Biltong is a delicious snack that millions of people love to have. It is a kind of dried and cured meat and it is widely popular in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Different kind of meats is used for producing Biltong in different regions, which include game meat, beef, and some other types of meat.
Flat pieces of meats are sliced and used for producing Biltong. The method of preparing it is quite simple. Though, when it comes to increasing the shelf life of the Biltong, an ordinary method cannot help you in achieving the best results. Many people think beef jerky is biltong because both of these snacks are dried, spiced, and cured meats. One can easily recognize the difference in taste and ingredients to differ both of these snacks.
The recipe for preparing biltong with a 5-year shelf-life or more:
As I said before, a lot of people think that biltong is beef jerky due to their many similarities in taste. However, one thing that differentiates jerky from biltong is the way these two cuisines are prepared. Biltong is prepared from larger chunks of meat, whereas jerky is prepared from cured strips.
It is often said that biltong cannot last for a long time because of its tendency of retaining some moisture. That’s not true and you will reveal the truth after reading this post.
People have been eating biltong since the ancient age. Even in these modern times, a lot of people consider it as one of the best survival foods and for good reason. Though, people used to prepare biltong with meat in which fat is not removed.
This recipe is not in use today because the fat of meat reduces the shelf life of this snack. Lean meat is used for preparing this snack nowadays so that it can stay delicious and edible for a long time without refrigerating. Continue reading to learn how to prepare biltong.
This recipe is perfect for making biltong that can have a shelf life of 5 years or more. It will be a super delicious snack if you follow the recipe perfectly.
- You need 2kg lean beef or game meat would also be perfect for this recipe. If you are thinking to use lamb, then avoid it because it is not good for preparing biltong.
- Soft brown sugar 2 cups.
- 3-cup quantity of very plump sea salt.
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda. It is optional, but you can include it to improve the taste of this snack.
- Another ingredient you need is 2 tbsp quantity of crushed or ground black peppercorns.
- Mix 100 ml Worcestershire sauce with 5 cup vinegar and keep it in a bowl to use it during the recipe.
- 4 tbsp roughly ground coriander seeds.
That is all you need to prepare this delicious survival food. Get all the ingredients in the mentioned quantity to get the best results. You can enhance the quantity of all the ingredients to prepare this snack in a larger amount.
The recipe is explained in several steps to help you in understanding the whole procedure effectively.
- When it comes to preparing the meat, you should always cut to the length of grain and never against it. Prepare 1 cm thick slices of meat and then put those slices into the vinegar- Worcestershire sauce mix for half hour. Store the remaining vinegar in the fridge because it will be later used in the recipe.
- Now is the time to crush all the spices and then blend the salt, bicarbonate of soda, and sugar perfectly. This mix will be sprinkled consistently over a plate. So, keep it ready and mix properly.
- Now sprinkle the mixed spices evenly over a place and then pick a meat slice and then lay it over the spices. Yes, now you have to coat the salt and spices over the meat. Make sure that the spices are perfectly coated around the meat chunks.
- When all the slices of meat are coated with the salt-spice mix, layer those slices on a clean plate. Place the thickest slice at the base and then place other chunks above it. Sprinkle the whole remaining spices on the top of the upper layer.
- Place the prepared dish in a refrigerator for at-least 8 hours.
- Take out the refrigerated chunks of meat and the again soak them in the vinegar mix for at least 15 minutes. Remove the meat slices and then rinse every piece perfectly to remove the salt.
- Now squeeze the meat pieces to take away all the moisture.
Related reading: How To Make Wild Game Jerky
Once you have squeezed the meat chunks, now is the time to dry the biltong. There are two different drying methods, which you can try.
Oven drying method:
Drying the spiced up meat can be a lot simpler if you have a dehydrator at your home. All you have to do is follow the meat drying instructions offered by the manufacturer. The same oven drying method may not work for all the devices; therefore first you should check the instruction and then dry the biltong. The best way of drying it in an oven would be drying it in a low fan oven. Do not forget to open the door within 8 hours so that the moisture can get drained.
Traditional drying method:
The traditional drying method works effectively in a humid region. The room should be free of flies and it should be prevented against birds if you want to dry biltong traditionally. The meat can dry up quickly if there is good air circulation in the room. There are two popular ways of drying biltong according to traditional methods.
The rack drying is a perfect traditional biltong drying method for the small size biltong. If you have biltong sticks, chunks, or crisps, dry them in a rack. The drying racks look like stainless-steel made shelves. Some racks also come with wire-mesh shelves, which provide good air circulation for drying biltong quickly. You should toss the biltong chunks within every 8 hours to dry these snacks effectively.
