Learn the step-by-step process of making delicious and authentic biltong at home

How to make biltong

If you’ve ever had biltong before, you know how delicious and addictive this South African dried meat snack can be. Made from lean game meats or silverside, biltong is the perfect combination of flavor, texture, and convenience. Whether you want to make your own biltong because it’s not easily found where you live or you just want to try your hand at this classic African food, we’re here to guide you through the process.

One of the best things about making biltong is that it’s relatively easy to do. Using simple ingredients and a process that involves marinating, spicing, and air drying the meat, you can create your own batches of this delicious snack. You don’t even need a dehydrator or other fancy equipment – all you need is some patience and a few essential tools.

When it comes to the marinade, there are a few key ingredients that will give your biltong that unique flavor. Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and ground pepper are the most common spices used, but you can always experiment with different flavors and spice levels to suit your taste. Some people even recommend adding a touch of brown sugar for a hint of sweetness.

Once your meat is marinated, you can move on to the drying step. Biltong traditionally dries in an open area with good air circulation, but if you don’t have access to that, you can also use a dehydrator or even your home oven set at a low temperature. Just be sure to monitor the drying process to avoid overcooking the meat.

As your biltong dries, you’ll notice that it gradually changes color from red to a rich brown or black. This is a sign that your biltong is ready to be eaten. To check if it’s properly dried, the meat should feel firm but still have some flexibility. Once it reaches this stage, you can store it in an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bag to preserve its flavor.

Now that you know all the tips and tricks of making biltong, it’s time to gather your ingredients and get started. Whether you want to enjoy this delicious snack on your own or share it with friends and family, the process of making biltong is a rewarding one that will surely satisfy your cravings.



If you’ve ever had biltong before, you know that it’s a delicious and savory dried meat snack. Similar to jerky, biltong is a traditional African food that has a long history in Southern Africa. Biltong is typically made from lean silverside or other high-quality meats, which are sliced into strips and then marinated in a mixture of vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and spices.

To make biltong, you’ll need a few essential tools and ingredients. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to create your very own biltong at home:

Step 1 Open the pack of silverside or other lean meat and cut it into thin strips. You can also ask your butcher to do this for you if you prefer.
Step 2 Prepare your spiced marinade by mixing Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, salt, and any other spices you want to add. The classic biltong spice blend typically includes coriander, paprika, and garlic powder.
Step 3 Pour the marinade over the meat strips and make sure they are coated evenly. You can let the meat marinate for a few hours to overnight, depending on how strong you want the flavor to be.
Step 4 Hang the marinated meat strips on hooks in a well-ventilated area or use a dehydrator if you have one. Biltong needs to dry quite quickly, so a dehydrator can speed up the process. Ensure that the temperature is set to high to create the perfect drying conditions.
Step 5 Leave the biltong to dry for at least 2-3 days, or until it is completely dried out. The drying time may vary depending on the thickness of the meat strips and humidity levels in your environment.
Step 6 Once the biltong is dried, it should be firm and slightly moulded. If any moisture or wetness remains, it needs to dry for longer. It should not be rock hard or brittle.
Step 7 Slice the biltong into thin pieces and enjoy as a snack or as part of a meal. Biltong is perfect for adding a rich, savory flavor to soups, stews, or salads.

There are many different recipes and methods for making biltong, so feel free to experiment with the flavors and spices you use. Some people like to add chili flakes or other hot spices to give their biltong an extra kick. Just remember to keep the meat lean and the spices balanced for the best results.

One additional consideration for making biltong is the use of a vacuum sealer. By vacuum-sealing your biltong in batches, you can extend its shelf life and keep it fresh for longer.

So, if you’re craving a taste of South Africa, why not try making your own biltong? With just a few ingredients and some patience, you can create a delicious and flavorful snack that will transport you to the sunny streets of Cape Town.

