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South African braai wood in the UK: Braai the South African way

By April 14, 2023October 11th, 2023FinGlobal

South African braai wood in the UK: Braai the South African way

April 14, 2023


Making a good braai is serious business amongst Saffas, no matter where they are based in the world. And as every Saffa knows, to make a good braai, you need one very necessary component besides the huge selection of meats and salads. Any guesses? If you guessed ‘the best South African braai wood,’ you’ve obviously passed your braai-master probationary period; may the tongs be with you!

Because, as every reputable braai-master (man holding the tongs by the fire) worth his salt, or shall we say chop, knows, a braai using the wrong firewood is just a bonfire by another name. Think thick smoke, flames-from-hell heat, undercooked meat and emergency calls to the fire department from concerned non-braai-friendly neighbours! What a disaster, especially if you’re new to the neighbourhood; it’s bound to get you noticed for all the wrong reasons. But help is at hand, or shall we say tong!

If you’re based abroad in places like the UK, you might think finding the braai wood you need is impossible. However, sourcing South African braai wood is much easier than you think, even in the UK!

Let’s dive into everything braai wood related, and we’ll share where you are most likely to find the best South African braai wood overseas. Woza braai time!

Factors to consider when choosing braai wood

One of the chief factors to consider before you even light the fire is the type of wood you are going to use. As every braai- master knows, the braai wood used can affect the cooking process, temperature and whether or not you are regulated to the kitchen to do the washing up as punishment for burning the meat!

But not to worry, you can pack those emergency marigolds away and rest easy; we’re about to highlight some essential braai-wood qualities found only in the best South African firewood.

Braai wood should be:

  • Clean burning – creates less smoke, and the coals last longer for cooking.
  • Easy to light – should light easily and burn properly to make a good coal base for cooking.
  • Dry and low in moisture – wet braai wood creates excessive smoke, and the heat is inadequate for cooking.
  • Hard or dense – the harder the braai wood, the slower it burns, helping your braai last longer.

Other factors to consider when choosing a great South African firewood are:

  • Certain braai woods add flavour to your meat, for example, Black Wattle, Rooikrans, and Apple Wood.
  • Faster-burning braai wood is better for cooking pork and steak.
  • Prechopped wood with each piece similar in size ensures all the firewood burns simultaneously.

Hard braai wood vs. soft braai wood

Hardwood varieties are a better choice for braai wood because they typically have a high density and a lower moisture level. Naturally, hard braai wood is easier to light and burns better, creating a hot, longer-lasting fire perfect for extending cooking times when you’re having a lekker stokvel! In addition, hard braai wood also creates less smoke than soft braai wood, which keeps the neighbours happy and the fire department away!

Choosing the right South African braai wood

While there are many braai wood options, most braai-masters agree that to deviate from the braai commandment of ‘thou shalt only use kameeldoring or sekelbos as braai wood’ is to invite the wrath of the braai master’s fork, often in the derriere (bottom)! Just kidding, but joking aside, using the best South African braai wood will guarantee excellent results; here’s why.

Kameeldoring Wood
Kameeldoring firewood is every Saffa’s go-to when searching for proper South African braai wood because it burns slowly at high heat and gives off very little smoke. Found growing in the heat of the African Savannah, besides its top-notch braai wood qualities, it’s also a favourite dish for the elephant and giraffe! You can find kameeldoring wood for sale (in the UK) on Amazon and via other online suppliers. In addition, the kameeldooring wood price per bag is fairly reasonable and ranges from £20.00 to £40.00, depending on the supplier.

Sekelbos grows just about everywhere in South Africa and is readily available via online outlets in the UK. Sekelbos branches dried in the hot African sun make the ideal firewood, perfect for the braai. Slow burning and virtually smokeless, the natural oils in the dense wood also enhance the flavour of the braai meat during cooking.

The final coal

It’s a well-known fact that South African braai techniques are literally learned from birth. Some might even say South African babies don’t cry when they are born; they’re too busy reading their braai manuals. Well, they would be if the dads had any say in the matter!

However, for those still learning the art of creating a great braai, the secret is simple; all you need is the right braai wood, truckloads of meat, huge bowls of salad and a never-ending supply of braai broodjies. But, while this might make a nice braai, the best braais are when family members, friends, neighbours and the old guy from the supermarket you were chatting to this morning come for a lekker kuier. So, stock up on that braai wood; it’s time to show those BBQs how to braai, Saffa style!

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