Exhilarating Chilli Biltong recipe–tried and tested

You read it here first folks


Mouth watering chilli biltong lurking in the drier.

Your devoted blogger has a bit of a thing for chillies. However, let me hasten to add that he is not one of those macho types that munch their way through a Scotch Bonnet or Habanero chilli with a smile on his dial. No. While there’s nothing wrong with a lively tingle on the tongue, it’s all about flavour.  I also hope that this recipe is going to go down well with a certain party who shall remain nameless (Hi Gill – how’s Adelaide?), but is most definitely a chilli fiend.

For those who like their rugby snacks hot, this Chilli biltong is sure to be a winner. I myself have tried (and developed) this recipe and I can attest that my IQ went up 130 points, my waist reduced 6 inches and women within a radius of 50km fell upon my neck and declared their undying love for me. Well actually they didn’t – but I am reasonably certain they also didn’t move further away – so that’s a positive.

This chilli biltong is an adaptation of the original recipe by [nailing two pieces of wood…]adjusting the spices and adding Worcestershire sauce and finely chopped chillies at the right moment.

These batches of chilli biltong were successfully made (in a fairly damp coastal climate) without Saltpetre, or Potassium Nitrate. Despite the absence thereof, we achieved a good colouring and avoided any mould. So…… if your government has declared Saltpetre a naughty substance, then you’re in the clear on this score. NO SALTPETRE IN THIS RECIPE.


The end product:- good marbling in the meat, good colouring, excellent flavour and if you’re not salivating copiously, you have no taste buds.

Also, if you’re trying this biltong making lark out for the first time, then you probably won’t want to mix enough spices for 25kg of meat (unless you’re a born and bred South African with a LOT of rugby to watch). Thus, the quantities of spices you see on this page will be for approximately 1.8kg to 2.0 kg of beef silverside.

At this juncture, we need to insert the appropriate flavour disclaimer. The flavouring of food is at best, subjective – one man’s meat and all that….. The mix of spices set out below is what works me and those upon whom I inflict this delicacy. So far, everyone has survived the ordeal and no one has yet actually complained – but it is worth remembering, I have VERY polite friends. So experiment, dear Reader. Once you’ve mixed the spices and vinegars, dip the finger tip into the vinegar and then into the spice mix – taste it and adjust accordingly.

With the Chilli Biltong (as with the Cognac Biltong recipe which you can find here) we will be layering the heat, and you can read more in the notes below.

Right, on with your biltong.


  • 1.8 to 2kb of your butcher’s best Silverside:
  • 60ml rock salt (I use Maldon)
  • 15ml Demarara sugar
  • 3 ml Sodium Bicarbonate – or Bicarb
  • 5 ml Ground Black Pepper
  • 60ml ground Coriander [see ‘notes’ below]
  • 40ml Vinegar mix [consisting of Brown Malt, Honey and Balsamic vinegars. [Yawn…See ‘notes’ below]
  • 20ml Worcestershire Sauce (HP Sauce is also permissible)
  • Chillies…. This is important. If you have any taste buds, you will want to read the notes below.
  • Another batch of 30ml vinegar (20ml Brown Malt Vinegar and 10ml Balsamic vinegar) and another few chillies. This is for spraying during the drying process.
  • One CLEAN trigger spray (you can buy these at most supermarkets or cooking supply stores).


  • Make the vinegar mix – in the ‘notes’ below
  • Mix the dry ingredients together
  • Add the roasted and ground Coriander
  • Add the roasted and ground Caraway & Juniper seeds if you’re opting for this
  • Ensure the meat is at room temperature – about 18-21C
  • Rub the spices into the meat. Give it a good massage
  • Liberally sprinkle (about two thirds of the quantity) of vinegar mix onto the meat and massage the meat well – ensuring you get spices on both surfaces as well as the edges (and fatty bits) of the meat.
  • Leave the meat to soak in the spice/vinegar mix for about 10 to 12 hours.

The meat awaiting a generously, deliciously hot, vinegar drizzle.

