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Biltong Questions

lynxo

Newbie
13
11
Joined May 13, 2016
Hi,

I have read and watched different methods for making biltong.

One method soaks meat in vinegar for 3-12 hrs. Pat dry, add dry rub n hang dry.

Other version. Add vinegar, add rub, stack meat, repeat. Marinate for 12-24hrs.
Which method is less salty and still safe?

What is unsafe high temp. and humidity?

My apartment is between 68-78 deg. F during the winter. Humidity around 40%.

I will be modifying the Mellerware Biltong Maker box for US fan. Is there any optimal fan speed(rpm)?

Thanks
 

SFLsmkr1

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I make allot of BT. Its dry so you dont want any humidity. I use a pc fan in my BT drum, its perfect. A small 40-60w bulb is enough heat.

I use malt vinegar and baking soda. Yeah be aware that the mix will foam up. I go 12 hours in the fridge after the foam has dropped.
 

lynxo

Newbie
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Joined May 13, 2016
I cannot get those light bulbs where I live. Is the light bulb required at my ambient temp?
I was just going to use fan.

Do you add dry spices during the 12 hours?
 

SFLsmkr1

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I dont know where you live but just about any small bulb will work, no need for high heat. I use a ceramin reptile bulb when i need some low heat.

I add my mix to the liquid then i dip the meat strips into the biltong mix coating the strips with the dry.
 

lynxo

Newbie
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Joined May 13, 2016
Cool. Thanks for the photos and tips. I was looking into the reptile lamps but was not sure I even needed one.
 

pnolanb

Newbie
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4
Joined Dec 27, 2020
Hey guys, finally joined after many years of ending up on this forum when looking up this, that and the other...

Making my first Biltong batch today. Built a cabinet over the last few days. Lots of research online. Preferred hold temp has been hard to come across. At least the mention of temp from multiple people. It’s kinda all over the board. 22°-35°c-fairly broad.

I have a 60 watt in now that seems to be keeping it around 25c

I ended up going with a 24hr fridge hold after coating with vin(not soaking) and spices. Another part of Biltong that is all over the board.
If anyone has insight on tried and true temp, be nice to hear what you think is best. I am in Montana, so pretty dry this time of year.
Thanks!
Pat
 

lynxo

Newbie
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11
Joined May 13, 2016
Hi Pat,

Congrats on your build. Let us know it goes. :-)
Makes sense you need a bulb in Montana this time of the year.

I think everyone will have different temps and humidity depending on where they live.
From what I read, the fan is most important. I bought some screen mesh to keep gnats out so
they don’t lay any nasties during the drying process.

Curious what wood you used. I see a lot of wood boxes, my concern is all these wood
panels are chemically treated, like the ones you would buy from home depot. If that a concern or not.

I also bought a temp. and humidity monitor to go inside the drying box, just to keep a log.
 

SFLsmkr1

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You dont need humidity when making biltong. Your drying the meat with use of a fan. The heat source is minimal unless you have a cold house or basement. 80 to 100watt is good. Use a filament bulb, the LED bulbs dont give off heat.
 

pnolanb

Newbie
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Joined Dec 27, 2020
Hi Pat,

Congrats on your build. Let us know it goes. :-)
Makes sense you need a bulb in Montana this time of the year.

I think everyone will have different temps and humidity depending on where they live.
From what I read, the fan is most important. I bought some screen mesh to keep gnats out so
they don’t lay any nasties during the drying process.

Curious what wood you used. I see a lot of wood boxes, my concern is all these wood
panels are chemically treated, like the ones you would buy from home depot. If that a concern or not.

I also bought a temp. and humidity monitor to go inside the drying box, just to keep a log.
Hi Pat,

Congrats on your build. Let us know it goes. :-)
Makes sense you need a bulb in Montana this time of the year.

I think everyone will have different temps and humidity depending on where they live.
From what I read, the fan is most important. I bought some screen mesh to keep gnats out so
they don’t lay any nasties during the drying process.

Curious what wood you used. I see a lot of wood boxes, my concern is all these wood
panels are chemically treated, like the ones you would buy from home depot. If that a concern or not.

I also bought a temp. and humidity monitor to go inside the drying box, just to keep a log.
Hi, thanks for the quick reply. I went with untreated Pine. Pic below on my build. I went off of a DIY thread I found online that laid out the process and reasoning behind what/why pretty straight forward.

I am doing it indoors. Even though my garage is well insulated, this bulb would have to fight hard to keep a decent temp.

I am really looking forward to being a part of this forum. I tend to nerd out on all topics included here as much as the best of em’.

Once this first round is done, I’ll have an idea on what direction to go in next as far as prep time w/ vinegar, amount of spices, bulb wattage and box temp. Who knows, maybe I’ll get extremely lucky and this will be what I’m trying to achieve right out of the gate...?


After checking my pic, please let me know if you see anything that would need an immediate adjustment.
Best,

Pat
 

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lynxo

Newbie
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11
Joined May 13, 2016
Happy New Year to ALL! :-)

Hi Pat,

From what I read, the fan should be pulling air out, ideally top mounting. Heat rising from the bulb
gets pulled out from the fan mounted on top.

I also added gnat screen mesh to keep the nasty critters out. I started my first batch this morning.
Only using fan blowing upwards. My indoor temps are between 68-73 deg. F right now.

You could try mounting fan on top blowing air out and add mesh screen to current fan hole on bottom. Just my 2 cents.

I did marinate for about 17 hours.
 

pnolanb

Newbie
14
4
Joined Dec 27, 2020
Happy New Year to ALL! :-)

Hi Pat,

From what I read, the fan should be pulling air out, ideally top mounting. Heat rising from the bulb
gets pulled out from the fan mounted on top.

