Outstanding Biltong Recipe – Tried and tested.

Biltong – meat, the way nature intended

[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.

Ingredients:

25 kg meat – best to use silverside cuts
400 – 500 ml course salt
125 ml Brown sugar
15 ml Saltpetre
20 ml Bicarbonate of Soda
15 ml Freshly ground Black Pepper
350 ml Roasted and freshly ground Coriander
600 ml Brown Vinegar
Kit  
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)

Note:

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.

Method:

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:

  1. Mix all the dry ingredients (seasoning)
  2. In the flat bottomed dish/basin, sprinkle (half the 1/25th seasoning) as a fine layer on to the bottom of the dish.
  3. Place the pieces of meat on the seasoning and sprinkle the balance on top of the meat.
  4. Massage the seasoning into the meat.
  5. Sprinkle a little of the vinegar onto the meat and rub it into both sides and edges.
  6. Leave it to stand for 12 to 18 hours.

Some Silverside from a good butcher

The meat with the selection of vinegars

Next day.

  1. 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).
  2. Remove from heat and leave to cool slightly.
  3. Dunk the biltong into the vinegar/water mix to rinse off the surplus salt.
  4. Put the hooks through the meat and hang it in your drying area.

Your flat-bottomed dish

Your seasoning for 1kg meat.

Next day – prepare to rinse the excess seasoning off the meat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once seasoned, hang the meat in your drying area. In this case a purpose built dryer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More notes:

Meat.

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.

Salt.

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.

Spices.

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.

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.

Brown Sugar.

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.

Saltpetre.

This gives the biltong its characteristic red colour. But use it carefully.

Good luck with your biltong. I’ll be chuffed to hear how you got on.

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About Freud Fission Chips

Despite the banality of the name, FFC has led an intensely varied life. Grateful for surviving almost three years as a 'troepie' (soldier for non-South African Readers) in the Angolan war, he determined to wring as much out of life as possible. Currently providing Business Analysis services, trading on the stock market and developing web pages to pay the bills, FFC also dabbles in wildlife, landscape and people photography, writing, and far too many interests for his own good. He has also travelled extensively in southern Africa (working on the sound theory that a moving target is more dificult to hit). These peregrinations also include over 1500kms on foot through some of the worlds most spectacular scenery. It hasn't all been plain sailing, beer and skittles, and endless beds of roses... Chief amongst the prerequisites for surviving Africa, with its mind-bending characteristics, is an appropriate sense of humour.... So, for now, he will be recounting the amusing among the annoying, the frustrating wrapped in the funny and extracting the mirth from the melancholy... Oh yes, there might be some alliteration too.
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57 Responses to Outstanding Biltong Recipe – Tried and tested.

  1. Michelle Battle says:

    Thank you so much , cant wait to try this. Will let you know how it goes

    • Thanks for the kind words. I hope it all works for you.
      Just another tip – if you live in more humid areas, chuck a 75Watt or even a 100Watt globe into your drier, as this will help your biltong to dry quicker – withought unwanted mould attaching itself to the meat.

      Please let me know how you go.

      • Michael Pople says:

        I have recently purchaed a Biltong dryer and decided to take the plunge by making my own rather then paying £ 35/kg for average at best product in the UK. After much research online I stumbled across this article and it stuck a chord so to speak.
        The one question that I have is the rinsing of the meat before the drying process that would appear to defeat the object of an overnight marinade on the fridge. That said I have I have followed the recipe to a tee and the proof will be in the eating on Thursday

      • Hi Michael,
        Firstly – a big thanks for visiting the blog. Congrats on the acquisition of the biltong drier. May you have many happy hours gnawing on tasty, home-made deliciousness.

        Regarding your qood question on the rinse process. I found that after lying in the sauce overnight (the biltong, I mean – I generally just shower) the spice/vinegar/salt solution was too strong to just hang it without the rinse. A quick plunge into a hot bath of vinegar/water seemed to get the taste just right…..

