Be the ultimate braai master

FIRE UP THE GRILL

Check out these essential elements of grill protocol from pit master Jamie Purviance, author of Weber’s Time to Grill (R232 Kalahari.net).

RULE 1
Use a chimney starter to light briquettes.
WHY IT MATTERS The coals heat more evenly. Wad newspaper in the bottom of the chimney starter, light it and pile natural briquettes (not the kind infused with lighter fluid) to the brim.

RULE 2
Always wait until the charcoal is lightly covered in ash before grilling.
WHY IT MATTERS The ash indicates that the heat has fully surrounded the briquette.

RULE 3
Don’t start grilling as soon as you dump in the charcoal.
WHY IT MATTERS The grill grates need time to heat up – that’s what creates the perfect sear. Close the lid for 10 minutes and wait.

SET UP HEAT ZONES

To control your cooking temperatures, set up a two-zone grill: arrange two thirds of the grate with a single layer of coals. Leave the remaining third empty. That way if your food is cooking too quickly or there’s a stubborn flare-up, you can move your food briefly to a safety zone.

FEEL THE HEAT

If your grill doesn’t have a thermometer, there’s no better tool than your hand. Hold your palm a beer-can’s distance from the grill and see how long you can stand the heat. (Pull it away before it starts hurting.) Too hot? Lift the lid and wait five or 10 minutes. Too cool? Add a few pieces of lump charcoal, which will light and heat up faster than briquettes do.