Home Lifestyle 7 tips for a legendary New Year’s braai

7 tips for a legendary New Year’s braai

Fight the second covid-19 wave by staying home and doing #BraaiThings with private chef Tefo Mokgoro’s seven tips for the ultimate festive braai

It's braai time! Gauteng chef Tefo Mokgoro shares seven tips for the ultimate home braai. Photo: Supplied

Whether you are in the suburbs or the Kasi, the tradition of braaing over New Year’s cuts across every divide. Summer is here and you can rest assured that there are going to be braai’s sparking all over your social feeds.

It is definitely the FOMO for us too! Those wisps of smoke lifting from the charcoal or wood coming from your neighbour’s backyard, makes it impossible not to give into the braai spirit.

Chef Tefo Mokgoro shares his tips and tricks for the perfect braai. Photo: Supplied

But hold on now. With a second wave of the covid-19 pandemic, things are going to have to be a little different. Don’t be a spreader. Limit your movements like pres. Cyril Ramaphosa has instructed at our last family meeting.

Do yourself and your community a favour by staying home and doing #BraaiThings by yourself with private chef and entrepreneur Tefo Mokgoro’s seven solid tips for the ultimate 2021 braai.

He tells Food For Mzansi, “A perfect braai is how you perceive it. It is what you see in it…”

The low down…

  • Keep it simple and keep it classic. Boerewors, chops, chicken drums and thighs and the ever-so-trendy fish are braai staples, Mokgoro suggests.
  • Prep time will determine on the intensity of flavour of your meat. Twenty minutes of marinading is all good and well, but try an hour or three for locked in flavour.
  • Coals made with wood hit different. It gives it a different flavour.
  • Some clarity: Basting is what you do when your meat is on the braai grill. When you marinade, you season prior to cooking.
  • Accessorise: Silicone glove, lighter (duh!) and tongs. They are an extension of your body. You will also need a fork and knife on standby to taste.
  • So, how do you know when the meat is ready to go on the grill? Hot, not scorching! A trick to note: Put your hand over the grill for ten seconds. If it burns before ten, that means the grill is perfectly fine.
  • No dry steaks, please! Five minutes per side for red meat and fish medallions. A lot of people get it wrong and by the time they are done braaing you are eating biltong. Rest, bafethu.

Lamb braai: wet rub (enough for 4 lamb chops)


  • 3 teaspoons of dried rosemary
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of BBQ spice
  • 50ml sunflower oil


  1. Mix the oil and spices together and rub on the lamb. Let the meat rest for 3 hours if possible. This is so that the seasoning can just get into the meat fibres. If you are in a rush, do it for at least 20 minutes.
  2. Once marinated, place the meat on a hot grill for about 4 minutes on each side. This should give you a medium rare to medium effect. It all depends on how hot your coals are.
Cooking queen prawns on a braai under a hot South African sun is perfect for New Year’s. Photo: Supplied

Prawn braai: Wet rub marinade

  • 2 teaspoons garlic
  • 2 teaspoons fish spice
  • 60ml melted butter or margarine (depending on what you like!)
  • Juice of 1 whole lemon
  • Zest of 1 whole lemon (nothing goes to waste here)
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt


  1. Mix the ingredients and brush over the prawns.
  2. Place the prawns on a hot grill for about 2 min each side. Then just before you take them off the heat, you do the last basting of the garlic mix we used to brush on.
Food For Mzansi’s pro tip: Make sure that the prawns have been defrosted or have thawed. Do not defrost in microwave or hot water.
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With roots in the Northern Cape, this Kimberley Diamond has had a passion for telling human interest stories since she could speak her first words. A foodie by heart, she began her journalistic career as an intern at the SABC where she discovered her love for telling agricultural, community and nature related stories. Not a stranger to a challenge Ngcakani will go above and beyond to tell your truth.
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