[2014 amendment – another biltong recipe (cognac-flavoured biltong) can be found here]
South Africa is enjoying the afterglow of the Soccer World Cup and if you were brave enough to visit our country, you might also have been brave enough to sample some biltong.
If your taste buds were awake you probably enjoyed it thoroughly. Also, if you’re an ex-pat South African, happy in your new home overseas, but are thinking about a lekker stuk biltong and missing it stukkend, then today’s blog will gladden your heart for sure.
The following recipe will not only result in profound South African Satisfaction, but it has been known to attract the prettiest SA girls within a radius of 25 miles.
YOU NEED TO TRY THIS AT HOME.
Here’s how I make my biltong.
|25||kg||meat – best to use silverside cuts|
|400 – 500||ml||course salt|
|20||ml||Bicarbonate of Soda|
|15||ml||Freshly ground Black Pepper|
|350||ml||Roasted and freshly ground Coriander|
|1||Enamel/glass/sealed earthern ware flat bottomed dish|
|1||Drying cabinet or cupboard that is well ventilated and protected from flies with netting|
|2-6||Plastic hooks for the meat. Don’t use wire (unless you’re using thick, food-grade stainless steel)|
I’ve given you the quantities of spices for 25kg of meat. However, I would recommend starting with 1kg first, so that you can get your drying area and methods sorted, as well as experiment with the spice quantities.
However, thoroughly mix enough spices for all 25kg as this will be easiest (and also forms your basic seasoning mix). Weigh it after you’re done and separate 1/25th of it when you want to season your first batch.
If you’re going to opt for the 1kg attempt then only use about 60ml of vinegar – 30ml for sprinkling when seasoning and 30ml for washing the meat.
Obtain your meat from a reputable butchery.
Lay it on a suitable (I use a granite cutting block) surface. Remove as much blood as possible by patting it between two layers of kitchen (paper) towels.
For this example – I assume you have 3 pieces of Silverside totalling 1kg:
- Mix all the dry ingredients (seasoning)
- In the flat bottomed dish/basin, sprinkle (half the 1/25th seasoning) as a fine layer on to the bottom of the dish.
- Place the pieces of meat on the seasoning and sprinkle the balance on top of the meat.
- Massage the seasoning into the meat.
- Sprinkle a little of the vinegar onto the meat and rub it into both sides and edges.
- Leave it to stand for 12 to 18 hours.
- Mix 1 part of the vinegar blend with 10 parts water and bring to the boil (I use 30ml vinegar and 2litres of water when I make a 1kg batch).
- Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly.
- Dunk the biltong into the vinegar/water mix to rinse off the surplus salt.
- Put the hooks through the meat and hang it in your drying area.
Select your meat according to your preference. I personally do not like marbling in the meat, but I will hang pieces of silverside WITH the fat to accommodate people who like it. I will cut the fat off to because I don’t like the flavour/texture of the fat and because it helps with the cholesterol.
I use Maldon course/flaked/rock salt or another organic salt that preferably does not contain Iodine or anti-caking agent; this messes with your health and the flavour of the biltong. If I am feeling flush and adventurous, I will also use some Maldon Smoked Salt as this adds a very subtle smoky flavour to the biltong. Be careful though, as this can detract from the ‘natural’ taste of the biltong. So experiment first with the recipe as set out above.
First try a batch of biltong as above. After you’ve adjusted the spices to your taste, have a bash at using Pimento or small amounts of Juniper. Again, remember, these two spices are powerful, so begin by using small amounts.
Vinegar helps to tenderise tough fibres in the meat.
I’ve been experimenting with some additional vinegars, with some success. Try the following for a pleasant result: Of the 600 ml of vinegar, use 300ml Brown vinegar, 150ml Cabernet Sauvignon Balsamic Vinegar and 150ml Honey Balsamic or Tarragon Balsamic vinegar. The subtle sweet/sour flavours of the Balsamic mixtures makes for a pleasant flavour when the biltong is eaten nearly dry.
Stops the biltong from getting too hard. You’ll see that only small quantities are used and it doesn’t give the meat a sweet taste.
Bicarbonate of Soda/Vinegar.
If you live in coastal areas, use lightly more bicarb and/or vinegar. This is to stop mould forming on the biltong.
This gives the biltong its characteristic red colour. But use it carefully.