A type of dried and cured beef with Southern African roots called biltong. Some people prefer to refer to biltong as South African beef jerky, but biltong is much better. Dutch settlers in South Africa who were making their way across the continent needed dependable food supplies, so they invented biltong. Since then, little has changed in terms of how biltong is made. Don’t be afraid to play with with this recipe though—there are a few variations, such “Piri-Piri” biltong and the addition of extra ingredients like Worcestershire sauce and dried chiles!
Is This Recipe Hard?
Making biltong is simpler than you would think. Different recipes may be deceptive. Some even recommend washing the spices, which is entirely unnecessary. Why wash the biltong and ruin its delicious flavors? Most people do this because they over-salt their biltong, and too much salt can induce a burning feeling, but the simple cure is to use less salt. The salt adds taste and helps cure the meat, so it should definitely be added; just don’t use too much. You’ll be using vinegar anyhow to help cure the beef.
What Is The Perfect Drying Temperature For Biltong?
Since biltong is dried meat, the moisture from the flesh must be taken out during the drying process. Successful biltong requires the correct temperature in addition to excellent airflow. Speaking of the ideal temperature, biltong does not require heat. All you require is a cold, dry, well-ventilated location to store it. I advise purchasing a dehumidifier for the room where you’ll be storing your meat if you reside in a humid environment.
The exquisite Bresaola that the Italians prepare in the chilly weather is a good illustration of this. The flavor of biltong is not enhanced by the heat, and it has nothing to do with it. If you can avoid humid areas, good air circulation will perfectly dry out your biltong.
How To Dry Biltong?
This biltong was created by hanging it in a shed with the windows open. I simply hung the meat near a slightly opened window with sufficient airflow, and that was all. Biltong drying boxes are also simple to create, and you can find DIY methods online or even buy one for a very low price. This is one method of drying biltong. The second approach uses an oven but does not entail baking. The first method is employed when the flesh is thicker, and it typically takes seven days.
The oven method is best for smaller and thinner chunks of beef, and it may dry the biltong in three days. All you need is an oven light to set the temperature and a slightly opened door to allow for air circulation. If drying in the oven, you can also hang your biltong with metal hooks on a wire rack, or just tie it with kitchen twine and lay it on the bare rack.
Choosing The Meat
When purchasing beef, look for cuts that are free of tendons. The tendons will become chewy as a result. If you are debating whether to eat fat or not, it is entirely up to you. There’s nothing wrong with lean meat or meat with a few fatty parts.
Here are some of the most popular biltong meat cuts:
You can substitute venison for the beef. I’ve discovered recipes for pig and lamb as well, but I haven’t tried them yet. If any of you have tried it, please let me know how it tastes!
What Are The ingredients?
Every biltong maker has a preferred spice blend. But more is not necessarily better when it comes to biltong. I prefer to use traditional seasonings. These include coriander, salt, pepper, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce. Brown sugar is optional but you are welcome to add some. Please don’t avoid coriander if you feel you should. The primary flavoring for biltong is coriander. You can use either plain or roasted coriander for this biltong. Coriander’s oils are released during toasting. This has two advantages: it enhances flavor and inhibits the growth of microorganisms. The coriander can be gently crushed or ground into a fine powder and added to biltong that way.
Choosing The Vinegar
Because I had red wine vinegar on hand, I used it in my biltong recipe. Traditionally, brown vinegar is used, although red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar would suffice. Because of the taste, I do not recommend alcohol vinegar, but all of the others will function perfectly.
Can I Skip The Brown Sugar?
Yes, because it is not required. During the drying process, the biltong will acquire a fantastic flavor, but if you want to add a little more depth, you can add brown sugar. Although brown sugar is an unconventional component, it effectively counteracts the salty. You will be dangerously close to beef jerky zone, so be careful not to use too much sugar.
How To Deal With Mold
If you find any mold during the process, simply dab or wipe it away with a towel soaked in vinegar. If you don’t erase everything, it will resurface.
How To Store Biltong
Biltong should ideally be kept in a well-ventilated area, but if you must store it in the refrigerator, be sure to wrap it in a few paper bags first.
4 pound preferred cut beef
5 tablespoons of red wine vinegar, brown vinegar, or cider vinegar
4 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 12 teaspoon coarse salt
2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon brown sugar (optional)
1. You can either roast the coriander seeds or use them untoasted and crushed.
2. Combine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a basin or baking dish.
3. After seasoning the meat, put it in the basin with the vinegar.
4. Cure the meat for 24 hours, occasionally rotating and massaging it.
5. Attach a hook to the meat, or poke a hole and loop some kitchen string through it.
6. Either in a biltong box or just in a room with good ventilation, dry the meat.
7. It takes 5-7 days to dry. Firmness is a sign of well-dried meat.
8. Serve as desired