Wine Maker & Joint Owner
Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek, the vineyard that produces The Wolftrap, Chocolate Block and Porcupine Ridge wines as well as the eponymous Boekenhoutskloof.
This self-confessed braai junkie takes his outdoor cooking very seriously and is a Big Green Egg fan.
When did you first cook on a Big Green Egg?
It was several years ago on a trip to Florida. I’d been hearing a lot of talk about Big Green Eggs there and when I got the chance to cook on one, I was blown away and wanted one for myself. I investigated importing one from the US but it was quite a procedure so I was amazed when I saw one in Luke Dale-Robert’s Test Kitchen in Cape Town. Luke gave me the number of the local dealer and I placed my order immediately.
How often do you cook on your Big Green Egg?
In the summer, I braai three to four times a week and I’m always looking to refine my recipes based on memorable dishes that I’ve eaten around the world. I had some amazing slow-smoked brisket in a restaurant in Toronto where we were showcasing some wines so I badgered the chef till he gave me his brine recipe. Then I came across the perfect smoky barbeque sauce for ribs in the Caribbean, got the recipe and adapted it over time – it has appeared in a cookbook as ‘Kent’s Killa Spicy Smoked BBQ Sauce’ (see recipe below).
Do these dishes turn out the same cooked at home?
They turn out amazing! The brisket needs a really long cooking time, up to 14 hours and the Big Green Egg is the best vehicle for this. In the past, when I’ve tried to make it on other outdoor cookers, I’ve had to return often to re-load fuel and adjust the temperature. With the Egg, I can set the temperature exactly and it will do its thing for hours and hours on a really small amount of charcoal. I get the brisket in first thing in the morning and by the time evening rolls around that meat is just falling off the bone.
What’s the latest thing you’ve cooked?
My most recent experiment has been with steak cooked on a slab of Himalayan rock salt. I got this idea from Steve Maresch at the Local Grill in Parktown. You take a thick slab of rock salt and heat that up in the Egg until it’s really hot and cook your steak directly on the slab, without any seasoning. It is superb! I serve that with my own Béarnaise sauce recipe which consists of egg yolks, 20-year-old Spanish sherry vinegar and fresh tarragon.
Where do you source your meat and ingredients?
Just as great wine-making starts at the soil, great cooking starts with great ingredients. I have a few select butchers who I trust to supply quality, organic grain and grass-fed meat. I purchase spices from all over the world. I also make a lot of my food from scratch, like my Béarnaise recipe – I only use eggs from an organic, free-range local producer as they are superior in taste and colour. Add the Big Green Egg and you have a recipe for success!
What wines are you serving with your Big Green Egg creations?
As a winemaker, I don’t usually drink my own wines, I know how they taste and I’m more interested in what other winemakers are doing. My favourite wines are French reds from the Southern Rhône region but any of Boekenhoutskloof’s reds would work wonderfully with the dishes I’ve mentioned. In fact, we are running a competition at the moment called The Great Steak League with The Wolftrap and Big Green Egg where we invite the public to share their great steak photos and recipes with us. The lucky winners will get an ample supply of wine and a Big Green Egg to cook the perfect steak!
Could the Big Green Egg be improved?
I’ve got an extra-large Big Green Egg which suits most of my needs but it’s just not big enough to roast a whole hog. Luckily, there is an XXL Big Green Egg which is on its way to South Africa. I’ve got my name down to purchase it as soon as it arrives in the country. Then I will have the hog roast to end all hog roasts!
Kent‘s Killa Spicy Smoked BBQ Sauce Recipe
- 20 medium tomatoes (preferably Roma)
- 2 medium onions
- Fresh chillies (to taste)
- 1 cup tomato ketchup
- 1 cup Italian tomato puree
- 1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
- 4 tablespoons aged dark rum or brandy
- Half cup orange juice (optional)
- 4 tablespoons mild molasses
- Half cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons smoked Spanish paprika
- 4 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 8 large cloves garlic, crushed
- Ground chilli (to taste)
- 8 tablespoons of olive oil
- Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Peel onions.
- Place the tomatoes, cut side up on the Big Green Egg at a low temperature, away from direct heat. Add the onions and whole chillies and smoke until the tomatoes are tender.
- Remove the tomatoes and chillies and peel when they are cool enough to handle.
- Roughly chop the onions, tomatoes and chillies.
- Heat 8 tablespoons of oil in a large vessel and add all of the ingredients.
- Stir over a high heat until the ingredients begin to boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for at least two hours, until the sauce thickens.
- Once the sauce has cooled, blend in batches until you have a smooth, thick puree.
- Taste the sauce and add the ground chilli if desired.