Tips for cooking Boerewors

Written by todd whitesel
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Tips for cooking Boerewors
cooking traditional South African Boerewors. (Getty Thinkstock)

Boerewors is a traditional South African sausage made with beef or beef and pork, and flavoured with spices including allspice, coriander, cloves, nutmeg and black pepper. "Boerewors" means farmer's sausage in the Afrikaans language. The spiced meat mixture is stuffed inside sausage casing and formed into long coils that are frequently cooked over coals on outdoor grills called "braais." Boerewors can also be pan-fried or roasted in the oven.

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Moderate heat

The key to juicy and flavourful grilled or fried boerewors is cooking the sausage using low to medium heat and turning frequently. Overcooking leads to dry boerewors, while high heat can scorch the outer casing. Cooking over moderate heat helps ensure the inside and outside of the sausage are cooked evenly and are done at the same time.

Retain coiled shape

It's easier to cook and handle boerewors if the meat is allowed to remain in a coil shape. Use tongs to turn and flip the boerewors easily. Be careful not to pierce the casing, however, as hot fat can spill out and cause flare-ups and charred spots. Another benefit of the coil is that the length of casing stays in contact and helps retain the natural juices of the meat mixture.

Cook Just Until Done, Rest Briefly

Boerewors is done when the outside casing is golden brown on both sides, which typically requires about 20 minutes total grilling time over coals. Remove the sausage and let it rest for a minute or two--the latent heat will continue to "cook" the meat mixture.


After grilling, pan-frying is the most popular method for cooking boerewors. In a large skillet put enough water to cover the sausage and cook over medium heat for 30 to 40 minutes. Turn the boerewors occasionally and finish by browning lightly in the skillet after the liquid has evaporated. You can also pan-fry boerewors directly in a few tablespoons of vegetable oil and cook it over low heat for approximately 10 minutes per side.

Oven Roasting

Another flavourful and simple way to prepare boerewors is roasting in the oven. Heat the oven to 175 degrees C (350F), lightly coat the sausage with vegetable or olive oil and place in a baking dish large enough to accommodate the boerewors' expansion as it cooks. Cook for approximately 10 minutes, then flip the boerewors over and cook 10 minutes more. Test for doneness and cook an additional 2 to 5 minutes per side as necessary.

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