How I make it

Making biltong is an easy process that can be done at home with a few simple ingredients. Here’s how I make it:

  1. Start by selecting a lean cut of meat, such as silverside, and cut it into thin strips.
  2. In a bowel, mix together the marinade. I like to use a classic South African spice mixture made up of salt, pepper, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and a few other spices for added flavor.
  3. Next, pour the marinade over the meat and make sure each strip is well coated.
  4. Once the meat is marinating, I recommend using an Umai bag or a similar vacuum sealing method to allow the flavors to penetrate the meat.
  5. After a few hours or overnight, I take out the marinated meat and hang it on hooks in a well-ventilated area to air dry.
  6. Drying times will vary depending on the thickness of the meat, the humidity of the environment, and your desired level of dryness. I find that leaving it to dry for 3-5 days produces the best results.
  7. Once the biltong is dried to your liking, it’s ready to be enjoyed! Slice it thinly and serve as a snack or use it in recipes.

Making biltong is a process that has a rich history in South African food culture. The origins of biltong can be traced back to the need to preserve meat in a hot climate without refrigeration. Today, it has become a popular snack around the world, loved for its unique flavor and texture.

If you’re considering making your own biltong, here are a few tips:

  • Choose lean cuts of meat for the best results.
  • Experiment with different spices and marinades to find your perfect flavor.
  • Invest in a good quality dehydrator or make your own drying box using an ember or low heat method.
  • Listen to your meat – it will tell you when it’s ready. The biltong should feel firm and slightly springy to the touch.
  • For a more traditional biltong flavor, use game meats such as venison or ostrich.
  • Remember to slice the biltong against the grain for the most tender texture.

With these recommendations and a little bit of patience, you can create your own delicious batch of homemade biltong. Enjoy!

Create your perfect biltong recipe

If you’re a fan of dried meats, biltong is a must-try. It’s a lean, spiced meat product that originates from South Africa and is loved by many. Making your own biltong is easier than you might think, and it allows you to customize the recipe to your liking. In this article, we will guide you through the process of creating your perfect biltong recipe.

First, you will need to choose the type of meat you want to use. The most common cut for biltong is silverside, but you could also try using other cuts like brisket or game meats. Lean meats work best for biltong, as they dry more quickly and have a better texture. Once you have your meat, it’s time to prepare the marinade.

A classic biltong marinade consists of vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, and a variety of spices. The exact mix of spices is up to you, but most recipes include black pepper and coriander. Feel free to experiment and add your favorite flavors. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and then pour it over the meat, ensuring it’s well coated. Let the meat marinate for at least 24 hours to absorb all the flavors.

Once the meat has marinated, it’s time to spice it up. You can use a pre-made biltong spice mix or create your own. Many biltong lovers have their secret spicing methods, so don’t be afraid to get creative. Coat the meat with the spice mixture, making sure it’s evenly distributed. If you prefer a milder taste, you can skip this step or use less spice.

Now that your meat is marinated and spiced, it’s time to start the drying process. There are several methods you can choose from, depending on what equipment you have available. The most common method is using a biltong box or dehydrator. These devices simulate the warm, dry South African climate that speeds up the drying process. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also hang the meat up to dry in a cool, dry place with good air circulation.

One popular option among biltong enthusiasts is using a vacuum seal bag with a UMAi Dry® filter. This innovative method allows the meat to dry slowly while protecting it from mold. It’s a great choice if you want to ensure the best quality and flavor for your biltong.

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure that the biltong is hanging or placed on a surface where air can circulate all around it. This will help ensure that it dries evenly and doesn’t develop any mold. The drying process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the thickness of the meat and your preference for the final texture.

Once the biltong has dried to your desired texture, it’s time to enjoy your homemade delight. Slice the biltong into thin strips, and it’s ready to be savored. Biltong can be enjoyed as a snack on its own, added to salads, or used as a flavor-packed ingredient in your favorite dishes.

