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Mastering the Art of Rooikrans Braaiwood: A Guide to a Perfect Braai

Braai, the beloved South African tradition of cooking over an open fire, is incomplete without the right choice of braaiwood. Among the various options available, rooikrans braaiwood stands out for its exceptional qualities, providing a unique flavor and consistent heat. In this guide, we will delve into the art of using rooikrans braaiwood and explore how it enhances the braai experience. Let’s fire up the grill and discover the secrets of a perfect braai!

  1. Understanding Rooikrans Braaiwood:

Rooikrans (Acacia cyclops) is an indigenous tree species in South Africa known for its dense, slow-burning hardwood. It offers excellent heat retention, which makes it ideal for a sustained and consistent cooking temperature during a braai. The dense nature of rooikrans wood ensures a longer burning time, reducing the need for constant fire tending.

  1. Sourcing High-Quality Rooikrans Braaiwood:

To maximize your braai experience, it’s essential to source high-quality rooikrans braaiwood. Look for well-seasoned, dry wood with minimal moisture content. Damp or freshly cut wood can produce excessive smoke and affect the flavor of your food. Local suppliers, garden centers, or reputable online retailers often offer well-prepared rooikrans braaiwood.

  1. Preparing the Braai Fire:

To start your rooikrans braai fire, follow these steps:

a. Arrange the briquettes: Position the rooikrans braaiwood in a pyramid shape, leaving enough space in the center for airflow. Add kindling material or firelighters at the base for easier ignition.

b. Igniting the fire: Light the kindling material or firelighters using matches or a fire starter. Ensure proper ventilation to facilitate a steady flame.

c. Building the coal bed: As the fire grows, allow it to burn until the larger pieces of wood turn into glowing coals. This process usually takes around 30-40 minutes, depending on the size of the fire and weather conditions.

  1. Managing the Braai Temperature:

Rooikrans braaiwood provides excellent control over the cooking temperature. To regulate the heat, follow these tips:

a. Positioning the grill: Adjust the height of the grill according to your desired heat level. Lower the grill for higher heat, suitable for searing meats, and raise it for gentler, slower cooking.

b. Adding wood: As the fire burns, add smaller pieces of rooikrans braaiwood to maintain a steady heat source. Avoid adding too much wood at once, as it can lead to excessive flames and uneven cooking.

  1. Enhancing Flavor with Rooikrans Braaiwood:

The distinct aroma and flavor of rooikrans braaiwood add a unique touch to your grilled dishes. Here are a few suggestions to enhance the flavor:

a. Soaking wood chips: Soak rooikrans wood chips in water for 30 minutes before adding them to the fire. This technique releases aromatic smoke, infusing your food with a delightful smoky essence.

b. Adding aromatic herbs: Tossing sprigs of rosemary, thyme, or other aromatic herbs onto the fire can impart subtle herbal flavors to your braai dishes.


Using rooikrans braaiwood elevates the art of braaing, providing a consistent heat source, extended burning time, and a distinct smoky flavor. With the proper preparation and management of your rooikrans fire, you can achieve exceptional results in your braai dishes. Experiment with different cooking techniques and flavors to