Introducing the Braai Plank

I must admit when my friend Samantha Linsell from drizzleanddip.com asked me to help her try out something called a “Braai Plank” I was a tad sceptical.  I mean I grew up with LOADS of braaing and have perfected my own techniques / recipes over the years. Any braai technique / product I haven’t heard of was surely some gimmick aimed at the clueless (over confident much?).  I’m never one to miss an opportunity to try something new though, so I went for it!

Sam brought some of her tools of the trade with to my place and we got the fire started.  My neighbours might have thought us a bit odd with two camera tripods and a table of props being set up.  At one point I even exclaimed “Let’s do it in the bedroom!”, but more on this later.

 

 

We decided to split the resulting blog posts in two, I’ll do  the action shots and explain how it all works, while Sam will provide the recipes and the gorgeous images she managed to create.  Sam is one seriously talented woman, if you haven’t yet checked out her blog yet (erm, time to crawl out from under that rock buddy) please go check out drizzleanddip.com.

Right so time to get braaing !

The basic idea behind the plank is to use it sort of like a smoker.  You soak the planks for a good few hours in water / wine / beer etc, and then you place it on your braai grid, with whatever you are cooking on top of it.  The heat will make the plank start to smolder and smoke, which adds some smokey flavour to your cooking.

The braai we used is a South African classic, the half drum legend, made by cutting open a huge oil drum lenghtwise.  To keep the smoke around the meet / veg I place my kettle braai lid over the planks.  A picture of the setup below

 

 

Okay so first off Sam has soaked the planks overnight.  You then need to temper them a bit to avoid excessive warping of the wood when you place it on the heat.  To do this you put the side that you want to cook the meat on face down onto the grid for 2 minutes.

 

 

This will make it curve a bit to that side.  You then flip it over, add your meat / veg and get smokin’. Here we used the Oak planks to smoke the Garlic, Pesto, Chilli Mushrooms as well as some Prosciutto wrapped Brie (what a winner).

 

 

Back on with the lid and let it go for +- 15 minutes.  The time will vary according to the intensity of the heat source, so you’ll have to eyeball it untill you get the technique down.  We were advised to keep a little spray bottle filled with water on hand to douse any flames that might flare up if your coals are too hot.   Just a few spritzes was enough to keep them flames under control.

After a few minutes things started smelling pretty good, and soon we ended up with these gorgeous babies.

 

 

After I finished braaing these Sam grabbed them from my paws and ran upstairs with them to shoot the proper photos.  Aparrently there was some awesome light for photography streaming through my bedroom window, so that was why we ended up having to “Do it in the bedroom” (who knew).

We then made some Bruschetta on the grid and stuffed our faces with the Prosciutto wrapped Brie, this was seriously good.

 

 

Next we moved on to a sirloin steak and a pork fillet.  The pork was gorgeous as I could cover it with sauce from the start without the sauce burning due to direct heat.

 

 

For steak braaing I’m not 100% convinced, it was good (I cannot braai bad steak, its not in my DNA) but I still think my tried and tested flame grilled method reigns supreme, but give it a bash yourself and see :)

 

 

I believe the plank is probably better suited to more delicate things, like a small fillet, cheeses, veggies, a nice piece of fish or chicken breast etc.  Something that wouldn’t enjoy very high direct heat and could do with something solid to rest on.

Sam and I had loads of fun and we ate like kings.  For the recipes and the most amazing images please head on over to her blog posts here.

You can get more info on the planks at the supplier, Geobasket

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Author:Fritz Brand

Passionate Foodie, Blues Man, Photographer, Technology Geek and all round cool dude.

