The Secret ingredient to braaiing that tender tasty steak!


It’s that time of the year again. Temperatures have soared, the days are longer and to all South Africans, braaiing is synonymous with Summer.

While many people throughout the Northern Hemisphere enjoy a White Christmas, to us in South Africa, that’s quite foreign. It’s the thing that fairy tales are made of!

It is not unusual for us to spend Christmas Day with the family around the braai. A fun filled day of relaxing at the pool, imbibing that holiday feeling is the image that Christmas Day conjures up in our minds. Of course, braaiing is not exclusive to Christmas Day. Most South Africans enjoy a braai throughout the entire year, but more so in Summer as the weather makes it more conducive.

Here in South Africa, braiíng is a way of life. So why not blend everyone’s  favourite outdoor braiíng experience with everyone’s favourite morning beverage? That’s right, we’re talking about a combination of coffee and meat.  It’s truly a match made in gastronomical heaven.

Coffee grounds can be used as a rub for almost any type of meat. Just like red wine, coffee is acidic. It’s those acidic grinds of coffee that pair well with the savoury tones of meat. When combined, the two create a flavoursome explosion.

The reason why coffee is great for a braai, whether ground or brewed, is because it acts like a spice. Like any spice, coffee works best paired with other spices. Adding coffee to a braai rub will accentuate the flavours of the meat and when cooked, the grounds will caramelise making a sweet and savoury crust that seals in the moisture of the meat. That crust is called the bark.

Coffee does so much more than just enhance the flavour of meat. It also acts as a tenderiser. The best way to use the tenderising power of coffee is to brew a strong pot, let that chill and then marinade the meat in the coffee for at least 24 hours. The reason coffee tenderises so well is not because of the acid level in coffee. Instead, it’s the natural enzymes of the coffee that do the tenderising work.

Still not convinced? Try it yourself!

The best way to become a believer in the meat + coffee combination is by tasting it yourself.

In a mixing bowl, combine the following:

  • 6 Tbsp. Ground Roasted Coffee
  • 2 Tbsp. Coarse Salt
    • 2 Tbsp. Paprika
    • 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. Coarse Pepper
    • 2 tsp. Onion Powder
    • 2 tsp. Garlic Powder
    • 1 tsp. Coriander

Coat the meat of your choice that you plan to braai.

Let that sit in a zip-lock bag in the fridge overnight.

The next day, all you need to do is to braai that piece of meat to your  desire.

You will be guaranteed to enjoy a tender tasty and mouth -watering piece of meat with all the trimmings that South Africans enjoy at a braai. Garlic bread, potato salad, tossed green salad, mixed bean salad coleslaw and crisps are always fine accompaniments to a Sunday afternoon braai with the family.

So, all it takes is a good cut of South African meat and a mix of coffee and spices and your guests will be guessing what that secret ingredient is that did the trick!


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