If you’ve just bought yourself a Ketla JB 3000 Gas Braai, congratulations and welcome to our family! One word of warning (to avoid frustration or being teased by your friends) - make sure to check out how to set it up properly and read all the tips and tricks before you invite them over for a braai! Oh, and if you haven’t bought yourself a Ketla JB 3000 Gas Braai and you are here out of pure curiosity, I can promise you that it will be one of the best braais you will ever own.
Before you get started, and once you’ve assembled your new Ketla JB 3000 Gas Braai, these simple tips and tricks will help make your virgin voyage into the world of gas braaing an absolute blast! Oh, and even though you have the Ketla for all your cooking needs, I still like to make a lekker fire for the kuier for my friends and family to enjoy.
Heat Control: You’ll notice two air vents in top of the Ketla JB 3000 Gas Braai lid. Just like a charcoal kettle braai, these two vents are used to either increase or decrease the heat…but in reverse. When you open the vents it will decrease the temperature of the Ketla, close them up and the heat will increase. Knowing how and when to use the two air vents in conjunction with the two gas burners will give you precise heat control, and we all know heat control is one of the most important factors in mastering any braai.
Two Gas Rings: Ketla has two gas rings – one on the inside and one on the outside, which means heat is distributed evenly and when used in conjunction with the air vents, adds to that all-important heat control perk. To slow-cook something (think leg of lamb or potjies) I use the inner gas ring with both vents open. To caramelise meat and seal in those awesome flavours, I use the outer gas ring on high. Another innovative bonus is the two funnels that prevent fat from clogging the gas rings – so always make sure that they are in and correctly seated. If you don’t use them, the heat distribution and control will go awry and so will your pride and braai master skills.
The Big Smoke: Like most South Africans, my biggest problem with gas braais have always been that you lose that umami taste that’s created when cooking over a traditional wood fire. But with a Ketla, there are six simple ways to put that smoky taste back into your food. Check inside your new Ketla kit. Here you’ll find a stainless steel box, which clips over the inner funnel of the braai. The first way to put the smoke back into your food is by placing a few glowing embers inside the box and then sprinkling pre-soaked wood chips over the hot embers and braaing as you usually would. This method works well for those quick braais (think chops, steaks, burgers and boerewors). If you don’t have a kuier fire on the go, your second option is to put the pre-soaked wood chips or sawdust into the smoking box, clip it over the inner funnel and then crank up the temperature to 250°C (or more). It won’t be long before those soaked chips / sawdust will start to smoulder, releasing that smokiness that we all love. Just a word of warning: remember to lower the temperature by closing either of the two gas burners otherwise you’ll end up with a burnt offering instead of a delicious smoky braaied meal. The third way to smoke it up is by taking the stainless-steel smoking box and placing it directly on the grid at the hotspot (close to the hinge) and use the methods above. The fourth way: If you’ve seen those braai /barbecue planks on the market – buy them, then before you braai / barbecue, break the planks into three pieces, place them on the grid, crank up the temperature to over 250°C , and when they being to smoulder, start cooking. 5th way: I take compressed logs (I do), and in the stainless steel box, light an instant light charcoal tablet, and place a piece of the compressed log on top of the tablet, and watch the fire begin to smoke. Lastly (and one of my favourite ways of adding smokiness) is to light an instant light charcoal tablet in a little metal dish that fits into the drip pan under the Ketla and sprinkle over some wet wood chips, or place a compressed log on top of the tablet and let it begin to smoke. You’ll notice heat rising and cold air being sucked in from the bottom of the Ketla so that the smoke gets drawn up into the kettle and wafts over your meat. The great thing about this method is that it works like a bomb on longer cooking, barbeque-style cuts of meat and the beauty is that you can add more smoke at any time without having to worry about losing heat or having to take the grid off.
The Drip Tray: Normally when cook over an open fire, all that delicious fat drips off the meat and onto the coals and is instantly incinerated, disappearing into a puff of smoke. The thing about this fat that you’re losing is that it’s packed full of flavour – flavour that you’re losing. With the Ketla, nothing is wasted and the fat is collected in the drip tray and can be used to add delicious and complex flavour levels to gravies and sauces or to simply coat roast vegetables or potatoes. The possibilities are endless, so experiment and see what you can use it for. And then share your ideas and recipes on this website!
Check back here soon for more Ketla Gas Braai tips and tricks from Justin!