In conclusion, making your own biltong allows you to experiment with different flavors and customize the recipe to your liking. With the right preparation and drying methods, you’ll be able to create a delicious biltong that is just as good if not better than store-bought ones. So, get your spices, mix them up, and embark on the biltong-making journey!

Origins of biltong

Biltong is a traditional African food that has a long history. It is thought to have originated from the indigenous tribes in Southern Africa, who used to air-dry meats to preserve them for long periods of time. The word “biltong” is derived from the Dutch words “bil” meaning buttock and “tong” meaning strip, referring to the cuts of meat that are used.

The process of making biltong involves marinating lean cuts of meat, like silverside, in a spiced vinegar mixture. The marinade usually includes ingredients like salt, pepper, brown sugar, worcestershire sauce, coriander, and other spices to add flavor. The meat is then hung up to dry in a cool, dry place, like an ember oven or a dehydrator. The drying process can take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks, depending on the size of the meat and the desired texture.

The key to making biltong is to ensure that the meat is properly spiced and dried. Traditional recipes recommend using a mix of ground coriander, black pepper, and brown sugar to achieve the perfect flavor. Some variations may also include additional spices like garlic powder or chili flakes for a more intense taste. It is also important to use high-quality meat and to trim off any excess fat to prevent spoilage during the drying process.

There are different considerations when it comes to the preparation of biltong. Some people prefer to use a vacuum sealer to aid in the marinating process, while others prefer to simply mix the marinade ingredients together and pour it over the meat. The choice of spices and the duration of marinating will also affect the final flavor of the biltong.

Biltong is a versatile product and can be enjoyed in many different ways. It can be eaten as a snack on its own or added to dishes like salads, sandwiches, or even stews for an extra kick of flavor. It has a unique texture that is chewy and moist, making it a popular choice for meat lovers. Some people even compare it to jerky, although the taste and texture are quite different.

If you’re interested in making your own biltong, there are a few tips and recommendations to keep in mind. Firstly, it’s important to have access to good quality meat that is lean and free from any signs of spoilage. Secondly, having the right spice mix and marinating the meat for the right amount of time is essential in achieving the desired flavor. Lastly, make sure to have the necessary equipment, like hooks or a dehydrator, to properly dry the meat.

In conclusion, the origins of biltong can be traced back to the indigenous tribes of Southern Africa. Today, it has become a popular food item around the world, thanks to its unique flavor, texture, and long shelf life. Whether you enjoy it as a snack or as an ingredient in your favorite recipes, biltong definitely adds a touch of African flair.

What are the best meats for biltong

When it comes to making biltong, choosing the right meat is essential to ensure a delicious and flavorful end product. While the classic recipe calls for lean beef, there are other meats that can also be used to create this South African delicacy.

One of the most popular choices, besides beef, is game meat. Whether it’s venison, ostrich, or another type of game, these meats add a unique and rich flavor to the biltong. They are also lean and high in protein, making them a healthy alternative.

If you’re looking for something different, you could try using chicken or turkey. These white meats can be marinated and spiced just like the beef, resulting in a lighter and milder-flavored biltong.

For those who prefer pork, it’s important to note that biltong made with pork is technically called “jerky” due to the difference in preparation and drying method. However, if you want to experiment, pork can still be used to create a spiced and dried product similar to biltong.

When choosing your meat, consider the cut. Lean cuts are recommended as they will dry quicker and have a more intense flavor. For beef, cuts like silverside, topside, and sirloin are commonly used. Game meats are often ground down to create a biltong mixture.

Once you have your chosen meat, the next step is to prepare the marinade. A mixture of vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and spices like coriander, pepper, and sugar are commonly used. Some recipes also call for the addition of black pepper or other ground spices to enhance the flavor.

To marinate the meat, mix the spices together and pour it over the meat, ensuring that it is coated evenly. Then, let it sit in the marinade for at least 1 hour, but overnight marination is recommended for the best flavor. If you’re using a dehydrator or UMAi bags for the drying process, they might also provide additional recommendations for marinading time.

