and an ice-cold beer! So, without further delay, let’s dive into our favourite chicken braai recipe, which is the Lemon ‘n Lime Spatchcock Chicken!

What you need

  • 1 free-range chicken
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1 fresh lime

Marinade ingredients

  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp All Gold tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 fresh lime squeezed
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • ½ tsp coriander
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves crushed
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper for seasoning

What to do

  • Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, cut along the breast bone of the chicken.
  • Place the whole chicken breast down on the cutting board and push down firmly with your hand. This will split the breast bone further, and the chicken will flatten out – spatchcock chicken done!

Alternatively, ask your local butcher to spatchcock the chicken.

  • Combine all the ingredients required for the marinade in a large mixing bowl.
  • Put the chicken into a large oven dish, pour the marinade over the chicken. Then, massage the marinade into the meat using your hands, ensuring the whole chicken is covered.
  • Cover the dish containing the marinated chicken with cling film and place it in the fridge for four hours. Overnight is better and provides a more distinct flavour.
  • On chicken braai day, remove the marinated chicken from the fridge at least one hour before placing it on the braai.
  • Cook the marinated chicken over moderately hot coals for 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes to ensure even cooking.
  • Use a sharp knife to pierce the meat. The meat juices should run clear when the meat is cooked. Alternatively, a meat thermometer can be used to check the internal temperature of the chicken. It should be 70 C when cooked through.
  • Cut the fresh lemon and lime in half and place on the braai grid; cook for approximately 15 minutes until soft and slightly charred.
  • Squeeze the cooked lemon and lime halves over the meat when ready to serve the chicken.

Serve with heaps of fresh green salad, cherry tomatoes, slices of avocado, and a dollop of potato salad. The next time someone suggests a chicken braai barbecue, instead of breaking out into an epic braai masters sweat, simply nod and whip together this easy marinade while sipping a chilled beer; you’ve got this!

Expert advice for SA expats right here at FinGlobal

FinGlobal provides excellent emigration advice well-suited to our client’s unique circumstances. We have assisted South African expats for more than ten years and continue to deliver top-quality service backed by unsurpassable industry experience.

If you are considering leaving our sunny shores or are currently living on the colder side of the equator, we are here to help with all your emigration requirements. For friendly advice and assistance with tax, pensions, retirement annuities, and forex, look no further than the FinGlobal team. To discuss your unique needs with our team, simply get in touch with us. Give us a call on +27 28 312 2764 or send us an email at info@finglobal.com, and we will assist you promptly.