        You do raise an interesting point though. I have recently moved to New Zealand. Our goods arrived just over a month ago and I am hoping to get going on making my own biltong here. However, something I’ve noticed with general produce is that it lacks the flavour of the South African products. Local mayonnaise (aioli), vinegars, dried fruit, spices, raisins etc all seem to be less vibrant in the taste department. Indeed, the offerings of many of the restaurants we’ve visited have been disappointingly insipid.

        If you guys in the UK suffer s similar dearth of flavour in your ingredients, you might find it unnecessary to perform the rinse process.

        I will be doing a few batches of biltong in the forthcoming weeks and will report on my findings. In the meantime, it’s Thursday here – albeit a few hours ahead of you guys in England; but I hope your first batch will be pleasingly scrumptious – and that it will surpass what is commercially available there.

        Do let me know how you got on.
        Best wishes
        FFC

  2. bosium says:

    Thanks, as an ex-pat South African myself, I am always looking for good biltong. I’ve tried a few of the sellers on ebay and they’ve been OK, but nothing stellar. The best I’ve had in the UK has come from a saffa shop called Snoggy’s in Wimbledon, but they aren’t cheap.

    I have been meaning to try making it myself as it’s a fantastic snack and very healthy (apart from all the salt). Also interesting that you use Maldon salt (great stuff, especially the smoked one) – I actually live in Maldon!

    I’ll definitely be giving your recipe a try. I have one question, however – why the potassium nitrate to make it red? I always thought biltong should be dark brown / black? Now if only I could get kudu meat here…

    • Hi Bosium/Gary,

      APologies for the delay in replying to your question. Recently arrived back from our trip to Namibia and am industriously getting blog articles and pics ready for posting here. [Ok – that’s the excuses out of the way].

      Thanks for visiting and I hope you feel motivated to pop back from time to time. Also, here’s wishing you a peacful, prosperous time there in the UK…. Fancy that. A quality oke, living in the place that makes quality salt!!! Nice…

      Regarding the inclusion of potassium nitrate: I’ve been talking to as many biltong experts as possible both here in SA and during my Namibian trip. The potassium nitrate, I gather, is one of the salts that help with the preservation of the meat – also reducing the growth of certain fungi. The red colour is present when the meat is drying… bringing me on to the next topic…

      There appears to be about thre general categories of biltong lover.

      1. The person who likes the biltong moist, with just a dry-ish outer layer and the larger soft/raw inner bit. The fat layer (if you like a fat layer), is translucent and the whole piece of meat is still very flexible. Meat in this category is dried for only about 18 to 24 hours in a dry climate. At some contemporary SA restaurants, they serve this kind of biltong in a salad – but it borders on a kind of a beef Carpaccio.
      2. He/she who enjoys the biltong drier, harder but with a hint of moisture in the centre. This appears to be the largest of the groups. It is dried for up to 3 days in the drier. This biltong is hard to the touch and will only yield when pressed hard. Fat layers are also harder and will be either white or yellowish (depending on the diet of the animal). The centre core of the biltong piece will be a very dark red (Cabernet Sauvignon sort of colour) and the outside will be a brownish black… any foreign readers might feel a little squeamish about now – but vasbyt, this stuff is heavenly…This biltong will last several weeks – even a couple of months in the fridge/freezer.
      3. In this category, we find the historical/traditional ‘boer’ biltong. It is seriously dry and can last for several years without any other preserving methods. This is the stuff that kept the hunters of old alive and a sizeable piece, in the right hands, could fell an intruder with a well placed blow :-)… This biltong will actually break if bent and is great to grate (clever that) and put on a sarnie of fresh bread.

      During my travels in Namibia, where wild meat and biltong is arguably the best in the world, I got to speak to several makers. Every time I asked for recipes I got the same sort of reply, “Can you keep a secret? Good. So can I” I did find some very good sources of reasonably priced game meat. Now to find a way of getting it to SA.

      I am therefore determined to continue experimenting with recipes and putting up any improvements on this blog. I’ll also do some more research on the potasium nitrate subject and post my findings here.

