Biltong is a great survival food that has his origins in Southern Africa and it’s a variety of dried and cured meat. You can use a big variety of meats to produce biltong like beef , game meats, chicken, fish or even ostrich. First you have to cut out the fillets of meat.
The fillets must be cut into strips or flat pieces following the grain of the muscle. Biltong is similar to beef jerky in a certain way because both are cured-dried meats. The difference between biltong and beef jerky is that biltong is sliced after the drying process not before like the beef jerky.
Ingredients for biltong
The modern day recipe may include:
- Balsamic vinegar or malt vinegar
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Dry ground chili peppers
- Onion powder
The best way to prepare biltong is by marinating the meat in a vinegar solution (balsamic or cider vinegar work very well too) for a few hours. After soaking the meat must be drained of excess liquid. Meanwhile prepare the spice mixture that consists of equal amounts of :
- Whole slightly roasted and roughly grounded coriander
- Black pepper
- Rock salt
- Barbecue spice
Mix all the ingredients then ground roughly together. Sprinkle the mix all over the meat fillets and rub well to obtain an evenly distributed layer. After this process the meat must rest for a few hours or refrigerate overnight in order to absorb the flavors.
The next step is to pour off any excess of liquid.
The drying process
The drying process can be achieved in three ways:
- You can dry out the meat in cold air.
- On a cardboard or in a wooden box
- In a climate-controlled dry room
In colder climates biltong can be dried with the help of an electric lamp but care must be taken to ventilate as mold can form on the meat spoiling it.
A traditional slow dry will take 4 to 6 days but you can dry the biltong in an electric fan-assisted oven too. Set the oven to 100-160 degrees F and leave the door open in order to eliminate the moist air. You’ll have the same result as the traditional drying after 4-5 hours. The point is to eliminate as much moisture as possible. A longer drying process will prolong the shelf life from 2 to 3-4 years. Biltong can be eaten as a snack, added to stews for the great taste, sandwiches or make biltong-flavored potato chips.
If you have any other tip about biltong please write a comment in the section bellow.
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