Smoke and the smell of seared meat wafted across Cape Town’s upmarket V&A Waterfront on Thursday and Friday as endurance braaier Jan Scannel attempted to break the Guinness World Record for the longest braai ever.
Scannel’s attempt, which fired off at 9am on Thursday, and finished successfully on Friday afternoon, was part of Braai4Heritage, an initiative dreamt up by Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to unite South Africans on Heritage Day.
Twirling his tongs and coaxing his coals, Scammel aimed to continuously braai about 300kg of meat for over 30 hours in order to break the existing record set in Germany in June this year of 28 hours and 26 minutes.
He didn’t quite 30 hours, but he beat the record by four minutes, braaiing continually for 28 hours and 30 minutes.
The 29-year-old Capetonian said braaiing was one activity that all South Africans were passionate about so it was “only right” that we should own the official world record.
Guinness World Record adjudicator Tarika Vara, who was keeping a close eye on activities, said in order to break the record Scannell would have to adhere to strict braaing rules as set out by the official Guinness World Record Association.
She said Scannell must ensure that a minimum of five different kinds of meat were on the braai at all times, he was not allowed to be helped – excepting for moral support – and all items had to be consumed after being braaied.
The meat Scammel had on his grid was boerewors, lamb chops, steak, chicken ribs and vegetarian burger patties. Scannel was modest about his efforts. “It is not my record but that of South Africans. Like any other South African, braaiing is in my blood.”
He said he had attempted to break the record to show the World that “this is how things are being done in South Africa. My whole life has been associated with fires and braaing.
“It’s fun and we all like it”.
He said his dream is to see South Africans one day “standing around their fires every year on Heritage Day braaing non-stop”.
The Braai4Heritage event was sponsored by Freddy Hirsch, Klipdrift, Cadac, Castle and Fry’s.