22 Responses to “Introducing the Braai Plank”

  1. July 1, 2012 at 9:59 pm #

    Sounds wonderful….and look totally delicious! I think when you eventually make me that piece of steak you promised me……I would prefer it done over the coals please ;) xx

    • Fritz Brand
      July 1, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

      Thanks Colleen. Yup over the coals it shall be, you cannot mess with perfection :P

  2. Michael Moye
    July 2, 2012 at 7:06 am #

    I had a sneak preview of braai planks last month. The smoky wood flavors infused the meats to perfection. Can’t wait to buy them locally when they hit the stores soon.

    • Fritz Brand
      July 2, 2012 at 7:32 am #

      Hi Michael. Yea I look forward to experimenting with them some more myself!

  3. Tami
    July 2, 2012 at 9:57 am #

    This is very cool Fritz. I’ve been looking forward to this post since I heard about it at FBI2012. The people that won your services as a braai master for the night are very lucky ;)

    • Fritz Brand
      July 2, 2012 at 9:59 am #

      Thanks Tami

      They paid good money! Haha

  4. Brent
    July 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Dude you made me so hungry at work reading this post and looking at these pictures and all I have on hand is a cup of noodles :P

    • Fritz Brand
      July 2, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

      Hahaha, sorry bro, will make you some next time you guys come over for a braai

  5. Darren Raynor
    July 2, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Been using these for a while already, I have to say just the smell transports me to a scorching hot and musky woodland and the taste is simply unique. Because of the indirect cooking method (non contact with flames) I feel confident in knowing that I am getting healthy grub too and then because they are carbon neutral my ‘green conscience’ comes out clean!! Job done! I have to say the mushrooms are more than devine as the their porous nature locks in amazing smokiness, oh and not to forget the lamb chops, bahhhhhlicious. Totally hooked and my pantry is now always stocked with a few planks, on hand and ready to plunge for a nice long soak into whatever I feel like experimenting with, btw I always do that before leaving for work, then good to go when I’m home.

    • Fritz Brand
      July 2, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

      Hi Darren

      Sounds great, thanks for the tips!

      Cheers

  6. July 3, 2012 at 7:30 am #

    Love the photos, the lighting looks perfect. Something I need to perfect shooting warm food. Think we need to learn som tricks from Sam.

    • Fritz Brand
      July 3, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      Thanks Fiona

      Yea, so much we can learn from her!

  7. Sharon Dreyer
    July 3, 2012 at 12:17 pm #

    I too have had a few of the Geobasket braai planks ‘tested’ on my taste buds, delicious, delicious, delicious!! Pork is a winner especially when the plank is soaked in fruit juice, the big brown mushrooms are simply meant for this style of cooking but without a doubt a round of Camembert cheese gently melting on the plank getting infused with the smoky hues and then lavished with a berry coulis is simply sinful and my favourite! And with the various different ‘flavored’ woods it is so easy to experiment with different results. Boy am I soooo hungry at the thought now!

    • Fritz Brand
      July 3, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

      Hi Sharon

      Thanks for sharing your tips, keep em coming! The other night I cut open a Camembert, spread some chilli and basil pesto in the middle and then made a sandwich, which I wrapped in Serrano ham and smoked on an Alder plank… It was met with great applause I can tell you that much!

  8. July 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    Hi, JY kan ook nie help jy is soooo oulik nie!! xx

    • Fritz Brand
      July 3, 2012 at 11:26 pm #

      Nee wat mens kan nou maar net nie :) xx

  9. Lyndon
    July 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Awesome! I saw those planks at Builders Warehouse . They were Weber-branded.

    • Fritz Brand
      July 10, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      Thx Lyndon, I’ll go check em out!

  10. Peter Walker
    July 6, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Hi Fritz, I saw this oak plank braai in Toronto some years back – they “braai” on a gas grill! and the braai (gasaai!!!) / smoker was a whole salmon – seriously delicious!

    • Fritz Brand
      July 10, 2012 at 10:36 am #

      Hi Peter

      Yea the Americans have been doing it for years, anything to help them with braaing hey! Thx for stopping by!

  11. October 10, 2012 at 11:36 am #

    I just have to try this one!

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