Weber Braai Competition & Recipes
I entered my first braai competition the other weekend (3rd November), it was first time I have ever done this. Thought it was a good time to see how my food racked up.
The event was organised to find some new “Braai Masters” to represent South Africa, one of the first events of its kind. As In Oct 2013 there will be a team of South African “Braaibassadors” going to the 25th Jack Daniel’s World BBQ Invitational an annual event in Lynchburg,Tennessee,USA. With braais and prizes sponsored by Weber.
Well we arrived in Alberton Jackson Dam, expecting a lovely summers day and all we got was this cold wind blowing off the dam. Not good for braaing at all. The day started nice and early 7am, As we needed 6 hours cooking time to cook my ribs “low and slow” style. But this cold wind wasn’t doing me any favours.
We were also spoilt to have a local celebrity there, that being Braaiboy – the man who made the guinness book of records for braaing the longest ever of 60 hours! Who was one of the judges
But just some rules for the competition.
Category 1: Meat – Pork Ribs; Chicken and Beef Ribs / Steak
- Each team is encouraged to prepare all 3 meat dishes, but may opt to prepare only 1
- Points from a team’s best dish will be taken into consideration for prizes
- Weber will be providing braais for each team
- Teams to provide their own (uncooked) meat and other braai requirements
- Using wood chips to include a smoke element is encouraged
Category 2: Basting/Marinade
- A homemade marinade or basting sauce
- The recipe may include any ingredients, but must contains at least either Jack Daniel’s or Mrs. Ball’s Chutney (or both)
Judging will start at 13h00 for Chicken 13h30 for beef and 14h00 for pork
Being Organised is Essential
My 3 meats were the following:
- Smoked Dry rubbed Pork Ribs, cooked low and slow
- Smoked Marinated Prime Rib off the bone
- Asian style chicken thighs
Pork Ribs Recipe
- 4 racks of Pork Ribs
- Yellow Mustard hot dog style
- apple juice
- apple vinegar
- 1 Cup UNSOAKED wood chips – I like to use hickory for pork
Ingredients – Can be used on ribs or any other pork cuts
- 1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup paprika
- 1/4 cup kosher salt
- 1/4 cup garlic powder
- 2 tablespoons ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons ground ginger powder
- 2 tablespoons onion powder
- 2 tablespoons chipotle powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon curry powder
- 2 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon chickens stock powder ( I use Ina Paarman’s)
- 1 tablespoon beef stock powder
- 2 cups Apple Juice
- 1 Cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/4 cup yellow mustard
- 1/4 cup dry rub
- Trim off any excess fat on ribs, then coat in yellow mustard and then generously add dry rub all over pork ribs
- keep over night in the fridge for 12-24 hours to marinate with dry rub. Wrap tight in cling film
- You can also make your mop the day before as well. Mix all ingredients and stir well
When cooking these ribs you want to cook them between 100 – 140 degrees Celsius. Thus its known as “low and slow” cooking. So you want to prepare an indirect fire and method to make you cook for 6 hours without needing to add more charcoal is called the “Minion Method”. The process is pretty easy, as you can see by the pictures. Firstly you want to get 8-10 briquettes lit. Once these are getting to that whitish colour, you can prepare Weber with your briquettes. You want to lay out 2 briquettes next to each other in a semi circle. Then add large pieces of lumpwood on top, for a pyramid affect. Then you want to add dry smoking chips (dont need to be soaked in water) on top of the coals, but only on the first half of the circle. As you only want to smoke in the beginning of the cooking process. Once this is ready and your briquettes are lit you are ready, add to one side of the circle of charcoal to get the fire going.
Then you want to add your drip pan filled with water. Put the grid on and let the fire to get going – 10 – 15mins. Then you are ready to put the ribs on, over the drip pan.
The key to keeping your temperature correctly is by controlling the bottom vent and NOT the top vent. I find using a wire hanger as the right gap of the air vents to be open in the bottom. But this is something you have to experiement with as it will be different for other people and depending on the weather. I had to keep the vents open wider due to the cold wind.
- After the first hour of cooking, you now want to put the mop on to the ribs and rotate the ribs around. Taking the one closest to the fire and moving it the coldest point.
- Then every 30 mins you will be mopping and rotating the ribs
- After a total of 3 hours of cooking, you then want to wrap the ribs in foil with 1/4 cup of apple juice. Don’t pour apple juice on top of ribs as will take off dry rub crust. Cooking in foil for 30-45 mins. This method is known as the “Texas Crutch”
- Once finished cooking in the foil, take out foil and keep cooking. You can take the apple juice and add to your mop.
- You will now keep mopping every 30mins for another 1 – 2 hours, depending on how cooked they are.
- The best way to tell if ribs are ready is to grab ribs on the end and jiggle them, if they are cooked they will crack
- Now rest ribs in foil for at least 30 mins to them soften and get juices back into the meat. Best way to do this, wrap ribs in foil into a towel and place into a cooler-box.
- Cut ribs and serve! Yummy
Ribs after 3 Hours of Cooking
Texas Crutch – Apple Juice onto Ribs in foil
Smoked Marinated Prime Rib
3/4 Bone prime rib, ask butcher to remove bone or can do it yourself. Make sure roast is tied up properly, so meat is uniform shape and will then cook evenly.
1 Cup unsoaked wood chips, mixed 50/50 hickory and pecan.
- 1 Cup worcester sauce
- 1/4 cup low salt soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon Rosemary
- 4 garlic bulbs crushed
- 1 tsp rock salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon powder beef stock
- 2 tablespoon brown sugar
Mix all ingredient’s together and marinate beef in a zip lock bag for 24 hours, turning after 12 hours.
Cooking temperatures and times
Once again prepare fire indirect, with coals on one side and drip pan on other side, also place your mix . Place the meat in the indirect zone above the drip pan where it is surrounded by 165°c air. Also now put in your meat thermometer into thicket part of the prime rib, this will be your guide to when the meat is ready. You don’t want to read the air temp in the dome, you need to read the air temp on the grate next to the meat. So what I do is place a thermometer on the grate, so I know the temperature is correct. If you don’t want to do this, I have found the thermostat in the dome is about 10-15 degrees higher then where the grid temperature is.
After first 45 mins of cooking, you should take remaining marinade and re-baste meat. Then do this every 15mins, until you have reached 55 degrees. You now want to brown the meat to place meat directly over coals and get the meat nice and browned for about 10 minutes. By this time your meat should be at the right temperature, you now want to rest it for at least 30mins. Once again wrap in foil, wrap in a towel and place in a cooler-box. Meat will come out steaming hot.
Basting the Meat
Once ready, slice meat into 5mm thick slices. It will be so tender and juicy! Enjoy
Asian style chicken thighs
8 Chicken Thighs
- 4 chopped garlic cloves
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh ginger grated
- 1/2 cup whiskey
Mix all together and cover chicken thighs
Once again we are cooking these indirect for about 40-50 mins (temperature of fire around 180-200 degrees Celsius). so prepare fire for indirect cooking. You wont need a drip pan for these. Place chicken thighs on grid, close lid and cook for 30mins before you baste them every 10mins. After about 40mins, you can now brown directly over the coals and re-baste them at the same time. Once ready wrap in foil and let rest for 10-15mins
I came 2nd overall for the competition, with the judges loving the prime rib! The winner of the day for the beef.
But it was a great day out, meeting other fellow braai masters and enjoying the social side of things with a cold beer!
Bring on the next competition!
Check out the braai Olympics video from the day