The benefits of biltong
- Biltong can be used as a dry meat snack. It’s high in protein, low in carbs and is suitable for many diets.
- Biltong is so popular partly due to its much more favourable nutrient composition compared to many other common snack foods, such as potato chips, cookies, and crackers.
- Beef contains more micronutrients, kilogram for kilogram than most other meats.
- These nutrients build muscle, repair tissue, boost immunity, and promote brain and body functions.
- Biltong is an excellent source of protein and nine essential amino acids.
- Dried beef also serves as a good source of several other essential nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins
The best meat for biltong
Every biltong lover has their own preference for meat, whether it is based on taste or a specific diet. The most common type of meat is beef or grass fed beef, we think that silverside makes for very tasty biltong. The amount of fat also has an impact on the taste and flavour of this popular South African food. Sadly it is very difficult to find meat with a good piece of fat on it here in the UK. Here is a list of other meats that are also used to make biltong or dry wors.
- Game meat
Once you have decided on what meat you are going to use then you will need to decide on a biltong recipe.
Most of the recipes will have the same ingredients such as vinegar, roasted coriander seed, salt and black pepper. I like to use Himalayan salt and also try and keep my salt to about 1.5% of the total weight of my unprocessed meat and fat.
If you like it to taste spicy and hot then you can add some bird eye chillies, or if you like it to taste sweet, then add some brown sugar.
You can also swap out the vinegar for Worcestershire sauce or use red wine vinegar or even try cider vinegar.
Be careful when you roast your coriander, because if you roast it over a to high heat and burn it, then the coriander will give your biltong a bitter taste.
Drying your biltong
You are going to need a biltong maker or biltong machine to dry your biltong. The duration of drying meat will depend on the type of meat and the weather in your area.
If you like wet biltong or you have used thin meat strips then you can look at about 2 days and it should not hang longer than 5 days.
Lean meat or venison will dry quicker than meat with a bit of fat on it.
Preparing your biltong
- Cut your meat into strips and cure it using vinegar. You can use malt vinegar, red wine vinegar, cider vinegar or Worcestershire sauce that contains vinegar. To cure your meat place the meat strips in a container and let it soak in the vinegar for at least 2 hours.
- Get your spice mix ready and add some brown sugar if you like it sweet. Take out your meat and dust it on both sides with your sugar and spice mix.
- Hang it in your biltong box and leave it to dry.
- You will notice that your meat starts to shrink and the texture will change to a smooth lovely glossy black colour.
- To see if your biltong is ready, take a piece cut it and taste it. If it is not dry enough to your liking, hang it for a while longer.
Storing your biltong
The shelf life on biltong is very long. the spices like salt, sugar, and vinegar allow you to store it safely for a long time.
If you have made a lot of biltong then you can wrap your biltong in paper towels, vacuum seal it and freeze it. When you want to eat take it out of the freezer and defrost it.
Don’t store your biltong in an area that is warm and humid where it cannot breathe. It will become mouldy.
Biltong is the perfect snack, it is easy to transport, very healthy and there is almost no mess when you eat it.
The difference between biltong and jerky
Like beef biltong, beef jerky is also spiced but dried over low heat instead of air-dried. You can also marinate the beef jerky or smoke it over low heat while drying to give it a really lovely taste.
There is a noticeable difference in the texture of the dried jerky meat because of the difference in the drying process, compared to beef biltong.
Unlike beef jerky that is heated to help it dry, our delicious biltong, which is air-dried retains most of its proteins, vitamins, and minerals.
Here is the link to the biltong maker I am using and you can buy it on amazon or if you like you can build your own biltong maker
Here is the link to the Crown National Safari Biltong Spice 1kg and you can buy it on amazon
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