      Thanks again for the visit. Let me know how you go.

      • bosium says:

        Namibia! My folks took me there a few times when I was a teenager, it’s a magical place if you appreciate dry, yet beautiful places like the Groot Karoo. The best biltong I remember trying was in Okahandja. My personal favourite is straight up sliced kudu biltong, dry to very dry. I also love the really dry chunks that you have to chew for a while to really get the flavour.

        I will definitely get round to making this soon, it looks like a great recipe. It’s also ideal as my house is nice and dry at the moment as it’s been quite warm lately. Biltong is one thing I don’t already make for myself, so will be good to start working on a house recipe. I was thinking of also using some smoked maldon salt, and some nice oak-aged balsamic as part of the vinegar requirement of the recipe – what do you think?

  3. Glad you enjoyed the Namibian trip. I confess to being hopelessly in love with that kind of landscape/climate.

    I think we share the preference for the dry stuff (and for me and my cholesterol) with as little fat as possible. However, from time to time, the slightly moister stuff can be delectable in a salad.

    I think your idea of the smoked salt and oak-aged balsamic sounds terrific!!!!!!!! Now, if you will just tell me where you store it at night and where you put the spare key….

    I tried the smoked salt with a honey balsamic about a year ago and, while the difference in taste was very subtle, I felt pleased with the outcome – and that particular batch seemed to disappear faster than some of the others (interesting how many friends one suddenly acquires when the ‘tong’ is ready to be taken out of the drier).

    As one of my more discerning readers, I’d be interested to know if you’d like some other meat/dried wors recipes. I’ll be happy to share them if the interest is there.

    • Cliff says:

      Hi there man, I would like a few drooewors recipes. I have been making biltong for some time now here in the UK, so thougt it time to try the drooewors. Got 2kg at ASDA on special today at £4.00kg can’t go wrong.
      Cheers
      Çliff

      • Howzit Cliff,

        Thanks for popping by. Interestingly, I have scheduled at least one droëwors recipe towards the end of January. The reason for the delay is that I am going to spend some time with some Karoo farmers and will hopefully get some tips and recipes on both beef and venison wors….and if I’m lucky, a salami recipe… Stay tuned

  4. Bertie Davel says:

    Freud
    Love the posts and reading the biltong bits with added interest. I’ve had a hellish time tring to do “dik” biltong but I just can’t get them right – it takes far too long to dry. I’ve had to settle on making biltong sticks – a poor second…
    I would be interested in your droewors recipe – after a lot of trail and error I’ve derived on a topside/silverside (lamb) and de-boned lamb breast (fatty!!!) meat mix (60/30 mix). Also using sheep casings… It’s the closest I came to the stuff I was used to in SA. BTW – I’m now located up in fair Scotland.
    Namibia. Damn. How I miss that place! The SWMBO was born in Luderitz and grew up in Helmeringhausen and Swakopmund.

    I’ll be back to read up on your Nam travels!

    • Hi Bertie,
      Many thanks for kind words. Happy to hear the blog content is useful and/or amusing. Re the difficulty in drying the meat in damp/humid atmos… If you’re using a biltong drier, have a bash at putting a 100W incandescent bulb and another 60W (be a tad careful not to have too hot an environment or the biltong will dry too quickly – with a hard outer layer and too soft an inside.

      Another option would be to locate a reptile pet shop, ask them for one or two heating pads (depending on the size of your drier) that we use for making snakes feel all warm and summery. After doing the appropriate cleaning of the pad (UK health and safety may have a corporate coronary 🙂 ), place it in the drier near the bottm – naturally with a fan on top drawing the cool air in from the lower part of the drier and the warm air out the top. I hope this workaround helps a little – let me know how you go.

      On the subject of dry wors – I shall put up a recipe or two in the near future. Being in Scotland the chances of you bagging a Gemsbok/Sprinbuck/Impala are not really good :), so I’ll rummage around for my recipe for normal dry wors. In South Africa, we try to avoid using sheep’s fat as it goes rancid before the sausage dries properly – this is replaced with pork fat (spek) or fatty portions of meat. However, I’ll do a batch, take a pic or three and post it here…. in between writing about the Nam travels.

