Southern Africa is the birthplace of biltong, which is a kind of dried and cured beef product. Some people prefer to refer to biltong as South African beef jerky, but in reality, biltong is far more flavorful and satisfying than beef jerky.
Dutch pioneers in South Africa came up with the idea of biltong because they required a portable and consistent source of nourishment for their long trips throughout the nation. Since that time, there has not been a significant departure from the traditional way of making biltong.
However, there are a few modifications, such as “Piri-Piri” biltong and the use of extra ingredients, such as Worcestershire sauce and dried chiles, so do not be afraid to experiment with this recipe!
Is it Tough to Follow This Recipe?
It’s not as difficult to make biltong as you may think. It’s possible that different recipes may lead you astray. There are even some of them that ask for washing the spices, which is something that should not be done at all.
Why would you want to wash the biltong and get rid of all of those lovely flavors? People often do this because they salt the biltong to an excessive degree, and although an excessive amount of salt might induce a burning feeling, the simple answer is to just use less salt.
Because salt is such a great taste enhancer and also helps cure the meat, it is imperative that you use it in this recipe; however, you should be careful not to use too much of it. In any case, you will also be using vinegar to assist in curing the meat.
What Is The Ideal Temperature For The Drying Process Of Biltong?
Because it is meat that has been dried, biltong requires that the moisture be extracted from the flesh before it can be consumed. A healthy amount of airflow in conjunction with the ideal temperature is essential to producing high-quality biltong.
In terms of the ideal temperature, heat is not required for the preparation of biltong. To properly store it, all you need is a location that is dry, not too humid and has enough ventilation. I would recommend purchasing a dehumidifier for the room in which you will be keeping your meat if you reside in a region that has high relative humidity.
The exquisite bresaola that the Italians manufacture is produced in frigid temperatures, which serves as an excellent illustration of this point. The heat does not contribute in any way to the taste of the biltong and has nothing to do with it.
If you want your biltong to turn out perfectly, you need to make sure there is enough air circulation and stay away from any areas that are damp.
How Should Biltong Be Dried?
In order to make this biltong, I hung it up in a shed while leaving the windows cracked. I just hung the piece of meat near the window that was cracked open just a crack, where there was a nice flow of air, and that was all.
In addition, there are biltong drying boxes that are simple to manufacture, and you can search the internet for do-it-yourself guides or even purchase one for a very low price.
One of the ways that biltong may be dried is as described here. The second approach does not require baking and does entail using an oven. The first approach is used if you have larger cuts of meat, and the time commitment for this procedure is typically seven days.
The oven technique is great for drying smaller and more delicate pieces of meat, and it only takes three days to complete the process. This method is ideal for making biltong.
All that is required of you is an oven light, which will determine the precise temperature and a door that is cracked just slightly, which will allow for air circulation.
If you are drying your biltong in the oven, you have the option of either hanging it on a wire rack using metal hooks or simply tying it with kitchen twine and laying it out on the bare rack.
Picking Out The Cut Of Meat
When selecting meat, it is important to go for cuts that do not include any tendons. The tendons will ultimately have a chewy texture to them. If you are considering whether to buy a product with fat or one without fat, the decision is entirely up to your own preferences.
There is absolutely no problem with eating meat that is very lean or meat that has some fatty portions.
The following cuts of beef are some of the most common ones used to make biltong:
You may also use venison for the beef in this recipe. I have also come across recipes that call for pig and lamb, but I have not attempted any of them yet. If any of you have tried it, please share your thoughts on the flavor of that specific biltong with me.
What exactly are the components?
Every person who makes biltong has their own individual taste for the spice mixture. However, in the case of biltong, more does not always imply better. I like to use traditional spices wherever possible. Salt, pepper, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and ground coriander are all examples of these.
There is the option to include some brown sugar in the recipe, although doing so is not required. If you believe you should stay away from coriander, I strongly encourage you not to. The coriander is the most important component for imparting flavor to the biltong.
Coriander, either untoasted or toasted, may be used to make this biltong. The oils in coriander are released when it is toasted. This accomplishes two goals at once: it enhances the taste of the food and it prevents the development of germs.
Coriander may be used on biltong in a number of different ways, including being finely powdered, lightly crushed, or turned into a fine paste.
Figuring Out Which Vinegar to Use
Because I already had it on hand, I decided to use red wine vinegar in my biltong recipe. Brown vinegar is what most people use, but other types of vinegar, such as balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, or even apple cider vinegar, can do just as well.
Because of its flavour, alcohol vinegar is not one of my recommendations, but any of the others should work just well.
Could I Make Do Without The Brown Sugar?
Yes, since there is no requirement for it. During the drying process, the biltong will acquire a delicious taste on its own; but, if you want to add a little more depth to the flavor, you may add brown sugar.
Although it is not a traditionally used ingredient, brown sugar provides an excellent counterpoint to the salinity of the dish. However, you should make sure that you are not utilizing an excessive amount of sugar, since this will bring you perilously near to the area of beef jerky.
How to Handle Problems Caused by Mold
If at any point throughout the procedure you see any mold, you may take a cloth that has been soaked in vinegar and simply dab or wipe the mold away. Make sure that you get rid of everything, or else it will come back.
How To Keep Your Biltong In Storage
If you wish to store biltong in the refrigerator, you should make sure to wrap it in many paper bags first and then place it in the refrigerator. Storing biltong in a well-ventilated area is the preferred method, but you may also choose to store it in other locations.
A Recipe for Beef Biltong
Time required for preparation: 5-7 days
- 4 pounds of meat, cut of your choice
- 5 tablespoons of cider vinegar, brown vinegar, or red wine vinegar, whatever you like.
- Worcestershire sauce to taste, four tablespoons
- 2 ½ tbsp coarse salt
- 2 tsp black pepper, ground
- 2 tablespoons of ground coriander
- 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, as an alternative
- You may either lightly roast the coriander seeds or just smash them in their natural state.
- Combine the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a basin or a baking dish and set aside.
- Liberally coat the meat with the spice mixture, then transfer it to the basin containing the vinegar.
- Allow the meat to cure for twenty-four hours, turning it regularly and massaging it with your hands.
- Either insert a hook into the meat or drill a hole in it and then use kitchen twine to form a loop.
- Put the meat in a biltong box or simply a room with good ventilation and let it to dry out.
- The drying process takes between 5 and 7 days. The texture of properly dried meat will be firm.
- Prepare according to your taste.