Biltong – It’s just another Jerky – right?
I recently made the mistake of suggesting to my South African buddy that Biltong was just another way to make beef Jerky.
After being cursed in a tongue I didn’t recognize for weeks, he eventually educated me in the finer details of meat preservation – South African Style.
Whilst the drying process is pretty similar, the taste and texture are worlds apart.
The meat is prepared for drying by marinating in vinegar and then spiced up using crushed roasted spice.
The meat is kept pretty steak sized, rather than slicing into thin strips like we do jerky.
That’s done later when it’s cured and dried.
Here’s a Biltong recipe similar to what I’ve done, from Mark at Self Sufficient Me
Rump steak – 2kgs (or about 4 pounds);
Whole coriander – ¾ cup;
Rock salt – 1 x cup;
Cracked pepper – ½ cup (ground but large grains)
Apple cider vinegar – 3 x cups
Step 1 Salting
Sprinkle coarse salt over the steaks and turn them over and do the other side too.
This starts the curing process by drawing out moisture from the meat.
Step 2 Grinding The Coriander Seeds
Roast them first to bring out the flavor then going up in a food processor until broken up.
Step 3 – Marinade in the Vinegar For A Short While
Scrape off the salt before submerging the steaks in vinegar for about 5 mins. We’ve used malt vinegar but here apple cider vinegar is Marks taste.
Step 4 – Spice Up
Liberally coat the meat with cracked pepper and the crushed up Coriander seeds, Pat the mixture so the whole stack is covered in the mix.
Step 5 – Drying
Via Self Sufficient Me
My friend uses a biltong cabinet rather than a dehydrator although you could use one.
He reckons its best to hang the meat rather than lay it flat, you get more of the drying air circulating that way he says.
Either way, the meat takes a lot longer than we’re used to with the jerky process due to the meat thickness and the lower drying temperatures.
Step 6 – Storage
Via Self Sufficient Me
You can store biltong in a cool place like a pantry if you wrap it up well in greaseproof paper and store in airtight containers. It should keep for several months kept this way but if you live somewhere humid, then maybe best to keep long term in the fridge.