5 Steps to Yummy Homemade Biltong Using a Dehydrator

I LOVE biltong! There aren’t many people that I have come across that doesn’t like this classic snack. I spent most of my childhood in South Africa and they were everywhere, but when I moved back to London, getting hold of this delicacy was harder than I thought and much more expensive. They often found “jerky” in supermarkets, but not biltong. THIS is completely different to biltong! Jerkies are mostly cut into thin strips with little or not fat, whereas biltong comes from a variety of cuts, are cut thicker and may come with or without fat. So if you have not tried it before, go out and get some! Or even better, read on to discover homemade biltong! It’s super simple and super delicious! I used a dehydrator to make mine because I don’t have a biltong maker, but the end result is amazing. Plus the process is much quicker as well (12-24 hours instead of 4-7 days)! I have this one by Andrew James.

Ingredients that I used:

1kg Silverside Beef (you can use rump or other cuts of red meat, but I usually stick with beef)
Coarse salt
Whole Coriander seeds – 1/2 cup (you may roast them first for more flavour and then crush)
Cracked black pepper – 1/2 cup
Apple cider vinegar 1 cup (you can essentially use any vinegar except balsamic)

Before you begin, remember to clean all your knives, bowls, measuring cups, working surfaces etc with hot water and soap. I wouldn’t want you to catch anything nasty!

1. Prepping the meat

Cut up the meat into 1 inch thick steaks. You can cut them thinner if you like, the thinner they are, the quicker they will take to dry. I like to trim off most of the fat as well, but this is really preference, so cut as much or little as you like off. Remember if you like fat, buy meat with soft fat. Why? because hard fat does not taste good! If you have to cut up your own meat, make sure you cut along the grain and not across. I did mention that you can buy any cut of meat you like and this is true, but I would also avoid marbled meat and cuts that have lots of ligaments.

Sprinkle a generous amount of coarse salt on both sides of your cut, pressing them in so that they do not fall off. Leave this to rest for 1.5 hours (the salt will draw out the moisture in the meat). I advise to tilt the cutting board/plate or whatever you have left your meat on at an angle so that any excess moisture can run off.

salted meat

2. Curing the meat

After 1.5 hours, scrape off as much of the salt as possible, do not wash it off! Then marinate the meat with vinegar for 2-4 minutes.

3. Seasoning

After curing the meat in vinegar, remove and sprinkle the crushed coriander and pepper onto both sides of the meat. You don’t have to use coriander and pepper if you don’t want to, there is an endless combination of spices for you to experiment!

seasoning

4. Dehydrating

Place the meat into the dehydrator. Ensure there is plenty of room between each piece of meat and so not let them touch one another. Set temperature at 65C for 12-24 hours.

drying

biltong
After 12 hours, the meat is slightly pink, but this perfectly fine to eat. I like mine dry so that when you bend the meat, it cracks (but doesn’t break), that’s my perfect texture. Therefore I left mine for 20 hours, then cut them into thin slices and returned them to the dehydrator for a further hour. Depending on your preference, you can test your batch every 2 hours to so, just try not to eat them all before you finish. 🙂

biltong

drying biltong
5. Cutting

A sharp knife is all you need to cut the biltong, they can be quite hard depending on how dry you made them. So if you have one of those fancy biltong hand cutters or meat slicers, this would make the job a lot easier. However, there’s no stopping you eating the biltong in one big chunky piece!

Storage

If you have the willpower to not eat all the biltong within a few hours/days. The best way to store them for longer periods is in the fridge/freezer in an airtight container, especially if you live in a place that is high in humidity. Freezing may change the texture and taste of your biltong depending on how dry it is.

My family loves it and I’m so happy that I can share this with them and now you.

eating biltong
Thanks for reading and let me know how your batch turns out! How long did you keep yours in the dehydrator and did you try other types of seasoning?

Until next time…

Love, MsMamaBean x


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16 comments

  1. mapololo

    I’m not a fan of read meat, but i love biltong, will try make my own someday.

    Reply

  2. Shauna🦄 (@ShaunaEYoung)

    I’m a vegetarian, however I enjoyed reading your process of how you prepare bitlong! Great post

    Reply

  3. tinmccarthy

    My kids love these types of snacks. I would so much rather make them myself then buy.

    #familyfun

    Reply

  4. Amanda Ripsam

    My kids and hubby love jerky I have never made it myself but I bet it is healthier to make then buying store bought

    Reply

    1. MsMamaBean

      And you know exactly what you put into it, how it’s done and can adjust the taste and texture according to your own likes and dislikes.

      Reply

  5. momchakra

    I had never even heard of this dish. In fact, beef is banned in several states of my country. But discovering about this new dish was interesting nonetheless 🙂

    Reply

    1. MsMamaBean

      Oh really? If you can’t or don’t eat beef, you can use other red meat like venison, lamb etc

      Reply

  6. hannah_craving_happy

    I’ve never heard of biltong! I have a dehydrator so I will HAVE to try this!!! Thank you!

    Reply

    1. MsMamaBean

      I hope you love it as much as we do!

      Reply

  7. Pam Avoledo

    Yummy! I should try this sometime!

    Reply

  8. armidasworld

    I have never tried this but it looks delicious and you piqued my curiosity.

    Reply

    1. MsMamaBean

      Give it a go and let me know how you find it.

      Reply

  9. tammymum

    Oh wow I have never heard of this before. I would love to try it! I am not sure I have a dehydrator though? Perhaps I need to find an alternative that I could use. Thank you for sharing it with us at #familyfun

    Reply

  10. Surreymama

    I have to say I have never had this before but it looks delicious. I’ll have to try. #marvmondays

    Reply

  11. SC

    Very cool! I had not heard of biltong, but it sounds delicious. I’m really feeling like I should invest in a dehydrator too – oh the possibilities of things I could make!! 🙂
    Cheers, Sarah Camille // SCsScoop.com

    Reply

  12. debsrandomwritings

    Hi Nita, we love biltong too! My husband is South African and made a biltong dryer so we can make our own. Your post has reminded me that I keep promising to make up a batch of spices so we can make some biltong. Funny that you made it in your dehydrator, I would love a dehydrator in the kitchen, but have recently been considering drying fruit in the biltong maker! I really must give it a go.

    Thank you for linking up with the #MMBC and for sharing your recipe.

    Reply

Let me know what you think!

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