Next gen braai tips

Cooking over fire or coals goes to the very heart of South African national identity, whether as shisa nyama or braai. Jan Scannell’s intention is to not only preserve this tradition but to ensure future generations master the basics at a young age by means of his new book, Jan Braai Junior.

Any skill is only mastered once the basics can be accomplished capably and a solid foundation has been laid. Mistakes will certainly be made in the early days of any endeavour, but good, practical guidance from an accredited and skilled source never goes amiss and can keep those errors to a minimum.

“Recipes, techniques and advice: a braai guide for the next generation” is the sub-title of the newly published book, Jan Braai Junior. Available in both English and Afrikaans, it’s the perfect book for parents to give to their progeny – or to nieces and nephews.

Former accountant Jan Scannell had a dream of uniting South Africans around the braai fire when he mooted a National Braai Day way back in 2007. Sixteen years later and millions of South Africans appreciate the fact that September 24 is a public holiday, Heritage Day. It’s a day which all South Africans eagerly anticipate so they can light a fire and start cooking!

Armed with Jan Braai Junior there might well be a host of younger folks wielding the tongs or toe-klap rooster in 2024. That’s because this 64 page book is packed with useful information and advice which is pitched at children aged six to 12 – but which might provide practical tips for parents too!

Scannell has already penned six books about braaing which have been published in multiple markets around the world. Not only is he the head of the National Braai Day initiative, he has successfully presented the television series (now in its 12th season) Jan Braai vir Erfenis on DSTV and Showmax.

The book boasts a collection of his best braai recipes, edited and simplified with easy-to-follow, step-by-step guidance. The book covers all the fundamental braai knowledge every South African should have. He’s kept it simple and sensible, using basic equipment and been very aware of the current economic times by suggesting budget-conscious ingredients. After all, as proud as parents might be, no-one wants little Johnny or Mary incinerating an expensive cut of meat while still wearing training wheels!

While many fathers may not be ready to hand over the responsibility for cooking the chops and steak just yet, seeing their sons and daughters grow in confidence and learn skills which will stand them in good stead for years to come, will certainly leave them with a warm glow of pride in the promise of the next generation.


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These little pieces of melt-in-your-mouth meat can be basted with your favourite braai basting sauce, making them perfectly suited to your taste buds.

about 600g rump steak
braai salt
6 skewers
your favourite braai basting sauce

Cut the steak into bite-sized pieces that will be very easy to chew. Rather cut them too small than too big.

Season the little pieces of steak with braai salt.

Divide the meat into four equal portions. Using one skewer for each portion, push the pieces of meat onto the stick.

Make sure the sharp end of the skewer is pointed away from you, pushing down into the meat on your cutting board.

Do not push the sharp end of the skewer towards your face or into your hand.

Braai the sosaties in a grid over hot coals for about 5 minutes, turning them once so they cook evenly.

Remove the sosaties from the grid and baste them with the braai basting sauce.

This is easier to do when the sosaties are on a plate and not on a grid over the fire.

You can use a basting brush to brush the sauce onto the meat, almost like painting.

Or, you can use the back of a spoon or a butter knife. Make sure the sosaties are coated in sauce all over.

Place the sosaties back in the grid.

Braai them for another 5 minutes over hot coals, turning them once to make sure the sauce on all sides is sizzling and sticky.

To baste means to coat meat in its own juices or some kind of sauce.


Pork ribs taste great, but the marinades and sauces they usually come packaged in burn easily. So, there are two things that can go wrong when you braai them: 1 You remove them from the fire when you think the marinade is starting to burn, but the inside is still raw. 2 You braai them until the inside is cooked through, but by that stage the marinade is burnt. To solve these problems, I have a tip for cooking pork ribs perfectly: braai first and marinade later! Don’t marinate or baste the uncooked ribs – just buy a rack of regular, unmarinated baby back pork ribs. Season the ribs with a bit of braai salt and braai them until almost done. Remove them from the coals, then slice the rack into individual riblets. Smother them in the sauce, then return them to the fire and finish braaing. This way, the ribs will be properly cooked through and the sauce will be nicely glazed without being burnt.

For the sweet and sticky sauce
½ cup honey or golden syrup
½ cup tomato sauce
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon paprika
1.5kg baby back pork ribs
braai salt

Prepare the sauce. Mix all the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Set aside. Season the racks of ribs on both sides with braai salt, then braai them over medium-heat coals for 30 minutes, turning every few minutes. Remove the racks of ribs from the heat and place them on a cutting board. Cut the racks into individual ribs.

Add the ribs to the sauce in the bowl and toss until they are coated all over. Leave for a minute or 3 so that the exposed, meaty parts of the ribs can absorb the sauce.

Braai the generously basted ribs for another 10 minutes. Make sure to expose all sides of each rib to the heat by flipping and facing them towards the coals.

Not all pork ribs are ‘spare ribs’. The nice, neat ones that especially younger people prefer are called ‘baby back’ ribs, which is what we use in this recipe.


I first made this on my TV show, Jan Braai vir Erfenis, many years ago and it became famous overnight.

In those first few weeks after the episode aired, many supermarkets sold out of ready-made pizzas on a daily basis, it was that in demand!

The possibilities for toppings are endless and you can use any of your favourite off-the-shelf pizzas, even two different ones.


2 store-bought pizzas (uncooked but prepared, with the toppings of your choice)

extra toppings (like feta cheese, mushrooms, ham, pineapple, salami or whatever you like on your pizza)

Light a fire and wait until the coals are medium heat. You want the same heat level that you would braai your braaibroodjies over.

Add any extra toppings you like to one of the pizzas, then cover with the second pizza so the fillings face inwards and you end up with a pizza ‘sandwich’.

Place the pizza sandwich in your hinged grid, close the grid tightly, then braai the pizza, turning it often, just like you would do with a braaibroodjie.

You want the outside to be toasted and crispy and the cheese on the inside to be completely melted.

Once you have achieved the perfect pizza, take it off the grid, slide it onto a wooden board and slice. Serve immediately.


Braaing marshmallows on skewers over gentle-heat coals is vital to the braai development of the youth, as it teaches them all the fundamentals of how to braai trickier items, like braaibroodjies and chicken on the bone. The key to braaing these kinds of things is 1 gentle heat and 2 turning often. You need the inside to be cooked before the outside gets burnt. This is an easy braaibroodjie to braai because both marshmallows and chocolate are happy to melt quickly. So, the insides are likely to melt by the time the outsides are golden brown. And, constructing them is very straightforward, especially when the crowd is hungry for something sweet after a great meal.

1 packet (150g) marshmallows
2 slabs (80g each) milk chocolate (or your favourite chocolate)
12 slices of bread

Cut the marshmallows in half and roughly chop the chocolate.

Build the braaibroodjies: Spread butter on one side of each slice of bread. The buttered sides will face outward once you’ve assembled the braaibroodjies. You always butter a braaibroodjie on the outside. Place 6 slices of bread, buttered-side down, on a cutting board and layer with the chopped chocolate and marshmallows. Close the braaibroodjies with the remaining slices of bread, buttered sides facing outwards.

‘Braaibroodjies is draaibroodjies’: Braaibroodjies are braaied in a closed, hinged grid and should be turned often. Try to use a grid with adjustable heights, to compress each braaibroodjie perfectly. You want gentle, medium-paced heat, and the grid should be nice and high. Your aim is for the chocolate to be melted and for the marshmallows to be puffy and melted by the time the bread is golden brown. Once done, slice each braaibroodjie in half and serve immediately.

After you’ve turned it a few times, slightly open and close the hinged grid to prevent the braaibroodjies from getting stuck to the grid.