The great South African built-in braai
South Africans love a braai and socializing with friends and loved ones. Having a built-in braai makes this an easy task.
Fortunately, in South Africa, there is an abundance of built-in braai’s available.
If you are considering adding a built-in braai to your home there are a couple of things to look out for.
Planning your built-in braai
1: Decide where the built-in braai is going to be. This is an important decision as it could be either indoors or outdoors.
2: Determine how much space is available for the braai, space for preparing your meals and seating for your guests.
3: Work out the height of the base of the braai. The base should be loadbearing and level and not too low; approximately 750mm – 950mm from the floor.
4: Add a wood-log storage area this can be underneath the base or along the side in a separately built cavity.
5: Depending on available space add storage for utensils and other items close by.
Building your braai
If you haven’t built in a braai previously it is wise to have a professional do it. Things to consider:
1: Solid support brickwork.
2: The height of the chimney stack – the minimum would be 3,5meters to extract the smoke properly.
3: The inside measurements of the chimney cavity should ideally be similar to that of the built-in braai flue opening.
4: Insulation from other flammable materials such as wood-log storage.
5: Allow for expansion gaps between the brickwork and the built-in braai.
6: Install a cowl to prevent rain from entering the chimney stack and damaging your braai.
7: Rotating cowls work best for windy areas and prevent down-draughts on windy days.
8: Waterproofing around the chimney stack flashing.
9: Protecting you braai from harsh elements such as wind and rain.
Given these points, once your built-in braai is completed and you experience smoke coming out from the front of the braai have a look on the inside of the chimney to ensure there are no obstructions.
Furthermore, start burning in your new built-in fireplace by building a small fire and burning it slowly for an extended period of time. This will help the built-in braai settle or cure and burn away any factory remains that might still be on the braai structure.