Jason’s Braai tips

I just had a really awesome Sunday afternoon braai with my girlfriend’s family, and I was thinking I should share some of MY tips to getting a braai just right.

The Wood

I’ve found 2 types of wood that have a medium burning time but have very long coal heat time. Kameeldooring (also known as camel thorn) and anything that comes from Namibia. Kameeldoring is more expensive than normal wood, but there is a reason for it – it is always dry and makes very good coals. If you can find those beaten up trucks on the side of the road that sell Namibian “hout”, you are in luck. Ask the guy how the wood is and he will say “Dis soos yster!” (It’s like iron!).

The Meat

The meat is entirely up to you. Chicken, sosaties, chops, wors, snoek, you name it, everything goes. Anything from your local supermarket or even better, the butcher will do the job. Don’t skimp on the meat because not even a braai will fix that “ou skaap vleis”.

Spices and Sauces

Braai salt is a must for the chicken. My favourite braai salt is the BBQ salt with garlic made by marina. (The bright orange and purple plastic container available from every supermarket). As for braai sauce for your chops goes, there is nothing better than Jimmy’s braai sauce. Trust me on this one when I say, this stuff is legendary. Spar were the only stockists of it, but lately I have seen Pick ‘n Pay as well as Checkers start to stock it as well. There are a number of other sauces available – Steers, Spur, BBQ this, BBQ that, but they really don’t stand up to the great Jimmy sauce.

The Fire

Getting the coals at the right temperature is crucial. You don’t want burnt meat, but you also don’t want to run out of coals and have your chicken undercooked. A rule of thumb for those beginners is once your wood has turn into glowing orange and red coals, and you can hold your hand over the coals for about 2-3 seconds, you can start the braai.

The Braai’ing of the meat

Always start with the chicken as it takes the longest. It really is the weirdest thing, but chicken wings and drumsticks take surprisingly long relative to their size. Next you can slap on the chops, sosaties or whatever you having to braai. You can put everything on at the same time if you have the space, but as I say, get that chicken on first.

Sprinkle the spices onto the chicken on both sides. Don’t be shy with the braai salt. If using normal pepper and salt, I wouldn’t put too much salt on the chicken. Marinate the chops a couple of hours beforehand if possible, otherwise keep coating the chops with your sauce while they on the braai.

Remember to also keep turning the meat. You want the chicken to be golden brown all the way round, and the chops to look slightly crispy and juicy. If you not sure, use a steak knife and cut through the middle of the meats. Chicken must be slightly moist (no running juice) and your chops should be pink with no blood. Wors, which goes on last as it cooks the quickest, must not be pink inside, but brown.

Braai’ing a Snoek

Fish is a very tricky thing to braai, especially snoek. But the very best way I have found to have a moist and tasty snoek is to braai it in a foil jacket.

Also just as important is the sauce you must cook the snoek with. Take some lemon, lots of garlic, lots of butter and some apricot jam and cook in a pot on the stove. Keep stirring the sauce until everything has melted. Keep to one side while you make the foil jacket.

Create the foil jacket by taking a very large piece of foil, and placing the snoek in the one half of the foil. Pour all the sauce over the fish. Now fold the foil over the snoek until the bottom and top end touch. (Foil comes in long pieces, so take the bottom and top end of the long piece and fold in half.). Then take the edges and fold over and over until you create a packet of sorts. It must be completely airtight because once you put it on the grid which is over your coals, the packet will blow up like a balloon and the snoek will cook in the steam that the juices create. This gives the snoek a moist texture, which is exactly what you want. No one likes a dry snoek. Once the packet has blown up, it should take between 15-20 minutes until the snoek is cooked through. This my friends will win you many a braai contest.

The Other Things

Let your mates take care of the salads, breads and so forth. If you want to cook the garlic bread on the fire, that should take around 5 minutes. To see if its ready, take your tongs and press the bread from both sides. If it’s soft, its ready.

The Unsaid Rules Of The Braai

All guys have their way of doing things, and when its not your turn to braai, shut up and drink your beer. Offer to help, but if the braaier declines your offer, stay well away from his meat, unless he asks you to keep an eye on it while he pops inside to the toilet or to grab more spices and sauces. Also don’t offer your advice on how to braai, because you definitely won’t crack an invite the next time your mates decide to braai. Rather wait until its your turn to braai to show off your skills. Your mates will quickly pick up on your slick hands and meat handling which they will, in time, try out themselves. This is the only way that skills are transferred around the braai. The ONLY way.

I’m sure you okes have some tips as well, so please do share.

How to properly use a credit card and save money!

