If someone offered you a dried, cured piece of beef, you might not accept the offer. But if they told you it was biltong, you might be more enthusiastic…maybe!
In our house, biltong is a sure-fire hit.
It’s widely available, but for what it is, I sometimes think it can be overpriced.
Last year, we went to South Africa, the home of biltong. It is everywhere and much more tasty than the vac-packed biltong I’ve tasted in the UK.
Once a year we make a batch of biltong from our own home-grown beef and always say we should do it more often.
Our cattle are grass-fed and you really can taste that in the meat.
So today we began the biltong process, it’s pretty easy, here’s what we used and how we did it:
- Ingredients. The most common are; a form of meat, black pepper, coriander, salt and vinegar. We use all of these plus chilli flakes
- We always use beef cuts taken from the hip such as topside or silverside and cut it into fairly thick slices. We tend to remove much of the fat to make it as lean as possible (the dogs then get a treat too!)
- After briefly marinating the beef in vinegar the meat is then covered in the salt and spices
- It is then left for a while to remove any excess liquid and then hung in a dryer – we have one which was bought from South Africa decades ago
- The meat will now be left in the traditional slow dryer for about three or four days depending on how wet or dry we want the finished biltong to be
- We tend to make a bit of both, the wet biltong will still be pink in the middle while the dry version is dried throughout and a bit tougher
So, as I type this the strips of beef are drying out and the smell is just beginning to permeate into the kitchen…watch this space to see how it turns out!