Monday, July 21, 2008

How to make Biltong

Biltong is one of the most delicious foods on the planet. It can be made from a variety of different meats, but for my batch, I used silverside beef. You can make biltong with beef, game or even ostrich. Some people like to avoid red meat, in which case I'd recommend ostrich, although I've never tried it.

What you'll need for the box:
  • large cardboard box
  • wooden rod approx. 1cm thick (long enough to go through the box from side to side)
  • clean wire
  • pliers
  • boxing tape
  • fine mesh (we used thin rubber matting)
  • small lamp with 60watt lightbulb
  • a sharp knife
  • pen & ruler (if you want to be neat)
Firstly, measure a comfortable distance for the rod to skewer the box. Try and keep it level so the pieces of biltong don't slide. I use the ruler and pen to mark precise points for the holes. Be sure to make all holes a tight fit to keep any nasties (like flies) out.

Once the rod is in, cut a few holes about 7cm in diameter and tape the mesh over them. Make a small incision at the bottom of the box and feed the wire through for the lamp. I took the plug off to feed the wire through a smaller hole and put the plug back on afterwards.

And, thats the box.

What you'll need for the biltong:
  • about a kilogram or more of silverside
  • a nice sharp butcher's knife
  • 2 tablespoons of coriander (more like half a cup if whole, but grind it before use)
  • half cup of brown sugar
  • teaspoon of ground pepper
  • tablespoon of coarse salt
  • vinegar (I prefer the brown)
  • chilli flakes (optional)
First, cut your meat into about 1 inch thick strips. I like to have a thin strip of fat on each piece. Sprinkle some vinegar all over each side and leave it while you prepare the spices.

I throw all the spices into a flat dish and stir it all up. Then dip the meat in the spices as if you're crumbing a piece of chicken. You can do half of the meat, then put the chilli in and you'll have a split batch. Just remember which is which. Place all the spiced meat in the fridge for about 2 hours.

While the meat is in the fridge, take the wire and pliers and make little hooks. I cut them at 10cm lengths and make one end small enough to hook the rod, the other a big hook to pierce the meat.

After the 2hrs, you can pierce the thinner end of the meat with the hooks and hang the biltong (NOT touching each other) on the rod. Turn the light on, and close the box. I just place 2 books on top to keep it closed.

Put it in a dry room, and if you have dogs, keep the room closed!

After 3 or 4 days you can take a piece off and give it a test. I like mine to still be a bit wet inside, but some people prefer it dry.

Enjoy, and thank me later...


Piet Kruger said...

Great Post! - The photos are a nice touch and will certainly help anybody interested in making biltong at home. - Well done.

Piet Kruger
Sudwest Biltong & Meat Co.

Ross said...

Thanks Piet,

Yeah, I'm dying to taste this batch. I put it in on Sunday (Tuesday today), so I may check a small piece this evening.