Categories: Recipes

A veld braai for one

While there is only one human activity more social than eating together, solo meals are part and parcel of the…


To make a magnificent t-bone steak for one, you will need:
One t-bone steak (with a bit of fat)
Freshly ground black pepper

This is the shortest ingredient list in the long history of this column.

While there is only one human activity more social than eating together, solo meals are part and parcel of the veld experience. Whether camping, hunting or fishing a person needs the pleasure of a good meal, easy to cook and a joy to eat.  Since our ancestors made their way out of the Sterkfontein Caves a nice piece of well-trimmed mammal grilled over a fire has been, and continues to be, the only way to go.

The big deal here is the careful limitation of the fat load. Not all of it is removed since part of this cooking procedure demands it. As sodium is a very good chemical to limit, I prefer to leave my meat unsalted. All I use is a liberal application of coarse black pepper, freshly ground.

This brings us to the fire. You can make a traditional three-stone hearth, using branches you forage yourself and taking care to prevent a veld fire. Alternatively you can do as I did and make use of the brilliant, expensive but unequalled technology of the multi-fueled MSR Dragonfly (and no, this isn’t an advertisement). I own and paid for this beast myself. Rumour has it that the design is US Army military spec, which may explain the multi-fuel capacity. I have tried it on Jet A1 which produced one hell of a lot of soot. I now stick to benzene, which burns almost as clean as gas.

Operating the stove requires a full understanding of the owner’s manual, otherwise you get a pillar of flame second only to the dramatic effects mentioned in Exodus. But what you do get as a veld cook is brilliant high heat unaffected by altitude and a highly variable throttle which winds all the way down to the slowest slow simmer.

OK. Enough with the technology. Time to eat. Set up your heat source of choice and place a simple frying pan over the flame. Let it heat up for three or four minutes then hold the lightly peppered steak vertically in the pan, fat strip down. A few minutes of this will render the fat, producing a useful lubricant for the rest of the braai procedure.  This uncivilized caveman likes his meat very, very rare. Normal diners should grill the steak for two to three minutes per side, turning it once. Don’t pierce the meat with a fork; rather use the fork or knife as a lever to flip the meat over.

If by chance you happen to find a tomato in your backpack, cut it in half and grill it cut-side-down in the juices left. A tiny pinch of brown sugar in the middle of each hemisphere cuts the acidity without overtly sweetening the tomato. This is pretty damn straightforward.  But cooking can be real simple. All it takes is good planning and the very best raw ingredients. – David Basckin

Published by
Caxton Magazines
Tags: black pepperbraaihigh heatt-bone steakveld

Recent Posts

Agri interventions key to Ramaphosa’s economic stimulus package

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government has reprioritised funding towards an economic stimulus package that would focus on agriculture, among…

12 hours ago

Biosecurity: your first line of defence against disease

Dr Fambies van Biljon, veterinarian at Sovereign Foods, talks to Glenneis Kriel about the crucial need to establish a well-run…

15 hours ago

Local manufacturers seen at Royal Show

Every year, the Royal Show features exhibitors and agricultural equipment quite different from those at Nampo. The Royal Show is…

1 day ago

Free State fires claim first fatality

Fire officials in the Free State expressed hope that the forecast of rain for the weekend could bring some relief…

1 day ago

Making the most of calcium as a soil and plant nutrient

Despite being a vitally important element for optimal crop production, calcium is often largely undervalued by farmers and agronomists. Plant…

2 days ago

Omnia to pay R30 million fine for collusion

Following an almost 15 year legal battle between Omnia Fertilizer and South Africa’s Competition Commission (CompCom), the fertiliser company has…

3 days ago

This website uses cookies.