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)
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.
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.
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!
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.
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. 🙂
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!
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.
Until next time…
Love, MsMamaBean x
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