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When contemplating a braai, butter isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, after the steak, chops and boerewors, there’s usually a long list of braai sides, braai broodjies and braai puds that need deciding on before the butter is even contemplated! However, braai butter is one of the most innovative braai ideas on this side of the 21st century! Which is great news for those Saffa’s always searching for new braai ideas!

Braai butter

A pat of butter history

Ask any modern child where butter comes from, and you are likely to be told, from the shop! That’s because butter is readily available in neat brick-sized portions in most grocery stores. But what about the olden days? Was butter something people enjoyed every day? Not likely, unless you lived on a farm, and even then, Ouma would have chased you for any overindulgence.

In those days, butter took hours to make and was considered a kitchen delicacy rather than the staple we have become accustomed to. Enter Ouma’s kitchen and the many hours spent turning the plunge or barrel churn handle.

Traditional butter making methods

Traditionally butter was made using a wooden paddle moved up and down or round and round to agitate the cream. Some superstitious folk also sang a churning song to charm the butter into forming. However, others believed in using objects such as horseshoes to drive away any evil preventing the butter from forming! Nowadays, butter is made by machine and churned at high speeds in a large vat. This modern method means that butter is literally made in minutes, leaving little time for sweet churning songs or horseshoe throwing! Oh, for the good old days!

Alternative butter uses

Butter is most often used as a soft spread for bread or scones but can also be used as a cooking oil substitute. Its great tasting versatility means that it is used in numerous ways for cooking and baking, but did you know it was also used as a substitute for fuel in oil lamps in the olden days?

Just between us, who burns good butter when it could be slathered onto hot toast or braai broodjies? What a waste! Actually, this isn’t entirely true. No matter how sacrilegious using butter as fuel may sound, it has some excellent alternative uses besides smearing it onto every food source you can think of!

So, pack your butter knife away for a few minutes and check out these weird butter uses. How many have you used in the past?

  • Remove sticky substances such as craft glue, wax treatment and chewing gum
  • Oil squeaky doors, shine up metal or leather items such as gloves, wallets or belts
  • Use on dry skin such as elbows, hands or face. Just remember to rinse off with soap and warm water!
  • Soothe skin rashes with a light smear of butter or use as an emergency shaving cream!
  • Comb a small amount of butter through your hair as an alternative to regular conditioner.
  • Preserve cheese for longer with a light smearing of butter on the cut surface to prevent mould.
  • Stop your pasta from boiling over by adding a small knob of butter to the water.
  • Remove stubborn rings by smearing your fingers with butter.
  • Fishing trips mean stinky hands; rub them with some butter to remove the reek of fish.

Braai butter three ways

If, like us, you suddenly have a hankering for a thick slice of bread slathered with butter, hold that thought for a few seconds! Instead of the usual butter broodjie, why not fire up the braai and try some of these gorgeous braai butter recipes we’ve found for you? They are sure to turn your usually fantastic braai into something butterly-amazing!

Succulent steak butter

What you need

  • 500 g salted butter (probably more, to be perfectly honest!)
  • Robertsons Steak & Chops Spice – or your preferred brand

What to do                  

  • Cut the salted butter into cubes and place them into a bowl of lukewarm water for ten minutes. This will soften the butter without it melting into a liquid.
  • Drain the water off the butter. Then add a large tablespoon of steak spice to the softened butter and mix in thoroughly. It should form a nice spicy paste.
  • Take a baking/wax paper sheet and lay it flat on a clean surface. Dollop the flavoured butter down the centre of the sheet.
  • Fold one side of the baking paper over the butter. Then take a ruler or large knife and use it to push back on the butter as you hold the free paper down with your hand. This will help form the cylinder shape. Next, simply roll the butter forwards, rolling the rest of the wax paper around the butter cylinder.
  • Next, pop the rolled butter into the fridge to chill down.
  • Slice the chilled braai butter into portions and plop it on top of your steak as it grills over the coals. The butter will melt into delicious rivulets all over your tender steak, yum!

Tasty roosterkoek butter

What you need

  • Pre made roosterkoek broodjies
  • Ina Paarman’s Braai & Grill seasoning – or your preferred brand
  • 500 g salted butter
  • Freshly chopped parsley

What to do

  • Follow the same steps (1-2) from the above instructions, adding the spice and parsley to the softened butter.
  • Next, place your roosterkoek onto the grill and smear with lashings of soft spicy butter. Try not to drool as the butter melts over the hot bread!

Pap botter

What you need

  • Pre-cooked pap in the potjie or large pot
  • 250 g salted butter
  • Robertsons Steak & Chop seasoning

What to Do

  • Cut the salted butter into cubes and add a generous amount to the hot pap
  • Season generously with steak and chop seasoning, and mix well.
  • Serve with a generous portion of steak, chops and salad. Delicious!

Last thoughts

Besides its many alternative uses, and somewhat fascinating past, we would much rather enjoy our butter where it’s meant to be, on our food! Who can deny that butter should be anywhere else but melting in all its golden glory on a hot baked potato, smelting on a toasted roosterkoek or dripping off a succulent steak?

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