After the 10-12 hours soak

  • Add 1 litre of boiling water to the remaining 1/3 of the first batch of vinegar. If you live in a humid area (like Borneo or in a yellow submarine), add another 30ml of brown malt vinegar
  • Insert the plastic hooks into the meat and quickly dip it into the vinegar solution to remove any surface spices. Remove quickly and allow to drip.
  • Hang the biltong in your drying area. As per normal
  • After the first 24 hours of drying, take your trigger spray magafter [that is South African for ‘thingamabob] and insert the suction pipe into the container of vinegar/chilli mix (second mixture in ‘ingredients – above). Give the meat a SHORT spray. Don’t soak the meat – remember the subtlety thing.
  • Repeat after another 48 hours. NB Do not taste test the meat while it is still wet. The taste you want to test is of the meat in its drier state.

The informal (but satisfyingly effective) spray ‘magafter’. I sprayed the meat twice during the 4 day drying stage for best flavour (4 days in a humid climate).


Spices – Roasting and grinding.
Preferably, roast and grind the three spices separately. In this way you will get an idea whether you want to add the Caraway or Juniper seeds and the respective quantities.

Coriander. It is entirely permissible to use the ground Coriander bought from the supermarket. However, freshly roasted and ground seeds taste and smell so much better.

If you buy the Coriander in seed form, lob the required quantity into a dry pan over a medium heat. Watch it like a hawk and as soon as the seeds start to turn brown (or give off the first hint of smoke), whip them off the heat and into the mortar and pestle for a good grinding. For maximum benefit, do the roasting and grinding on the day you’re making the biltong.

Vinegar Mix

  • The vinegar mix I used was a follows:
  • The 40 ml of vinegar was made up of
  • 20ml of Brown Malt Vinegar,
  • 10ml Honey Vinegar and
  • 10ml Balsamic vinegar.

The biltong will taste quite satisfactory with just the plain old Brown Malt Vinegar – and you may well prefer it that way. I simply added the others for the ‘gourmet’ flavouring.

Mix the above vinegars together and add the Worcestershire Sauce and the chillies

Put the mixture into a stainless steel saucepan (with lid on) and heat gently over a very low heat for approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. Do not boil. You want to steep the chilli in the vinegar mix to extract the capsaicin. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool.

Be careful when taste-testing, as this mixture has been known to cause involuntarily and curious outbreaks of Irish dancing and Swiss yodelling.

A little about chillies.


The chilli ID parade – aka The Sunday Peppers

The availability of fresh chillies will depend on where you are in the world. Habanero, Thai, Serrano, Jalapeño (pronounced ‘Hah-lah-pen-yo’ – the ‘hah’ has to be uttered as if you wished to expel a popcorn husk from your throat) chillies are probably available globally, while the African Bird’s Eye chilli – from which piri piri or peri peri is made – may possibly be only available in Africa – not sure.

The Habanero, Jalapeño and Bird’s Eye chillies are easily identifiable by their unique flavours, and I personally prefer the flavour of the Habanero. But it will be your choice entirely.

For this recipe, I used four Habanero chillies because in the first batch of vinegar (i.e. the marinade) and three Bird’s Eye chillies for the spray mix. My first attempts using a combination of Habanero, Jalapeño and Bird’s Eye Chillies, the results were less than pleasing.

Above all, please be aware of the consequences and discomfort arising from the injudicious ingestion of the strong chillies…. Oh, and do be careful after cutting up the chillies…. Even after washing your hands, avoid rubbing your eyes (or, if you’re male – adjusting the gentleman’s area) as a mistake of this nature will be memorable. To avoid all such mishaps, don a pair of disposable latex gloves for the occasion.

So there you are dear Reader. Be brave, and have a bash – you’ll be so glad you did. Best of luck – and, as always, let me know how you go.

Look at that!!!! A sight to gladden the heart of any biltong lover.

Look at that!!!! A sight to gladden the heart of any biltong lover.

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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