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South African Biltong

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Prep time Cook time Difficulty Views Rated (0) Recipe #
8h 30m n/a 2-Pretty easy 1448
Not tried yet
Added by Jared on 14 September 2008
Dylan forked this on 5 October 2008 (1 descendant)

Description (Some HTML is OK)

South African preserved meat. Makes about 5 1 inch strips of meat. Take it for lunches.


Makes 5 servings

  • 6 pounds lean meat (top sirloin or eye round roast)
  • ¼ cup coriander seed
  • ¼ cup salt
  • 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
  • 4 cups of white vinegar

Preparation (Some HTML is OK)

In order to make a good biltong you'll need to use as high quality a cut of beef as you can. Other types of lean meat work as well (ostrich, Venison). My research suggested using a top sirloin or eye of round roast. Either way you'll want to find a cut with as little fat as possible so that the meat doesn't go rancid. Apparently the fatty bits don't absorb the salt and it slows the drying process.

Cut the meat into strips that are about 1 inch thick along the grain of the meat. You might need to make them a little bit thinner if you live somewhere that is humid. Make sure you remove any fat or connective tissue you find as you cut.

In a dry frying pan roast the coriander seeds to bring out the flavour. Add the coriander seeds, salt and pepper to a mortar and pestle and grind it all together.

Wash the strips of meat. Then put the meat in a bowl and pour 3 cups vinegar over the meat. Coat the meat in vinegar and let it sit for a few minutes. While the meat is sitting in the vinegar, dust the bottom of a 9X13 glass dish with the spice mixture. Remove the meat from the vinegar and make a layer of meat on the botom of the glass dish on top of the first layer of spice. Now dust the top of the meat with spice and repeat until all of the strips of meat are covered in the spice mixture. As you add the spice mixture rub it into the meat to ensure maximum coverage. Cover the dish and put the meat in the fridge for at least 12 hours. Drain the dish as the salt pulls the moisture out of the meat.

Pour the remaining cup of vinegar into a large pot and add 4 or 5 cups of water. Use the mixture to wash off the excess salt from the meat. Dry off the meat with paper towl and hang in a suitable location. Ensure plenty of ventilation. It will take about 5 days to dry out the meat depending on how you like your biltong. Personally I like mine a little softer, otherwise it starts to taste like ordinary jerky.

Making a drying box:

1 cardboard flat
1 metal coat hanger

Since I don't have a proper biltong box to dry the meat, I made my own. Using a cardboard flat (the kind used to hold punnets of raspberries or blackberries) I cut large square out of the bottom to allow airflow. I then stood the flat on end and put some heavy cans in the bottom so that it didn't tip over.

Using a set of plyers cut the coat hanger into 8 inch lengths. Take each length and bend a hook on either end, in opposite directions (so it looks a bit like a distorted S).

Push the metal lengths through the box so that they hang about 6-7 inches apart, and attach the meat to the other end.

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Comments (1)

  • fjordaan said on 15 Sep 2008:

    Wow. That sure *looks* like the real thing. Well done! Please add some photos of the rest of the process, if you have. As bona fide ex-pat South Africans, I can't believe we've never attempted this.

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