      Oh – and a wee ‘by the way’… please tell your SWMBO that we stayed a few delightful days in Luderitz and we took some photos that will surely pull the odd heartstring, so stay tuned.

      Kind regards
      FFC

      • Bertie says:

        Hi FFC
        Thanks – I’m looking forward to that dry wors recipe. I won’t touch raw pork meat in Europe/UK – I’m just way too wary of how they were raised and what they were fed on. I might add it to my dry wors if I ever manage to raise them myself. I store my biltong and wors in the freezer – not the ideal but the only way to prevent then from going off. And I guess it also prevent the sheep fat from going rancid?! I’ve build a biltong machine with a 60W light, two PC cooling fans and a dehumidifier. Maybe I must just take the plunge and cut a couple of “dik biltonge” and see how they turn out…

        I’ve visited Luderitz about 8 years ago – it was amazing. It’s unlike any coastal town I’ve visited in Southern Africa. I assume you did the Bogenfels tour? Wow, that was amazing.

        Regards,
        Bertie

      • H Bertie,
        Regarding the dry wors recipe (which I haven’t forgotten – promise) I’m doing some reading (and chatting to butchers) on the possibiliy of replacing pork with something else. Nothing earth shattering is coming to light right now… BUT… I am going to meet up with a couple of bow hunters early in August and I hope to learn some tips from them – which I’ll pass on here, naturally 🙂 Your drier sounds terrific Bertie. Have a bash at some topside (instead of sliverside – less fat) cut to just less than a cm thick. With a good dose of vinegar to rinse the spices off, the meat should dry after a few days then wrap the pieces up in clingwrap and place them in the freezer. They ought to keep for up to a year (if you can withstand the temptation).

        As the chapters of our Nam trip finally get written, I will be putting up some (hopefully) pleasant pics of Luderitz and the Bogenfels area.

        Best of luck with the biltong.
        Regards
        FFC

    • Expatlondon says:

      Hi there, I love reading this sight I myself am after a nice chilli bite recipe if any one knows of one. I have found an online company that’s not badly priced at all in the UK and sells some very lekker biltong called Barefoot Biltong it’s worth a look at. Their Biltong chips are a winner.
      Enjoy

      • Howzit ExpatLondon,
        Stay chooned to this site, because your humble writer will return within the next couple of weeks with a recipe for chili bites for you…..

        Just to clarify… The chili bites to which you refer; are they the small slivers of meat that are chili flavoured – and not the small balls of deep fried, chili and masala infused dough of Indian origin?

        Let me know and I will attempt to find either (or both) for you.

        I have tried to make chili bites based on two recipes I which scrounged (1 from a friend in Durban and the other from Gauteng) – but they were both lacking in flavour. But I’ll keep at it and hopefully post something nice asap.

      • jay says:

        howzit Fission Chips
        I look forward to hearing back from you, I’m after a lekker biltong chilli bites recipe.

      • Hey Jay!!
        Thanks for the visit. I am refining a recipe as we speak and will put it up on the blog within a week. Some of the biltong makers are exceedingly cagey about recipes for biltong that is different from the run-of-the-mill stuff…. and that frustrates the bejeepers out of me.

        I tried a batch last week and just added chili – didn’t work too well….but I will put that all up in the next biltong recipe.

        Stay chooned.
        FFC

      • EXpatLondon says:

        Haha did not think of the other sort of chilli bite.. NA I’m after a the biltong Chilli Bite, Stokkies.
        I would also be interested in anyone else recommended recipes and thoughts
        Cheers

      • Hiya Expat,
        I have traced a “kind of a” recipe (the kind of recipe that is written on the back of a cigarette packet) – that is, it is seriously vague and uncertain. However, I will be testing it this weekend, photographing the process and will post the results during the course of next week.

