How to build the best braai and entertaining space

The 1000 SS table braai with trolley from Infiniti Fires.

Braai location

Choosing the location of your braai will depend on your house layout. Ideally one wants to be able to braai in all weather conditions, not just when it is sunny and warm. If you have a covered patio that is big enough to accommodate a decent seating area and a braai, that is the logical spot. Remember, braaiing is not just about cooking, but also social engagement with your guests. Your braai will produce smoke that will need to be extracted through a chimney or rear wall if installed under cover.

Rain protection

If there is nowhere under cover to locate the braai, then a braai designed to handle being outside in the rain is the logical choice. Most mobile braais are made in stainless steel or are coated in a rust-resistant coating to handle being outdoors. If you are building a brick structure with a built-in braai, either upgrade the steel the braai is made of, or, on a mild steel braai, overpaint the heat-resistant paint the braai comes with in a good quality enamel paint on the sections of the braai exposed to rain.

Gas or wood-fired?

When cooking on a gas braai, you light the unit, leave it to warm up for 10 minutes, and then start cooking. Getting wood or charcoal hot enough to cook over is typically a 40- to 60-minute task. Decide on your lifestyle. If you have time to light a fire every time you want to braai, buy a wood/charcoal braai. If you have a busy lifestyle, rather buy a gas braai that you can use frequently.

Size of braai?

Size the braai for the number of people you typically cater for, plus two. With a gas braai, if you have more guests, you just keep cooking. If your wood/charcoal braai has an ember maker, you can keep producing hot coals while you cook to enable you to keep braaiing until all guests are catered for.

Choice of steel?

Where you live will determine the type of steel your braai should be made of for durability and to remain looking good.

House located                                                                                      Buy
By the sea, even if under cover                                                       316 St Steel
1 km away from the sea, even if under cover                             304 St Steel or better
Braai exposed to the elements away from the sea                   3Cr12, 304 St Steel or better
Braai on a covered patio in dry climate                                        Mild steel or better

These days many home owners upgrade on the steel used to complement modern home décor.

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