I also added gnat screen mesh to keep the nasty critters out. I started my first batch this morning.
Only using fan blowing upwards. My indoor temps are between 68-73 deg. F right now.

You could try mounting fan on top blowing air out and add mesh screen to current fan hole on bottom. Just my 2 cents.

I did marinate for about 17 hours.
Lynxo,

Awesome, thanks for the input. I’ll modify for my next batch. Fortunately for me, this colder time of year, we don’t have much bug life going on. The warmer months will be a different story w/ flies, ants etc.

I tried some of this first batch right out of the cabinet and thought it was so so. Put it in the fridge for a few days-in just a ziploc bag. After a couple of days the flavor has changed in a positive way.

I’m going to do a longer sit in the fridge with vin and some of the spices, then hit again with spice blend before hanging. I think flavor could be a bit deeper to make better, even though it was fairly encrusted w/ this finished batch.

Be great to hear back from you on how yours turned out!

Thanks,

Pat
 

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lynxo

Newbie
13
11
Joined May 13, 2016
Hi Pat,

How long did you marinate for?

I tested a small piece, flavor was great for first time. I need few more days, I had cut some what
thicker.

I read 12 hours minimal to prevent mold. I did longer and still was fine. I tried 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part malt vinegar, 1/3 part worstershire
in squeeze bottle.

For dry rub, grounded roast corriander, 2 Tbsp. Celtic sea salt, 1.5 Tbs. brown sugar. My food processor did not chop up the corriander very well. Pestal and Motar next time.
 

pnolanb

Newbie
14
4
Joined Dec 27, 2020
Hi Pat,

How long did you marinate for?

I tested a small piece, flavor was great for first time. I need few more days, I had cut some what
thicker.

I read 12 hours minimal to prevent mold. I did longer and still was fine. I tried 1 part apple cider vinegar, 1 part malt vinegar, 1/3 part worstershire
in squeeze bottle.

For dry rub, grounded roast corriander, 2 Tbsp. Celtic sea salt, 1.5 Tbs. brown sugar. My food processor did not chop up the corriander very well. Pestal and Motar next time.
I did 24hr with apple cider vin(didn’t have malt in cupboard at the time), kosher, roasted coriander(ground w/ my mortar and pestal), brown sugar and pepper. I do have an incredibly hot, yet flavorful, ghost and/Carolina Reaper pepp seasoning that I very lightly sprinkled on two of them. That turned out great.

From what I’ve read, the vinegar can be an overriding flavor after doing a longer hold in the fridge. I absolutely did not have that issue. When jumping in on this thread with you, that was one of my main worries. I read up on others doing two hours and maybe there’s more to that, but I liked the extra time for the meat to absorb seasoning. There was one write up where a guy said he once accidentally let it sit for many days in his fridge and now that’s his go to. I might let a couple of pieces go for that long at some point just to experiment, but you’d think the meat would gray and that flavor would come into play after sitting so long.

My setup only took 4 days to get it where I wanted. Although, a couple of pieces were more “wet” than I will do again(guessing same outcome you mentioned). I should have let those thicker cuts hang for another day. The trial and error was pretty short lived, I now know what it will feel like when I squeeze meat to check for doneness. I was looking for it to feel like an eraser(comparisons I came across online). A hard eraser is more like it.

All in all, this will be something I’d like to have on hand moving forward in life. I make a lot of jerky; deer, elk and beef. Now all my game meat will be Biltong.

pics attached of my early pull and also where I want it from here on out.
 

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lynxo

Newbie
13
11
Joined May 13, 2016
Hi Pat,

That is awesome you can do game meats.
Venison and Bison must be amazing. :-)
Enjoy!
 

pnolanb

Newbie
14
4
Joined Dec 27, 2020
Hi,
I do have a question. If it is still red inside like
the photo attached, can the red parts go moldy in room temp. 75 deg.?

Best to store in fridge?
I have few left still drying and uncut.
Well, I didn’t have any last long enough to see if it would have a problem holding... From everything I’ve read, you just need an airtight storage to hold at room temp, or just keep it in the fridge. If cured completely, it should last quite awhile. I also read that you need to consume it within a week or two. Again, this is another topic that there are answers all over the place. I’ll let some sit out for awhile and see what happens with it. Side note,mine sit in the fridge for a day-2days seemed to help with flavor.

I will end up vacuum sealing some of this latest batch and starting a new batch as soon as the room is available. I’d like to get a stockpile going.

Yours looks great! The commercially produced Biltong that I have seen pics of online looks like yours and the pic I have that is a deep red in the middle.
 

lynxo

Newbie
13
11
Joined May 13, 2016
Thanks :-)

I’m doing same as you. Vacuum seal.

It became too costly to buy locally at $35/lb.

I didn’t have the guts to make it back then,
afraid of mold and getting sick. It is not too
difficult after all.
 

pnolanb

Newbie
14
4
Joined Dec 27, 2020
I bought more meat than my unit could hold so
I made one up really fast. This 2nd batch was marinating in the fridge for about 50hrs. It will be interesting what the flavor profile will be.
How did it turn out, the long fridge sit?
I have some elk going right now. So far I am liking the traditional spice blend the most. Have you tried any different spice approaches that you like?
 

lynxo

Newbie
13
11
Joined May 13, 2016
I will let you know in a few days. Still drying. I am finding that I need at least 5-6 days or it is
very red inside.

For vinegar, I’m using Apple Cider/Malt and Worcestershire. For dry, roasted coriander,
salt, pepper and brown sugar. I’m fond of that flavor too and have not tried any other variation.

Elk sounds so yummy :-)
Does Elk have a gamey taste to it? I’ve had venison, bison and ostrich(just burger). All very good, ostrich tastes like liver to me.

I tried elk jerky but they put so much salt and pepper, cannot tell what meat it is.
 

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