We have been asked several times recently “What is Biltong?”. Many people don’t know so read on and find out more about this delicious and traditional South African food. We are making it on the premises so you can come in and try it yourself before you buy.
Basically Biltong is strips of dry cured meat however what makes it so tasty is the process that includes a marinade, seasoning and careful drying. The end result has great depth of concentrated beef flavour with extra spice.
In the 17th century Dutch settlers traveling across Africa brought with them dried meat recipes and traditions. These “voortrekkers” had yet to build up herds of animals and refrigeration did not exist. So whilst they could hunt for large game there was nowhere to store large amounts of meat. They solved the problem by curing strips of the meat using vinegar and rubbing in salts herbs and spices, then hanging the strips out to dry. Within a few days the meat would be preserved from rot and insects. This is the origin of the Biltong eaten today. The word Biltong comes from the Dutch words “bil” meaning rump and “tong” meaning strips.
What is Biltong made of today?
Before refrigeration was widely available all manner of game would have been cured and preserved in this way. Today it is most commonly made from Beef (though Ostrich, Kudu and Springbok are available in southern parts of Africa). In the UK the best quality Biltong is made using Beef cuts such as Silverside or sometimes Sirloin. Lesser cuts and inferior beef will make for a less tasty more chewy experience.
What is Biltong curing process
At Morley Butchers we use the traditional South African technique. First we marinade the beef (We use the finest Scottish beef usually silverside cuts) in a red wine vinegar. Next we cover the meat with a good rub of spices (Pepper, Coriander and salt). For the spicy Chilibite (or Peri-Peri)version we add extra chili. Once the meat has absorbed the flavours it is hung in the specialist air drier for five days. This leaves the meat cured but with enough moisture for easy eating and has the effect of concentrating the quality beef flavours. Delicious. More about Biltong making here >>
When can I buy Biltong?
We always have a supply in the shop and you are welcome to come and taste before you buy.