To "braai" or barbeque (Bar-B-Q) meat is a South African tradition. We usually do it once or twice a week, probably more. It's a chance to get your friends and/or family together, sip some wine or down a couple of cold ones.
In this Instructable, I am going to show you how, with a little preparation and some scientific genius, you can "braai" like an expert and serve up the most succulent meat.
What you will need:
Some red meat, preferably rump, fillet or sirloin. I got rump.
Some Pineapple juice
Some Balsamic Vinegar
Before starting wash your hands, the work area, the dish and fork. General hygiene rules apply when working with food.
Get everything together and lets start
Step 1: Preparing the Meat: Pineapple Juice
Step 2: Preparing the Meat: Balsamic Vinegar
The pineapple juice and balsamic vinegar are slightly acidic and this is what softens and tenderizes the meat. The "acid" helps break down the meat structure. Any acidic fruit juice or liquid will do, even lemon juice works well. Its very natural and makes the meat taste wonderful. Do not leave it on too long or it might even cure the meat. The fork creates the holes for the Pineapple juice and Balsamic vinegar to run into and penetrate deeper into the meat where it is needed the most. I am using Pineapple juice for a specific reason, which we will get to later.
Step 3: Preparing the Meat: Spices
Tip: You can sprinkle a little bit of brown sugar over the meat so make it taste irresistible as I will explain later.
Step 4: Preparing the Meat: Olive Oil
Step 5: Place on very hot grill
Now quickly place the pieces of meat on a very hot grill, oil side at the bottom. The flames might rush up briefly but that is fine. Even if they continue for 10 to 20 seconds, leave the meat alone. What we want is the Maillard reaction to happen.
This reaction is named after chemist Louis-Camille Maillard, who first described it in the 1910s while attempting to reproduce biological protein synthesis. The sugar, to which we have added the Pineapple juice, reacts with the amino acid in the meat, and forms a complex mixture very similar to caramelization. This reaction is the basis of the flavoring industry.
However it only happens at temperatures of 150°C (302°F) and above and that is why the grill must be very hot. It does not have to have flames, although they do help. The purpose of the Olive oil is to briefly cause the coals to flame up chasing the temperature above 150°C for 10 to 30 seconds. Searing the meat and sealing the juices and flavor inside while at the same time causing the Maillard reaction on the outside.
Step 6: Turning of the meat
Place the meat on the grill, wait until you see quite a lot off juice collect on top, then turn it over. When juice collects on top again you can check it for doneness as explained in the next step. Take it off when the doneness suits your taste. Otherwise turn it over once or maximum twice more before taking it off.
Step 7: How to determine how the meat is done
Poke the meat with your forefinger. Now take your other hand and place the thumb and fingers together. As you move from one finger to the next, you will get the consistency of the meat as it should be done.
With your hand open but relaxed feel the heel of your hand just below the thumb with the forefinger of the other hand. This is the consistency of raw meat.
Now touch your forefinger and thumb together lightly, and poke the heel again with the forefinger of the other hand. This is the consistency of rare meat.
Touch your middle finger and thumb together, the heel is now the consistency of medium-rare meat.
The thumb and ring finger together represent medium meat
And the pinky and thumb together is what well done meat will feel like.
The description of the meat doneness is as follows:
Extra-rare or Blue (bleu): very red and cold
Rare (saignant): cold red center; soft
Medium rare (à point): warm red center; firmer
Medium (cuit): pink and firm
Medium well (bien cuit): small amount of pink in center
Well done: gray-brown throughout; firm
Overcook: blacken throughout; crispy
If you have an internal thermometer that you can stick into the meat, then the doneness temperature for this cut of beef is as follows:
Rare: 52°C (125º F)
Medium Rare: 55°C (130º F)
Medium: 60°C (140º F)
Medium Well: 72°C (155º F)
Remember that the internal temperature will rise by about 3-5 °C/º F during resting before it will start to cool down.