I hear it all too often from people that credit cards are “bad“. “Credit cards are so expensive to use!” say some, and the the most common one is “The banks just charges way to much interest on credit cards.“. The funny thing is that a credit card is the best financial product offered by banks, in the world. There is no other banking product that allows you to keep your money for 55 days, gives you substantial interest on a credit balance and charges you no transaction fees!

The only reason people are scared of using credit cards is that they are misinformed. You just see people flashing their credit cards all over the show, and you think to yourself, “shame, that person can’t manage their debt.” But the truth is, that using a credit card properly, actually can save and make you money! So listen up, and adhere to my tips on credit card usage, and you will save money!

Choosing the right credit card

Every single banking institution, and lately, large corporate companies offer some sort of credit card. All have different interest rates, annual fees, rewards schemes, etc. So finding the credit card that is right for you is very important. Once you have all the facts, you can make the right decision on which card to choose.

Virgin Money

If you have never owned a credit card before, or are new to the whole credit card thing, go straight to Virgin Money and sign up. As long as you are earning a living, you should qualify. The reason I choose Virgin, are two simple factors. No annual fees, which in essence makes owning a credit card free, and their 5% credit interest rate. But you might be on Discovery Medical, and their credit card might appeal to you more because of their rewards scheme etc. Choose wisely, but don’t not choose a credit card!

How to use a credit card wisely

This is the step where a lot of people get caught, and get stuck in the never ending spiral of debt and interest-on-debt repayment. Your credit card will have a limit that you are allowed to spend. Remember, this doesn’t mean you must spend that amount every month! Draw up a budget, and the amount of money you spend a month on your credit card must be on that budget, so that at the end of the month, you haven’t spent more money than you earn.

The rules of a credit card are so, that if you buy a pair of shoes on your credit card today, you only have to pay the bank back for those shoes in 55 days time. 55 days! That is almost two months! This is where you can make money from the bank. Using this rule means that the money that you owe for those shoes should be sitting in an interest-bearing account so that for 55 days you can earn interest on the money that the bank just lent you for 55 days, interest free! Confusing you hey? Look at this example…

  • I have R1000 in my savings account, and I want to buy a pair of shoes.
  • Puma sneakers: R1000 (Some bling man!)
  • Pay for these sneakers using your Credit Card.
  • Transaction fees buying sneakers: R0
  • For 55 days that R1000 is earning interest sitting in your savings account.
  • After 55 days, you transfer that R1000 into your credit card – in order to pay the bank back for your funky shoes.
  • You get charged not 1 cent from the bank, but you have just earned interest on the bank’s money for 55 days!

Stick to these 3 rules, and make money with your credit card!

  1. Do not spend on your credit card what you cannot buy with hard cash. Buy that pair of sneakers on your credit card, but if you do not have the hard cash in the bank, do not charge it!
  2. Pay back the full amount you owe on your credit card every single month. By missing just one payment, all your hard work saving, can be lost, because of the high rate at which you get charged for late, or not paying up in full. Sometimes up to 25% on your outstanding amount!
  3. If you do not have a savings account to utilise, put all your monthly spending budget into your credit card, and earn interest that way! That means you can earn up to 5% on your spare cash lying around!

I spotted a real UFO!

I might sound like a weirdo, but my Dad took a photo of an UFO! A week ago, my Dad was taking photos of the farm he stays on. He asked me to take a couple of the photos and join them so as to make it look like a panoramic shot so that he could print and frame it. I went ahead and started joining the photos in fireworks, and when I zoomed into one of the photos, I saw something in the sky, that looked out of place. It doesn’t look like a bird, or a plane for that matter. I don’t go around looking for UFOs, and I don’t believe in life outside of earth either, but this is really strange…

A UFO isn’t always an alien or a spaceship, it is an Unidentified Flying Object, and this really is one! Here is the photo that my Dad took. (I’ve made it smaller to fit.)

Barrydale_UFO_512x384.jpg

Have a look in the sky. You see that silver dot? Ok, so it doesn’t look like much when you look at this photo, but download the original photo (2.39mb), which was taken with a 4 mega-pixel Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ20EB camera. The original size of the image is 2560×1920. Here is the UFO cropped from the original.

zoomin.png

I can’t make out remotely what it is, so I’d have to put it down as a UFO. The photo was taken outside of Barrydale, in the little Karoo, so it’s literally in the middle of nowhere. Not sure about this fact, but aren’t most UFO sightings, normally spotted in remote areas? Well, the Karoo is as remote a place you going to find.

Anyway, take it like you want, and don’t be jealous folks, because I spotted a UFO! :-)