Justin Bonello

Cook, traveller and lover of life

Cook, traveller and lover of life

has done the very thing we’ve all dreamed of: taking the things he cares the most deeply about and making his world revolve around them.

One of these things, is, of course, his love for good food cooked over the coals.

You’ve often mentioned your love for braai-ing over an open fire. What have you particularly enjoyed about the Big Green Egg? 

I’m so used to braaing for family and friends over weekends,  that a major plus about the Big Green Egg has to be the consistent heat control. This function gives me more time to put something on the braai that’s guaranteed to turn out delicious with minimum effort from my side. I just put whatever I’m braaiing inside the egg, close her up and walk away until the food is cooked. That way I get to spend more time with my three kids – Dan, Sam and Gabriella. I also love the fact that you still get that umami taste that you get when you braai something on the open fire.

Big Green Egg is a product supplier in this season of Ultimate Braai Master. How do you think the contestants enjoyed cooking on the EGG?

They absolutely loved it! We’ve actually just finished cutting together a promo that features the contestants using the Big Green Egg, and I think the contestants should speak for themselves. Check it out http://vimeo.com/105540648

Between you and good mate, Bertus Basson, who cooks the meanest steak on the EGG?

I could tell a tall tale and say that it’s me, but I could never take anything away from Bertus. He has absolutely mastered the art of the Big Green Egg. In the first episode of this season of Ultimate Braai Master you’ll get to watch Bertus cooking on all three of his Big Green Eggs. At the same time. He’s got it down to a fine art. The meal he prepared that night was easily one of the most delicious meals I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating. So I’ll definitely not try to be in competition with him on this one.

The EGG is known for its versatility. Aside from using it as a “braai”, what else have you cooked in yours?

The other night I actually forgot to switch off the air on my Egg – I cooked on it at lunch time and it was at around nine that night when I remembered, and when I checked the temperature gage, it was still sitting at 180°C. That’s why slow roasts are one of my favourite things to make in the egg…like my Asian-style pork belly which I left to slow roast in the egg for five hours. The crackling was beautiful and the meat was extremely tender. But I also love doing pizzas in the egg – it’s really quick, you get a perfect crispy base and golden cheese on top – great for family nights and so lekker!

Lastly, Braai Day is around the corner. What is your best advice for the most epic braai? 

Yes, Braai Day is around the corner, and while I’m all for getting around a fire with your friends celebrating everything that’s good in life, I also think we’ve lost sight of what it should be about. Many South Africans forget that the 24th of September is also Heritage Day, so I think we all need to turn it down a notch and also remember people who are less fortunate than ourselves. For this reason, I’ve got something else planned this year. I’m going to the Riversdal Braai and Potjie Festival and I’m helping them raise funds for their cause and we’re encouraging all South Africans to absolutely enjoy what we love to do best, but if you’re going to have a braai, try to pay it forward.

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