Grilling meat is practically the South African national sport, crossing lines of wealth, geography and even race. Braai means grill in Afrikaans, and some say it’s the only word recognized in all of the country’s 11 official languages. There’s no reason this braai sout, a fragrant dry rub, can’t be used on steaks other than a T-bone. But the T-bone has had special status there since Archbishop Desmond Tutu, as part of a campaign to bring all South Africans together around the braai, pointed out that the shape of that steak mimics the shape of Africa itself. Serve with whole potatoes roasted in the coals, and drink beer or one of South Africa’s excellent wines.


Yield: 4 to 8 servings
  • 4tablespoons coarse salt
  • 2tablespoons white or brown sugar (optional)
  • 2tablespoons coriander seeds
  • 1tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1tablespoon paprika or 2 teaspoons paprika plus 1 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1tablespoon garlic flakes or powder
  • 1tablespoon onion powder
  • 1tablespoon dried thyme
  • 4 to 6T-bone steaks, about 1½ inches thick


  1. Step 1

    Make the braai spice: In a grinder or mortar and pestle, grind all the seasonings and herbs until fine.

  2. Step 2

    Rub steaks with the braai spice and set aside in refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. Bring to room temperature before grilling.

  3. Step 3

    Heat a grill until screaming hot. Place steaks on the grill and cook, turning every 2 minutes or so, until crusty outside and medium-rare inside, 120 to 125 degrees. Let rest 10 minutes and slice across the grain for serving.


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