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A South African friend got me interested in making biltong

Discussion in 'Making Jerky' started by idahopz, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. idahopz

    idahopz Smoking Fanatic

    A friend in South Africa likes making biltong, a form of dried beef, using an old family technique. He simply uses an old cardboard box with a fan to dry the meat, and if needed a 60 watt light bulb for a bit of warmth. It takes anywhere from a week to 10 days to complete the process.

    I recently purchased a 10-rack dehydrator and will use that without heat to see if I can make it work. Just finished the preparation and the meat is now in the fridge until tomorrow when it will go into the dehydrator.

    Well, the price of beef fell to a reasonable level so biltong is now under way

    Ingredients ready: beef, salt and pepper, coriander, and Worcestershire

    Layering the meat cut about 1/2 inch thick with spices between each layer

    Once all the meat is in the dish, it is pressed down to keep all pieces in close contact with the spices

    Tomorrow into the dehydrator it goes.
  2. GATOR240

    GATOR240 Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

  3. hillbilly jim

    hillbilly jim Smoking Fanatic

  4. mike243

    mike243 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    We call it beef jerky down here :) ,maybe the spices are some what different ,let us know how it turns out ,amazing a spice or 2 changed can make a big difference
  5. pc farmer

    pc farmer Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Biltong is different then jerky.

    I am watching also. I made it once, well tried
  6. idahopz

    idahopz Smoking Fanatic

    I hope it turns out - this is my first time. I've made jerky for decades, but the spices I'm using are completely different in this preparation, and there will be no smoke nor heat like I usually do with jerky.

    I'll post the results, good or bad :D
  7. MeatSkull

    MeatSkull Meat Mopper

    Waiting for dave omak to respond with safety reasons. Personally I wouldn'd try it, safety reasons.
  8. chopsaw

    chopsaw Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Pz , you got this . Watching also .
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    PZ, evening.... I don't see any vinegar in your stuff to make biltong ... The acid in the vinegar is what kills the bacteria and pathogens, acidifies the meat, so it is safe to eat after the drying process...

    Biltong..... from Marianski's Forum
    Biltong is South African dried meat. In 1652 the Dutch settlers came to the Cape of Good Hope and established a new country. The name biltong originates from the Dutch word Bil meaning buttock and Tong meaning strip. Biltong is not "beef jerky" and it is made by salting, spicing and curing selected cuts of beef, venison, kudu, springbok or ostrich.

    Heat applied ......Yes ....... No
    Vinegar .............No ........Yes
    Air dried............Yes .........Yes
    Note: biltong cuts are usually bigger and thicker than jerky. If you live in a warm, moist climate cut your strips of meat thin. The thicker the meat, the longer it will take to dry out, and the higher the risk to spoilage.
    A home made biltong will usually be made from the beef buttock. Great cuts are sirloin and steaks cut from the hip such as topside or silverside. The best biltong is made from the eye of the round muscles that run down both sides of the backbone. Ideally the meat is marinated in a vinegar solution (cider vinegar is traditional but balsamic also works very well) for a few hours, and finally poured off before the meat is flavored. Coriander is the dominant spice.
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2018
    idahopz likes this.
  10. SmokinAl

    SmokinAl SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Well there you have it!
  11. idahopz

    idahopz Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks dave - I used white balsamic vinegar for the last 6 hours of the marinade. Did a test fry and it was quite tasty, not like anything I've had.
  12. daveomak

    daveomak Epic Pitmaster OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Good deal.... Now we need some pictures, in a day or 3...
    chopsaw likes this.
  13. crazymoon

    crazymoon Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    IP, I'm in ,just wondering why cure #1 isn't added to the recipe though? Does that change the taste ?
  14. idahopz

    idahopz Smoking Fanatic

    Most definitely pics are on the horizon

    There isn't any reason curing salt can't be used that I know of, but I wanted to try how my S.A. buddy does for the first time.
  15. crazymoon

    crazymoon Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    IP, Sounds good, I'll be watching your results in anticipation! :)
  16. Bearcarver

    Bearcarver SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster Group Lead OTBS Member

    Great Start, PZ !!!
    Be Back for the Great Pics!!

  17. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Epic Pitmaster Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Lookin good. Just for clarification...Cure #1 is NOT needed in WHOLE muscle jerky. The pathogen of most concern is Clostridium Botulinum. While the spores can survive in open air, the bacteria cant. So CB on whole muscle is of no concern and no cure #1 needed. Cure is a must in ground meat jerky because bacteria can be in the oxygen free center.
    That said, cure #1 does offer the benefit of slowing fat oxidation and rancidity. If the jerky meat is marbled, cure will protect the fat from getting funky tasting. Cure #1 has some limited effect on Listeria and Salmonella but both of these are inhibited by salt and acid. Like Insurance, cure #1 doesnt do much for you, in jerky, but if you feel better use it...JJ
    zwiller and daveomak like this.
  18. Troy1436

    Troy1436 Newbie

    I've made this twice this summer I like it everybody that's had it liked too it's got some bite to it though.I slice it quarter inch Against the Grain after it's done. I eye round roast five eighths of an inch thick. this is what I did heavy coat pickling salt Ziploc bag in the fridge for 2 hours. Then put it in a bowl with small bottle cider vinegar and a 1/3 bottle Worcestershire sauce I let it sit for 30 minutes. Then I drained it off. I put on chopped up roasted coriander seeds black pepper and a little bit of salt. I'm sure you can put garlic and onion powder on it if you wanted to. Put in box 40 watt light bulb at the bottom it was done at five days both times. I was skeptical at first but I got the idea from smoking meat forums so I tried it it is good. I make a lot of jerky it's a little different than jerky. I'm sure you won't be disappointed but like somebody said before I don't see any vinegar in your recipe. Haven't made it in 2 months now I want to make it again!!!!
  19. My wife is from Zim(babwe), but her family lost their farm right after the war and moved to SA before heading to the States. I've always made our biltong (way over 500 pounds over the last 20 years) following my own variations of the recipe on http://www.biltongbox.com. All of the South African's who have tasted like mine as well or better than their own.

    Because the weather in Flagstaff fluctuates wildly (0%-99% humidity and 30-50 degree temperature difference between day and night) I put a lot of thought into my biltong (drying) box. I can dry 10-15lbs of palm thick, full sized London Broil, in about 1 week's time. I built it out of wood, front opening, with a shelf for a metal drip catch tray underneath the meat rack, underneath that the is a 120V computer fan sucking air in on one side blowing the air onto a 40W light bulb (to strip out the humidity) mounted on the other side. Then just above the meat rack I have a UV florescent light mounted and all of the screened air vents are in the center of the top of the box so all the airflow has to pass through the meat to exit the box.