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Celebrating Heritage Day: how to host a Braai party at home

With our guide to hosting a Braai, everyone will have a great time – even you!


BQQ grill on blue background

Key steps

Want to put together the perfect menu when hosting a Braai? Here’s how:

  1. Check the dietary requirements of your guests.

  2. Always have plenty of variety – don’t stick to just one type of meat – and make sure to have lots of side dish options.

  3. Ask guests to each bring a side dish, dessert, or drink if you’d like everyone to participate.

In South Africa, the 24th September is no ordinary day it’s Heritage Day! This is a time for us to celebrate our culture and recognise the diversity of our nation, as well as get together with friends and family for a day of fun. It’s also now known less formally as Braai Day and hosting a braai has become part of the tradition. If it’s your turn to throw the party this year, follow this ultimate guide to how to host a braai to make sure it goes smoothly.

To care for the environment, consider biodegradable plates and cups when hosting a Braai. You don’t have to invest in paper plates or plastic cutlery at all if you’re hosting a party at home, but it may be preferable if you're worried about guests accidentally breaking your favourite crockery!

Choose a braai party master

The first thing you need to do is sort out who’s going to be the braai master of your event. What does this mean? Well, while you’ll be in charge of coming up with all the braai party ideas and running the day, you won’t necessarily be in charge of the braaing the food (unless you want to, of course). This is a big job and one that takes a lot of dedication, so pick wisely. Your braai party master will be in charge of cooking on the braai grill.

Decide braai party ideas for food

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Even if you’re not the braai master, you still need to figure out a menu of ideas for braai party food. You’ll need plenty of delicious meat – including chicken, red meat, and boerewors, as well as a couple of vegetarian options. To make sure your food is delicious, marinate it overnight so it’s bursting with flavour. As for the indispensable side dishes, here are a few more food-related Braai Day ideas for your menu to accompany the meat:

  • Orange glazed carrots

  • Fennel and fontina

  • Garlic and mint baby potatoes

  • Three bean salad – get creative, plain salads are boring!

  • Boereboontjies

  • Grilled sweetcorn

You can serve a few snacks – from chips or crudités and dip to one-bite appetisers – as your guests start to arrive and while you're waiting for the braai grill to heat up. Just remember you want them to be hungry by the time you serve the main meal!

Prepare the space with braai party décor ideas

When it comes to table décor ideas for a braai, it’s best to keep things simple and let the food make the biggest impression. To achieve this:

  • Arrange the seating for your guests around the braai so that no one is left out of the festivities.

  • Set out a tablecloth along with plenty of serving plates that you can transfer your food onto.

  • To make your table more eye-catching, have your serving plates at different heights and add fruits and flowers to the tabletop.

  • For evening décor ideas for a braai party, add candles and lanterns to your setting!

Cleaning after your braai

Cleaning up is the less exciting part of entertaining – but one that needs doing nevertheless! To make your life easier, follow these cleaning tips:

  • Start cleaning as soon as you begin preparing the food. You’ll be saving time and effort.

  • Make sure there are plenty of bins available during your braai. This way people can throw their own rubbish away. Cleaning doesn’t need to be a one-person job!

  • Keep a surface cleaner, like Handy Andy, at the ready. It will help to easily clean up any spills or dirt.

  • When it comes to cleaning your glasses, cutlery and plates (if not using disposable ones), use an effective dishwashing liquid, such as Sunlight Dishwashing Liquid, to keep them sparkling. Do this before and after the party.

  • Clean your braai grill after the party to prevent food from sticking to the bars. Wait until it has cooled and use warm soapy water, along with a stiff wire brush, to scrub it clean.

Now you’ve got plenty of braai ideas for a party, all that’s left to do is start planning yours. Send out the invites, head to the shops to start getting your food and décor together as you prepare for a day of fun and laughter. Of course, don’t forget to celebrate South Africa!

Originally published