You should try hang drying only when you have large slices of biltong, such as Droëwors and whole biltong sticks. First, you should insert a wire hook or Teflon hook into the slice of the meat and then hang it. You can also buy trolleys that come with metal spikes. These trolleys are built especially for hanging meat chunks.
Such trolleys make drying quite easier because you can remove the dried pieces of biltong and hang new pieces when you have prepared many biltong. Maintain a good distance between the meat so that the meat chunks cannot touch one another. This can delay the drying time and that’s why you must hang biltong away from one another.
How to eat biltong?
There are many different ways of eating this South African signature snack. The most common and the most widely followed way of consuming this snack is eating it like beef jerky. You don’t need to add extra ingredients because you can pick a slice of biltong and eat it. You can also prepare the biltong baked potatoes to improve the taste of this snack. Every bit of this recipe will seem delicious. It will get melt quickly in your mouth and you will like it.
When it is cold out there and you don’t want to cope with it, you should try the biltong soup. It is quite famous in the African countries. You can mix it in any soup and it will simply enhance the taste of that soup. However, you should mix seafood, tomato, and blue cheese so that the soup can taste more delicious.
Sggested reading: Protein, The Foundation Of A Survival Diet
How to improve the shelf life of biltong?
Biltong’s shelf life would be as long as dry it is. You should store it naturally so that it can remain dry and delicious. Some biltong producing companies like to keep their biltong slightly wetter. However, softer biltong can get moldy very quickly if you do not store it properly. Mold can easily destroy the quality and flavor of this survival food.
In cold countries, the moisture levels can get higher and therefore storing biltong in natural ways is not a great solution. You should focus on how the biltong can remain dry if you belong to a European country. Buy an airtight glass jar for storing your biltong. First, let this snack get dried completely and then store it in an airtight glass jar. Thus, the shelf life of your biltong will improve and you can eat it for a long time.
The retailers also store their biltong in a controlled environment to avoid mold and improve the taste of this snack. You may not get a controlled environment in your kitchen, therefore you should use one or more airtight glass jars to store this delicious snack.
Why is biltong an ideal survival food?
Many people love to live an adventurous life. The sailors, explorers, trekkers, and mountaineers face a lot of trouble when they are in tough conditions. Their body needs proper nutrition to generate enough power during the tough situations. Meat provides all the necessary nutritional elements that our body needs to cope with tough conditions.
Though you cannot keep the normal meat intact for a long time, biltong is the best alternative as survival food. It works as a protein supplement that the trekkers, mountaineers, and explorers need during their job.
You can easily pack this food and carry it with you. It remains edible for a long time because the shelf-life of biltong is much longer than other snacks prepared from meat. It is used as the main meal during various ruthless expeditions. Millions of people choose it as their survival food because of its delicious taste and nutritional value. There are some unknown benefits of eating it that will make you fall in love with this snack.
Natural source of creatine:
The professional athletes and bodybuilders search for meals, which offer a high quantity of creatine. This survival food supplies a rich quantity of creatine, which boosts the energy levels almost immediately. The low carb and high-protein biltong is also a great meal for people, who are trying to lose extra body fat. It can help you in building lean muscle mass and reducing the fat percentage of your body pretty quickly.
Offers a rich supply of vitamins:
If you are searching for a superfood that can meet your body’s vitamin B demand, then you should eat biltong. Vitamin B and B12 are quite essential for human beings. It improves the production of red blood cells and biltong offers a rich supply of vitamin B and B12. Your nervous system will be healthy and you would work much better.
Rich in minerals:
Along with providing a rich supply of vitamin B, it also feeds a rich quantity of iron in your body. These two minerals are quite essential for every human being because these minerals improve the production of red blood cells. The red blood cells are necessary to supply the oxygen in different parts of the body and recover wounds quickly. So, if you get injured while exploring or climbing a mountain, this superfoood can help you in recovering the injury quickly.
There would be a long list of health benefits if you try to find out why this is the best survival food. You cannot rely on other types of meals while you are exploring in a deserted region of the world. All you would need is the regular supply of nutrient-rich meal and it is the best snack to maintain good health during tough conditions.
Now you know how to prepare it, how to store it, and why you should eat it. So, try the mentioned recipe to prepare biltong at home and store it in a glass jar to prevent mold and improve the shelf-life of this delicious South African snack.