Braai etiquette: These are the do’s and don’ts

As South Africans prepare to celebrate National Braai Day, in addition to practising Covid-19 safety measures, there are a few things to be mindful of when it comes to acceptable and unacceptable behaviour at a braai.

Below is useful guideline:


    Unless you are being hosted, be courteous and ask the braai master/ host what you can bring. When you arrive with your meat and drinks, always ask where is the best place to put them.
    Ensure there is plenty of meat – quality is everything – if you are attending a bring and share.
    If you are on a particular diet, take along your preferred braai option be it vegetarian, vegan or seafood.
    Although there are generally plenty of sides and salads provided, if there is a special dish you are famed for, you should enquire if you can bring it, too. My mom’s potato salad is always a treat. It is something I take over to my friends’ places, with permission, when invited over for a braai.
    No braai is complete without a drink in hand. Arriving with a bag or two of ice will definitely help. And, since the braai master has their hands full, ensure they are replenished with a drink of their choice all the time.
    Although the host will take care of everything, offer a helping hand, especially when it comes to setting up as well as clearing the table.


    Most braais start late afternoon, generally between 3 and 4pm. It is best to eat something before attending. Arriving hungry will see you pigging out snacks, thereby ruining your actual braai meal.
    A braai is a social gathering. There’s generally a rugby game – or some sporting event – being watched, too. If not, there is often music blaring in the background. Don’t complain about the noise level. This is an unwinding session, after all.
    If you enjoy the braai masters grills, DON’T ask for a marinade recipe. There are some secrets best left with the owner.
    If you are invited with a partner, arriving with additional guests that haven’t been catered for is rude. Chances are, a second invite won’t be forthcoming thereafter as you would have upset the host.
    The last cardinal rule is you don’t EVER give the braai master tips on how they should braai. It’s the biggest insult and will not be well received. Trust me, the awkwardness will be harder to swallow than the food. If you have a preference as to how you would like your meat cooked, simply let your braai master know and they will oblige.