If you have never eaten the South African Biltong, you are probably not living on planet earth.
But even if you’ve never tasted it, you must have heard of it. You haven’t? Well then, before we get to the Biltong recipe, let me tell you what it is.
Biltong is a special kind of meat prepared in South Africa. This mouth-watering specialty is mostly made by curing and drying beef. Some go for ostrich Biltong and others prefer fish Biltong. No matter what Biltong one prefers, Biltong is always as good as itself.
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Surviving centuries, Biltong has built for itself a faithful ‘followership’ in South Africa and even beyond. Some people have compared Biltong to American beef jerky. I can assure you however, that they are not the same. Well, they are both dried beef, but one is still jerky while the other is Biltong.
This South African beauty keeps visitors to the country asking for more, and missing it even before they leave. One good thing with it is that it can last for a long time, so it is easy to save plenty for when you leave. But better yet is learning how to make it for yourself.
The South African classic can be made from different kinds of meat or fish. There are those that prefer their Biltong lean and dry and those that prefer it fat and not completely dry. However you may wish to have yours, the Biltong recipe is always the same. While there are those that have altered the recipe for the sake of being adventurous in the kitchen, the traditional recipe still survives.
Ingredients For Bitlong
- Fine salt
- Brown sugar
- Coarsely grounded coriander (roasted seed)
- Red wine vinegar
- Grounded black pepper
- Bicarbonate soda
Note: Using the ingredients in the right proportion is key.
With Biltong, the meat is not cooked, rather it undergoes a curing process. In the process of curing, instead of using metal bowls, ceramic or plastic is more ideal.
- The first thing to do is to slice the beef or the meat you prefer to use in the way you want. Ensure not to cut it too big or too fat as this may affect the drying process. The best cuttings are not too lean either.
- Mix your fine salt, brown sugar, grounded coriander, and black pepper in a single clean bowl. To do this, ensure that you put the salt according to taste preference because wrongly put salt can spoil a good Biltong.
- Rub vinegar on meat. The vinegar is important as it helps in the curing process, as well as in taking out any bacteria from the meat.
- Roll meat in the mixture of dry ingredients (salt, sugar, coriander and pepper). You can leave meat in this mixture for between 3 to 12 hours.
- Again rub some more vinegar on meat. This is to get off any salt that may have stuck on the meat.
- Once this is done, it is time to allow Biltong to dry. The best way to have it dry is to hang on a hook where cooling fan can blow, or where it can get fresh air.
- Allow meat to dry, then it is time to enjoy the South African special.
Other Biltong recipes can have garlic, ginger, or other herbs added. Chilli powder is one thing very popular in some recipes.
Storing Biltong for a week or more is possible if kept in a dried and cool temperature. Also, how dried the Biltong is, can affect how long it stays. However, if you want it to last for close to a year or even up to, you can have it sealed in a container or frozen.
Best Places That Serve Biltong in South Africa
If you are in South Africa and you are wondering where you can find the South African made Biltong, you can check these places out:
If you are in Durban, Billy’s Biltong is definitely the place. In shop 13 Southway Mall, 27 Titren Road, Rossburgh, you can get the Bitlong you will never forget in a hurry.
In the city of Johannesburg, however, The Bull Run is one place to get very good Biltong. The Bull Run is opposite the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, at Number 20 Maude Street, Sandton, Johannesburg.
In Cape Town, you can get Biltong at Cape Town Halal Biltong. It is at Number 7 Heerlik Rd, Kensington, Cape Town. Cape Town Halal Biltong supplies some of the best Biltong in Cape Town.