Biltong, South African dried meat, is a perfect snack to go with a cold beer a hot day, or a beautiful addition to your other favorite cured meats for the weekend. If you're a fan of Beef Jerky you will most certainly love this Biltong.
You can make Biltong with virtually any meat you want. Everything from chicken to beef to antelope has been used. What you should keep in mind though is that the more fat your meat contains, the shorter the shelf life will be of the finished product as the fat may go rancid after some time. If you choose a piece of beautifully marbled meat with a slightly higher fat content to it you should consume it fairly quickly (usually not a problem) or freeze it. WHile if you choose a leaner meat, like silver side, you can store your Biltong a little warmer and enjoy it a bit longer.
I use a big 'ol Beef Knuckle, but Beef Rump/Ball Tip or chuck are all good cuts and usually reasonably priced. The price of the cut doesn't neccecerily decide the result when curing meat like this.
- 1 kg/2 lb lean beef meat
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 cup Coarse salt (not sea salt)
- 1.5 cups of raw sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 4 tablespoons coarsely ground coriander seeds
- 4 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons garlic powder
How to do it:
Trim the meat and cut off any membranes and visible fat (optional with the fat). Cut into 2-3 cm slices - along the length of the fibres. Mix vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and leave the meat to marinate in it for about 30 minutes.
Mix the salt, sugar, baking soda and half of the spices. Pour off the vinegar mixture but save it for later. and press the meat slices in the spice mixture, one at the time, so that they are evenly covered. Layer tightly in a bowl and let the meat marinate / cure for about 3 hours at room temperature (add 2 hours if you refrigerate the meat while marinating)
Now the meat will be a bit stiffer and has lost a lot of its liquid. Rinse the pieces of meat in cold water so that no salt or seasoning remains on the surface. Mix the rest of the spices (2 tablespoons coriander seeds, 2 tablespoons black pepper, 1 tablespoon garlic powder) and brush or dip the meat in the vinegar mixture from before. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly on the meat.
Now it's time for the meat to dry and cure for about 3 days. You get best results if you have a drying box fitted with a 40-60 W lightbulb and a fan that you can build yourself of purchase. This is not needed though! You can also dry your meat in a convection oven with the light on and the door slightly open, in the boiler room or in the laundry room. The most important thing is that you have good circulation of air (a fan blowing directly on the meat), it's not too warm (22-30°C) and flies don't get to it. I dry the meat for 3 days with a temperature on the first day of 24-26°C and 26-30°C the following days. Don't focus too much on time and temperature - Aim for the texture of an eraser and you'll be golden!