What is Biltong?

In a few words, Biltong and all the similar products are a spiced and air dried beef snack. Traditionally biltong was an African product and now is becoming available worldwide with more and more people making it in their DIY boxes, as well as new business being started up. Biltong is strips of meat (like silverside) cut into steaks, then a bit of vinegar and or Worcester sauce is usually sprinkled on it prior to adding dry spices – salt, pepper, coriander to name a few. Then it is left to marinate in it own juices for several hours before being hung in dryers and air dried for 4-7 days till the required cure is achieved. Droëwors, which is dried minced beef thin sausage uses the same air drying format but a different spice mix. We have tied to get an authentic Southern African flavour and taste to all our products and our customers have proved that we have perfected that time and time again. We use 100% British Beef in all our biltong and droëwors products.

There are many Southern Africans living in here in the UK now and Biltong and Droëwors is getting ever so popular and judging by its booming popularity, the British can’t get enough of it. We are always looking for distributors within the UK to distribute our products and for Pubs & Clubs to stock it as pub and health snacks.


BILTONG
 is often wrongly called JERKY.. Both biltong and jerky were created for the same reasons, to preserve excesses of meat and as protein for long journeys. Biltong is similar to beef jerky in that they are both spiced, dried meats. The typical ingredients, taste and production processes differ, the main difference being that biltong is dried and subsequently sliced whereas jerky is sliced prior to drying.

Biltong differs from Jerky in three distinct ways:

  • The meat used in biltong can be much thicker; typically biltong meat is cut in steaks approx 1″ (25 mm) thick. Jerky is normally very thin slivers of meat and is a dehydrated meat dried in a dehydrator or oven and flavoured with sugar based sauces and marinades.  Biltong on the other hand is air dried for a minimum of 3-5 days and always starts with a full cut of steak which encourages an aging process that gives the meat its unique flavour. In contrast that to jerky, where the dehydration process lasts anywhere from 2 to 8 hours. One of the benefits of air drying biltong and the simple use of spices is that biltong retains more protein and contains less salt.
  • The vinegar, salt and spices in biltong, together with the drying process, cure the meat as well as adding texture and flavour. Jerky is traditionally dried with salt but without vinegar.
  • Jerky is often smoked; biltong is never smoked

 

The History of Biltong…

The word biltong is from the Dutch bil (“rump”) and tong (“strip” or “tongue”)

Indigenous peoples of Southern Africa, such as the Khoikhoi, preserved meat by slicing it into strips, curing it with salt, and hanging it up to dry. After European settlers (Dutch, German, French) arrived in southern Africa in the early 17th century, they changed the curing process by using vinegar, saltpetre and spices including pepper, coriander and cloves.

The need for preservation in the new colony was pressing. Building up herds of livestock took a long time but with indigenous game in abundance, traditional methods were available to preserve large masses of meat such as found in the eland in a hot climate. Iceboxes and refrigerators had not been invented yet. Biltong as it is today evolved from the dried meat carried by the wagon-travelling Voortrekkers, who needed stocks of durable food as they migrated from the Cape Colony north and north-eastward (away from British rule) into the interior of Southern Africa during the Great Trek.The meat was preserved and hung to be dried for a fortnight after which it would be ready for packing in cloth bags.