South Africa’s Favourite Snack

Biltong

What is Biltong

Biltong can also be gluten-free, sugar-free with NO e numbers and packs a wallop in protein levels!

It was a typical question people asked a few years back.

“It is a simple, but wonderful food.” It is dried beef, flavoured with salt, herbs and spices.

History

The word originates from two Dutch words meaning “bil” ‘which is the buttock of the animal’ and “tong” ‘which is a strip of meat.’

It originated from South Africa, but it is now produced and sold in many countries around the world.

The meat to use is Silverside of beef carefully cut into strips and air-dried in a dryer.

Other meats can be used, such as fish, chicken, wildebeest, kudu, and ostrich, but we recommend using young beef as the meat is more tender and easier to eat.

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Do not use pork as it is not suitable for air drying.

It can be made here in the UK. For the best South African recipes, use the most excellent prime beef from local, closed-herd, grass-fed cattle, flavours include Original, Chilli, Chutney, Peri-Peri and Garlic.

You can find the best recipe in our recipe section.

Facts

Other versions come in Halal and Venison, Gluten Free and sugar-free.

Many diets recommend it. Sports people use it for its protein value. Not only that, there are some fantastic nutritional results too.

Sports centres, athletes and gym goers use it, including some high-profile bodybuilders.

History

It can be traced back to prehistoric times as humans learnt to domesticate animals such as Cows, Sheep and Horses, our ancestors evolved, and they learnt new survival techniques, preservation was a valuable skill.

They learnt to preserve fruit and vegetables and dried meat as it was an essential part of the of the daily routine.

When Dutch settlers arrived in South Africa, the hot climate made it essential to find a way to store meat without it spoiling.

The resourceful ‘Voortrekkers’ had to find another solution.

The Dutch experimented with flavours and added spices. It was found by adding salt and spices and hanging it out to dry. Soon it became hard on the outside while capturing rich flavour on the inside, allowing it to be stored for a long time.

The curing process allowed the South African dried meat to become an essential way of storing food until it was needed.

They experimented and dried sausages and found comparable results, and this created DroeWors another South African food sensation.

How Do You Make It?

You can make it at home, using a recipe with pre-made spices allows you to make it quickly. It takes four days drying time before it is ready. You can make it suit your taste, your options are wet, medium or dry, some fat or no fat.

Most ‘red-blooded’ South Africans eat it wet with some fat.

Is It Good for You

It is healthy as it is air dried, it also contains less fat and contains much protein, you can eat it when you diet too, as long as you don’t overeat!

Testing

You can check to see if its ready by pressing on the surface with your forefinger. When it feels firm on the outside but slightly soft on the inside, then it is ‘medium’.

Press the on the surface, and it feels slightly moist, then it is ‘wet’.

A hard press on the outside and it comes back firm means it is ‘dry’.

Dry wors / droewors and boerewors are another South African treat made from beef/pork.

You can slice it to your required thickness and enjoy it.

About Gareth 17 Articles
I am a keen biltong enthusiast, I like to keep to the traditions that I learnt when I grew up in South Arica. Please feel free to comment on our recipes and join in with ideas.

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