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Mark Blumberg's
South African Biltong Recipe Page

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Biltong is South African dried meat. The word comes from Dutch with BIL meaning buttock and TONG meaning strip. Biltong is really good. Do not even think of comparing biltong to "beef jerky". Biltong is a delicacy that many South Africans love to eat. Or as the The Marketing Department of the Meat Board once wrote "South Africans are a meat-eating nation". I can't believe I just put that quote in. Well just so no one thinks I am trying to plug red meat - red meat is very bad for your health. But just as long as red meat is still legally available this biltong recipe will stay up. This page will tell you everything you need to know about making biltong.

 

Here is a picture of me at a Biltong store in Storms River Mouth in South Africa. It is incredible the variety and quality of biltong sold in South Africa. In November of 1998 I had the opportunity to spend a month in Southern Africa and it reminded me of how seriously some South Africans take their biltong.

WHAT YOU NEED:

an electric fan
a light
1 kg meat-many different meats can be used -if you do not have access to ostrich, game etc then try a cut of beef like eye of the round or flank(my favourite)
some vinegar
less than a table spoon of course salt (or Kosher salt)
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of coriander (whole)(get it at a bulk food store)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
string

just to be extra square you also need a good knife, fridge, electricity, scissors, a couple of bowls, some nails or hooks, a hammer and someone to make fun of you for trying to maintain your South African heritage. A couple other ingredients that I have never used but you may wish to use bicarbonate of soda (apparently to prevent mold setting in) and saltpetre which acts as a preservative and gives the biltong a bright red colour.

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Wash the meat.
  2. Cut the meat at an angle against the grain into about one inch strips.
  3. Sprinkle vinegar over the meat
  4. Place the coriander in a bag and lightly crush the whole coriander so that the effect of the coriander will be greater.
  5. Make the "biltong mix" by combining the course salt, brown sugar, coriander, black pepper.
  6. Dip the meat into the "biltong mix" until all the mix is used up.
  7. Place the meat in a tray for a few hours, or over night, in the fridge.
  8. After a few hours dump any blood that has seeped out of the meat.
  9. Dip the biltong quickly into a water/vinegar mixture to remove surface salt.
  10. Hang the biltong by making a very small incission through the slice of meat with a knife about an inch from the end of the meat.
  11. Cut the string into about 10 inch strips which are placed through the meat and tied to form a loop.
  12. Hang the biltong in a place not to far from an electrical outlet by taking the loop of string and place it on the hook or nail or hangar or whatever device you have created to suspend the meat.
  13. To dry the meat turn on the light(regular light bulb) and the fan and leave for about 4-7 days depending on humidity, temperature and taste.



Serves 1 hungry South African

STORAGE DIRECTIONS

Ha!- if you have any biltong left after a couple days then you are either a very lucky person or have added too much salt! Biltong can be frozen. It can be grated and used in such dishes as Biltong Frittata or Biltong and Cheese Quiche which I personally thinks sounds gross!

Thanks to Dr. Solly Rosenberg of Philidelphia, Dr. Mark Cohen of Winnipeg, and Pelman Sacks of Fremont, California for their encouragement.

Believe it or not, I have some interests other than Biltong. I am a lawyer in Toronto, you can see my personal home page and work home page if you are interested. Please E-mail me comments, questions and suggestions.

Buying Biltong in Toronto

I have received a large number of requests for information on purchasing biltong all over the world. For those who have suggestions for different cities or countries please send them along - share the wealth. I buy my biltong from a store in Toronto called Baxter's Fine Foods (located at 798 Sheppard Avenue East and telephone number 416-223-7011). Baxters has a full line of South African goods. They in turn get their biltong from a butcher in Oakville, Ontario called Florence Meats which makes fantastic biltong, boerwors, droewors etc. You can visit and order from their website at Florence Meats. No I don't sell biltong - I could never make enough to do that.

 

Biltong Links

How To Make Real South African Biltong By Aris Stathakis

Biltong Recipes

 

 

Some inquiries I have received

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Date: Sun, 07 Sep 1997 20:03:15 -0700
From: Jo Volle <jovo@odin.mimer.no>
Subject: Question

Hi!
What about rabbit, can I use rabbit meat for biltong ? Alternatives for the preservation of rabbit meat are too few, presently freezing for frying/grilling later.  Can it be utilized for good-quality biltong ? The meat is very lean, like oistrich I imagine, but rabbit meat has a composition of fatty acids that oxgenizes really quickly. Any experiences, ideas on suitable amounts of salt and spices or herbs ?  Carcase is typically around 4 pounds and fresh, as I do my own slaugthering.
Glad for any advice; greetings from Norway.

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Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 17:36:32 -0700
From: Steve Brandt <sbrandt@empnet.com>
To: Mark Blumberg
Subject: Droewors

Any clues about a decent recipe for droewors ?
Thanks
Steve

Biltong Jokes

My wife, who is a cynic when it comes to biltong, makes the following joke: what do you call 4lbs of biltong?? ....... "A Good Start"!

Any suggestions for biltong humour so that I can get rid of this joke will be greatly appreciated.

Copyright 1996-2001, Mark Blumberg.

This page is located at home.the-wire.com/~mark/biltong.html
My homepage is at home.the-wire.com/~mark/

. since July 16, 1999