  5. Joan Thomas says:

    Hi
    As an expat South African in Australia I have been making biltong for several years & still experimenting. I have a few friends from Zim who love it & keep me busy with orders. Apart from the basics which everyone uses, I also use vinegar as a sprinkle to start, then a marinade mixture of Worcestershire & BBQ sauces which I mix the meat in before seasoning.

    I have some very obliging butchers in town who slice the topside thickly (about 2.5 cms)),then pass it through a tenderiser. This is great. Not only does it cut down marinating time to about 3 hours, it also dries a lot quicker in my drying box & the marinade goes right into the meat. Hence the need for less time…….too salty otherwise. Also the biltong is not as tough.
    I would be interested in any comments.
    JMT

  6. Hi Joan and thank you for popping by.

    I really appreciate your input and (if the site statistics are to be trusted) the many visitors will as well. I believe we’re all in this learning process together – and I appreciate learning from you 🙂

    The mixture of Worcestershire and BBQ sauces adding to the marinade definitely sounds interesting and mouthwatering. I am also interested in the idea of tenderising the meat a bit before marinating – sounds like a great idea. Makes me want to try it out asap.

    Since posting this article I have also been experimenting with less salt, and I’ll put up new quantities as soon as I can get a ‘workable’ amount for coastal/humid areas.

    Do you have any preference regarding the brand of BBQ sauce? We have a couple of brands here but my favourite was one from a company which sadly went belly-up, and the couple I’ve tried since – taste gungy (too many chemicals). However, I now live in Port Elizabeth and that’s a good enough excuse to try and source new sauces, so to speak 🙂

    The folks for whom I’ve made seemed to go more for the traditional recipes, but it’s all about personal choice; and you’ve done the smart thing by experimenting and coming up with what your customers like.

    Again – thank you for visiting. I hope to put up more South African recipes in the near future, so pop back.

    Best wishes
    FFC

  7. Aris says:

    You can buy these biltong makers in the UK from http://www.biltongbox.com/shop/

  8. Paul Naidoo says:

    Hi Freud ,Great stuff Today 25/08 I am starting out with this hobby of Biltong Making cos I received a Dryer as a 60th Birthday present . Thank you for the receipe .I shall keep you posted of the outcome.Following your simple recipe, success is assured .Also going to try Dry wors later

  9. Maurice says:

    Hi All,
    Another Saffa living in London who just bought there first dryer today. Now I am wondering if you can help me out? A big favourite here is chilli chutney biltong and I was hoping you could shed some light on hoe to go about marinating this? Mrs. Balls?

    Also interested in finding out if the tenderising tip help?

    Thanks in advance
    Maurice

    • Hiya Maurice,

      Thanks for poppng in. I will scan through my recipes and ask around here in SA for any useful recipes. If I locate anything, I’ll post it asap. In the meanwhile, if any other fine reader of this blog has any useful info – do post it. I can’ promise fabulous wealth, but you can rest in the knowledge that you’ve helped some hungry Saffas and earned our undying gratitude 🙂

      • Aris says:

        As you might guess – you need chilli and chutney 🙂 I would recommend chilli bite biltong spice and some mrs balls diluted in apple cider vinegar. Sprinkle the spice on all sides, then brush on the meat evenly. Pour any left over chutney mix into your arinading tray. Let it marinade for 24 hours, then hang it to dry. You can get the spice in the uk from http://www.biltongbox.com/shop

  10. muhammed says:

    I’d like to know can I mix bicarb n vinegar n spray the meat while it dryin in order for the meat to b preserved as I sell them in packets regards mo

    • Hi Mo,
      Many thanks for this interesting question. I will do some research and post a reply as soon as I’ve got an answer. My initial thoughts are that it sounds entirely plausible. A solution of either saltpetre (potassium Nitrate) or bicarbonate of Soda and vinegar (e.g. half a teaspoon of saltpetre/bicarb to about 500ml of vinegar) ought to help with keeping the mold off the surface (especially in humid climates). However, I will put up a reply with some authoratitive opinions asap.
      Best wishes
      FFC

  11. Valerie Arnott says:

    Hi my name is Val and I live in Australia and have just bought a biltong dryer. I am having a problem with obtaining saltpetre any clues as to where I can get some or what I can substitute. Would be very glad to hear

    • Hi Val,
      Great to hear from you. I have received your query and will reply full asap.

