Biltong... first attempt, need help

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Original poster
Feb 2, 2020
I just tried my first attempt at making biltong and it wasn't great. I'm gonna try give as much info as possible to see if anyone can give me some pointers

Meat was beef (outside round)
Cut into 1/2" strips and soaked in malt vinegar for 3hrs.
Patted meat dry and covered the meat in my own spice mix (coarsely ground roasted coriander, black pepper and kosher salt). I was told to place meat in a sealed container for an hour before hanging it in the dryer but I skipped that step. I put it straight in the dryer. My dryer is a 80L clear Tupperware box with computer fan on top and 40w light bulb and 4 holes (2") on the bottom. I left the meat drying for 3 days.
I checked the meat this morning and it looked right and felt right when squeezed. I cut a little sample piece and didnt love the flavour.
It has mostly a vinegar flavour that reminds me of the aftertaste of eating olives. Salt flavour is ok but no coriander or black pepper taste at all. Its edible but not particularly pleasant.
When I ground the coriander and black pepper I left it pretty coarse... I would say it was more cracked than ground.
I'm wondering if I should have ground the coriander and pepper more? A lot of the corriander and pepper just fell off during slicing.
Any suggestions on what I can do differently next time?


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It appears the meat could use a little more drying.... That would intensify the beef and spice flavors...
Below are a couple recipes from Rick's kitchen... he experiments a lot with recipes and knows the ins and outs to get recipes to "work", due to his depth of knowledge in all forms of meat curing..
Seems the meat should be rinsed, after the vinegar bath, then fresh spices re-applied... That's my process for pastrami... Soaked in flavor and fresh flavor on the surface....
Anywho, I'm at a loss what didn't work in your recipe.....


Hi Dave,
Thanks for replying. I'm wondering if grinding the spices into more of a powder might not be the answer?
I personally prefer a more moist biltong as opposed to a drier piece so I was even thinking of pulling it out of the dryer sooner.
I'm really confused by the weird "olive" aftertaste
Just out of interest, have you ever tried authentic South African biltong or just jerky?
Yea I was kind of hoping to hear from someone with real world experience in making biltong. That's not a dig at you I do appreciate you were trying to help.
How about real world experience in food safety ??? If that's not important, I apologize... It won't happen again...
Dave I appreciate your kind effort to help, my question was about flavour not food safety. I'm just trying to stay on point here.
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