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Come on baby... light my fire !

This article is for all the single women out there who want to avoid the embarrassment of being completely oblivious on how to light up a braai or having to ask someone for help. After all, it's nice to be confident about your braaing skills and step one is learning how to handle the heat that’s cooking your meat.



Stiff wire brush
Lighter fluid
Long matches or a barbecue lighter






Before even thinking about starting a fire it's essential to clean out the braai. Leftover grease and food particles are going to make your food stick to the grill and marinate it with ash. Steel grills are much easier to clean when they are still warm, so be diligent and clean it after you’re done grilling. A soak in hot water and dishwashing liquid will easily remove all that gunk left behind from the last braai !

On the bottom of your braai at the air vents and the fire needs air circulation in order to heat up nicely. Make sure that all the ash is removed from the bottom of the braai. Opening the air vents allows the air to circulate to keep the coals burning once you light them. Pop a couple of broken up firelighters in the centre of the braai and then top this off with briquettes in the form of a pyramid at the centre.

Have a long taper, matches or a braai lighter that will easily reach into the pile to light the firelighters and light the firelighters in several different spots so the heat will end up distributing evenly. It will take approximately 20-30 minutes until it’s properly heated. The coals will burn quickly at first and then die down. Even if it doesn’t look like the coals are lit, they are. Give it time.

Once most the coals are covered with white ash, go ahead and destroy your pyramid of fire by using your tongs to spread the coals to cover the surface of the grill evenly.

Place the top grill in position and clean off any of the stuck on gunk that wouldn’t come off before.

There’s an easy method for telling how hot your fire is. Hold your palm 10 centimetres above the fire. You should be able to hold it there for 5 to 6 seconds for a medium heat perfect for almost all meats.

If you add new charcoal to your already lit fire it can give your food a funny taste. Instead, you should let the new charcoal burn separately, then add it to your braai once it’s ready.

Now you should be ready to take on the world and start grilling up those fantastic cuts of meats and vegetables. Most of all though you just set yourself apart from those who don’t know where to even begin to cook with a charcoal braai.


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