      PS. You’re not a relative of Graeme Arnott, the well known bird painter are you?

      • Joan Thomas says:

        Noted Val’s message. I don’t use saltpetre at all, having heard somewhere that is isn’t very good for one. No Bicarb either. I use the 100watt globe in my drying box or if air drying have a electric fan blowing on it when I am at home, If I do get a bit of mould I give the meat a squirt of brown vinegar from a spray bottle & that seems to take care of it. Haven’t had any complaints so far!!
        Doesn’t affect the flavour either. Cheers JT

      • Hi Joan,
        Many thanks for your visit and your valuable input. I’ve also recently read of saltpetre’s bad rep, and while only small amounts are used in biltong – I think it’s wise to either go REALLY sparingly or simply avoid using it altogether.

        I tried putting a 100W globe in my drier but it dried the edges of my biltong out too quickly, necessitating trimming before eating, and that didn’t go down too well with the Scot ancestry (ahem).

        Thanks again for your comments Joan.
        FFC

    • Hi Val,

      I am glad to be the bearer of good news.
      Firstly, saltpetre (potassium nitrate) is not essential in the making of biltong. I have gone to my books in search of historical references to biltong making and it appears that the rural famers often omitted the use of saltpetre in their recipes.

      The references I have, attribute the use of saltpetre primarily as giving the meat its characteristic red colour with only one (informal) reference to the prevention of mould.

      In the book Sheltering Desert (Henno Martin) – a survival account from 1939 to 1942, the two geologists only salted their meat. In many parts of Namibia, the settler descendants also omit the use of saltpetre, resulting in the meat taking on a black appearance (but definitely maintaining its delicious taste)

      So…
      It is entirely possible to omit the saltpetre altogether. If you are still concerned about the possibility of mould appearing on the meat, I would add about a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to the soaking mixture (for 2kgs of meat). This ought not to alter the taste, but should keep the nasties off.

      I have just seen Joan Thomas’ valuable input about giving the meat a spray of brown vinegar (thank you Joan)…

      AND….
      There is even more good news for you.
      If you go to http://www.mistygully.com.au/ (I’m sure there are other suppliers) you will be able to procure curing salts for your biltong. I gather this company has successfully replaced the potassium nitrate with sodium nitrite and sodium nitrate. Unfortunately I can’t comment on their taste, but the website appears to be popular with home curing enthusiasts.

      I trust this will help you in your quest for delicious biltong. Herewith wishes for success in your effort, and do let me know how you go – even email me a piece 🙂

  12. Ferdi Botha says:

    It sounds really nice, and I hope you won’t mind if I use some of your techniques, pictures and words in a biltong project of mine? Thanks 😀 I really REALLY hope that your OK with it, and that there is no copyright on it, because I didn’t see any on the page 😀

    • Hi there,
      No worries – the photos and contents of the biltong page are free for your personal (non-commercial) use. I would be seriously chuffed if you would put a link to the blog in your writing – as I’d love to visit and see how you’re doing.
      All the best with your project.
      Kind regards
      FFC

    • Hi Ferdi,

      PS – thank you for visiting the site. In future posts, I will be posting more biltong/dry wors and other recipes for readers’ enjoyment – so do pop back.

  13. Jason Kruger says:

    Thanks for taking the time to share your passion with us dude. Got a biltong master for Christmas and cannot wait to start making my man.

    Will share the results with you when I’m done!

    • Hey Jason,

      Thank you for visiting and congrats on the biltong maker – I hope you have many delicious kilograms of nibbles and just as many happy hours of experimenting.

