It’s no secret that South Africans enjoy a lekker braai. (Braai [br-eye] is a widely used noun and verb for an outdoor ‘barbecue’ where meat is cooked over a fire or coals). This delectable and enjoyable experience may not be in the kitchen but this cooking method still needs some burn awareness as it also comes with some burning issues. All Braai Masters should understand how to switch off fuel supplies, quench or smother blazes and call the fire department as the risks and hazards of braaing should not be underestimated.
Planning ahead always helps. It starts with the area where the braai is being used. This needs to be well ventilated. Enclosed spaces are a big NO NO. Ensure that the open flame is away from thatch or any other structure or item that may catch alight if the wind changes direction and blows glowing embers about.
To save your clothing from the odd spark here and there – or a stream of hot fat from that wors, wearing an apron makes sense. Appropriate clothing includes anything without dangly bits that can catch fire or clothes that are very flammable. Always use oven gloves when working at a braai. Lastly, fat from cooking may cause a flare-up, so be a proud Braai Master and always keep your braai and grill clean after each use. Use braai tools to safely work with the food without getting burnt – don’t use normal eating utensils to move food around on the grill. The longer the tools the better.
Now that your location, clothing and utensils are all checked, time to consider your ignition options to start the fire. Firelighters, a lighter or matches are always a winner. NOT petrol or lighter fluid. If you decide to speed things up with any accelerant, stand well back, keep children and pets far away and have Burnshield nearby.
It’s Getting Hot In Here
Knowing when the fire is ready depends on the meat you are cooking and how much meat is going to be cooked. Unless you are particularly fond of that flamed, charred grilled taste, meat generally isn’t cooked on an open flame. You want a sizzle not a burnt crisp. Patience is a virtue and when using charcoal or briquettes, waiting until all the flames have died down and a fine layer of gray ash has formed on them, is ideal.
The classic Saffa method to checking whether the coals are ready, is not recommended by us, BUT what we can recommend is having Burnshield nearby again. Simply hold your hand over the braai grid for the count of 10. If you have to pull your hand away before you reach 10, the coals are still too hot. If you can comfortably hold your hand over the coals for much longer than the count of 10, the embers are too cool. In this case, lower the grid, or add more coal or fire to create fresh, hotter embers.
As you are working with an open flame, make sure you have close to hand something to douse blazes in flare-ups and to control minor flames when the food catch alight like a squirt bottle of cold water. Never ever leave a lit braai unattended. Ideally keep a bucket of sand, or a fire extinguisher nearby if things really get out of hand.
We hope you enjoy those braais safely with our handy burn safety tips. Always remember to always have Burnshield nearby, as it’s most effective in the initial emergency phase. Follow us for more safety tip on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.