      Please let me know how you get on – and if you have any questions – feel free to ask away – and if I can’t answer it/them – I will find an answer for you.

      Best of luck mate.

  14. Craig Stephens says:

    Howsit boytjies. Man I’m so happy to have found this site. I just finished making my own biltong maker and cant tell you how excited I am to get the first batch going. I have a question though…. I live in Germany now and was wondering if I could make use of the local deer(Reh) for my Kudu replacement. Does anyone have some info regarding this. Any special recipes?
    Thanks a mil.
    Craig Stephens

    • Howzit Craig. Welcome to the blog boet. I hope the recipes posted to date will be helpful and that those to come will cause you to come back soon.

      I can’t speak from experience with Reh, but I have just returned from Jansenville in the Karoo and sampled some local reindeer sosaties (Takbok= reindeer and sosaties are a kind of kebab – for our non-Afrikaans readers). I say ‘local’ because they’ve been grazing local flora for some time before slaughter. The structure of the meat is similar to that of Kudu – with a tendency to be tough unless cooked carefully.

      Mate, I suspect one could make pretty good Kudu lookalike biltong from Reh. I’m pretty sure it won’t taste exactly the same, because of it’s diet (I’m sure you knew that already). I will keep eyes and ears open for anyone with experience in making biltong from exotic species of animal.

      All the best with your biltong maker Craig. Keep in touch and let me know how you get on.

      Kind regards
      FFC

      • Craig Stephens says:

        FFC…..Thanks for the reply. I’m going to try it and get back to you ASAP.
        Lekker man lekker.

  15. Jarike says:

    How do you get that funny smell and taste out of Gemsbok biltong? The normal biltong spice and homemade recipes doesn’t get rid of that “wild” smell. Kudu and Springbok doesn’t have that funny smell or taste.

    • Hi Jarike,
      Thanks for a most interesting question. My short answer to this is to consider increasing the vinegar, pepper and/or coriander content of your spice. Those strong flavours will help to dominate any subtle differences in the meat flavouring.

      The next part of my answer is that the ‘wild’ smell and flavouring of the Gemsbok meat may well be influenced, amongst others things, by such things as the animal’s diet and age . Thus, an old Gemsbok from Namibia will taste slightly different from a young Gemsbok that was raised in the Karoo or farmed on the Highveld. Consequently, spicing will be slightly different.

      Be that as it may, Jarike, I realise that this answer might not help at this time…. However, I am going to take this question with me this weekend to some biltong specialist okes in the Karoo – namely the Biltong Festival or Fees in Somerset East. I will hopefully bring back a suitable answer for you and post it upon my return.

      PS Thanks for your visit. Keep in touch.
      Kind regards
      FFC

  16. Matthew says:

    Thanks for the awesome biltong making advice. I just picked up a biltong maker – as a South African, in South Africa, biltong costs too much!! I’m doing my first version – before seeing your recipe, I got a bit over-excited and gooi’ed too many herbs and spices. I’ll man up and just chow the first lot so i can crack on and try your recipe on the next batch. I’m determined to klap my own biltong while we klap the Pumas next week in the tri-nations!
    I’ll post some feedback on combining vinegars – finally found a virtuous application for all those larnie salad dressing accompaniments the goose has been stockpiling – it may not only be the pumas who get a hiding next week!
    Thanks bru, and hope your face isn’t too pale living so far away from the motherland – the whales are back in the Cape – come pay them a visit!

    • Howzit Matthew

      Thanks for visiting the old blog mate – and well done for starting the biltong making. You won’t be sorry. Don’t worry about the first blapses – it’s all part of the learning curve.

      Stay tuned because I’ve got two B.R.I.L.L.I.A.N.T recipes coming up in the next few days. One is a chilli flavoured biltong and the other is brandy flavoured. I took them out of the drier today and eish – the stuff disappeared faster than… me on lawn-mowing day.

      PS I’m in PE – so still have the boertjie tan haha.

      Thanks again and stay on the good side of the goose.

      Cheers
      FFC

  17. Pingback: Brilliant Biltong (Cognac Flavoured) Recipe–Tried & Tested | Freud Fission Chips

  18. Graham Peace says:

    “In South Africa, we try to avoid using sheep’s fat as it goes rancid before the sausage dries properly – this is replaced with pork fat (spek) or fatty portions of meat.” – July 11, 2011.
    I emigrated a while back and I know things have changed a lot in SA, but I didn’t know things have changed that dramatically.
    Boerewors – pork fat/speck, or lamb/mutton fat (if being frozen for extended period).
    Droewors – sheep tail fat or lamb/mutton fat only.
    Never pork fat/spek in droewors – pork fat will go rancid before sheep’s fat.
    The best “wors” I had in SA was curried wors from an Indian butcher in Dundee Natal.

    Regards
    Graham

    • Howzit Graham,
      Welcome to the blog and thanks for your valuable input. I do believe you’re correct regarding the fat content of the wors. I hope to put up some wors recipes in the future but am in the middle of some rather large changes (hopefully pleasant) which I will also write about in the near future.

      Thanks for visiting and I hope we’ll see you again soon.
      Rgds
      FFC

  19. jacostrauss says:

    Thanks for the Blog FFC.

    I am a Boertjie from the Cape who lived in the UK for a few years as well as three in Aus before moving back to Somerset West. In Melbourne we made our own Biltong as the ones from Myers – although great – were just too blêrrie duur! But now it is getting as expensive in SA, so we are now back to making our own. 😉 And it is rewarding because you can make it exactly as you like it!
    Thanks for refreshing our memories wrt worthwhile recipe combinations we could use with great affect!

    Kaapse Groete
    Jaco Strauss

    • Dagsé Jaco,

      Welcome to the blog boet. I hope the recipes and the other scribblings will be a happy place to visit. Stay tuned because I’ve been a very very lucky recipient of a bunch of meat recipes from a good friend from up there beyond the boerewors gordyn (Pietersburg/Tzaneen region). Naturally, I’ll be sharing them with you all here in the months to come.

      I had a massive shock two weeks ago when buying biltong at Storms River…. R270 per kg!?!?! I had to have a nurse come and give me mouth to mouth :-). After the fourth attempt, my better half threatened to throw me off the bridge without a bungee cord.

      But seriously, best of luck with the biltong making Jaco. Alles van die beste.

      FFC

      • jacostrauss says:

        Thanks man, I will let you know how the current batch I made last night pans out. I used 2 kg of prime rump (with some lovely fat on it) as follows:

        100g of Coriander
        50g of Course Salt
        50g of fine Salt
        60 g of demerara sugar
        30 g of Black pepper

        This I rubbed into the meat and sprinkled with Red Wine Vinegar and a little Worcester Sauce, then allowed it to rest in the fridge for 24 hours. Tonight I will dunk it in the diluted Vinegar solution and hang ’em out to dry. I think i will try the cognac spray on a few pieces while it is drying out just to see how it impacts the taste compared to the control group.
        By Saturday evening I should have a good idea as we would already be digging into the thinner pieces by then – even the kids love it moist!

        And I can’t wait either 😉

        Jaco

      • Nice!!!!
        It’s 1am but my mouth is watering – hope it goes well Jaco.

  20. ANDRE says:

    In my quest to find the best biltong recipe out there, today I am making a 4kg batch using YOUR recipe. One question: your directions say that, on the next day, I should mix one part of the vinegar “blend” with… What “blend?” Do you mean just the straight vinegar?

    • Hi Andre,
      Apologies for the late reply; and also apologies for being a tad unclear about the term “vinegar blend”. In the notes above, I offered a suggestion to vary the flavour of the biltong by adding other vinegars to the malt vinegar (such as Cabernet Sauvignon Balsamic vinegar etc). It is this “blend” to which I was referring. If you don’t feel like experimenting just yet – just use the straight vinegar as you said.

      Here’s wishing you the very best with your batch. May it turn out deliciously.

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