When it’s time to dry the meat, there are a few different methods you can use. The traditional method involves hanging the meat on hooks in an open, ventilated area with good airflow. This allows the meat to dry slowly over a period of several days or weeks, depending on the desired texture.

If you’re looking for a quicker drying time, you can use a dehydrator or UMAi bags. These methods speed up the drying process while still maintaining the classic biltong flavor. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.

Regardless of the meat you choose or the method you use, making biltong is a relatively easy process that anyone can do at home. By marinating the meat, listening to your taste buds, and experimenting with different spices and flavors, you can create a biltong that is perfect for your preferences.

So, whether you’re a biltong enthusiast or new to this African delicacy, don’t be afraid to try different meats and techniques to find your own unique flavor. Enjoy the history, flavor, and process of making biltong!

Preparation considerations

When it comes to making biltong, there are several important preparation considerations to keep in mind.

Firstly, you need to ensure that you are using the right cut of meat. Traditionally, biltong is made from the silverside of beef, but you can also use other meats like game or even fish. The key is to choose a lean cut of meat without too much fat.

Next, you will need to marinate your meat in a spiced mixture. There are many different recipes and marinade variations available, but a classic biltong marinade often includes ingredients like vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and sugar. Experiment with the spicing to create a marinade that suits your taste.

Once your meat has been marinated, you will need to remove it from the marinade and allow it to air dry. In traditional biltong making, the meat would be hung on hooks and left to dry in the open air, but you can also use a dehydrator if you prefer. The drying process can take several days or longer, depending on the thickness of the meat and your desired level of dryness.

During the drying process, it is essential to control the humidity and temperature. You want to create an environment that is dry and cool, around 20-24 degrees Celsius (68-75 degrees Fahrenheit), to prevent the growth of bacteria and ensure that the meat dries evenly.

Another important consideration is the size of your biltong. The thickness of the meat will affect the drying time, so it’s best to slice your meat into thin strips or bite-sized pieces. Thinner strips will dry faster, but if they are too thin, they may become overly dry and tough.

In addition to the drying process, some people also recommend using a vacuum sealer to speed up the marinating process. This method allows the flavors of the marinade to penetrate the meat more quickly and evenly.

Once your biltong has dried to your desired level of dryness, it’s time to enjoy your homemade South African treat! Whether you prefer it moist and chewy or dry and crispy, biltong is a versatile and delicious snack that can be enjoyed on its own or added to other dishes for extra flavor.

Remember, making biltong is a process that requires patience and attention to detail. It may take a few batches to perfect your technique, but with practice, you will be able to create a delicious and authentic biltong product that will impress your friends and family. So why not give it a try and dive into biltong making?

Spice up your biltong

If you’re a fan of biltong, you know that the classic recipe is delicious on its own. But why not take it up a notch and add some extra flavor to your biltong? Adding spices and experimenting with different flavors can take this already tasty snack to a whole new level. Here are some tips and recommendations on how to spice up your biltong:

Step 1: Start with a lean cut of meat, like silverside, and open it up to access the inside. You’ll want to remove any excessive fat or connective tissue to ensure the best result.
Step 2: Mix together the essential spices for biltong, like coriander seeds, black pepper, and salt. But don’t stop there! Experiment with other spices that you like, such as paprika, cayenne pepper, or even a dash of cinnamon for a unique twist.
Step 3: Pour your spice mix over the meat, making sure it is evenly coated. Massage the spices into the meat for a few minutes to ensure they penetrate the surface.
Step 4: For added flavor, consider marinating the meat in a mixture of Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, and a few drops of liquid smoke. This will infuse the meat with a smoky and tangy flavor.
Step 5: If you’re using a dehydrator, hang the marinated meat on hooks or lay it on the drying racks. If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can use an oven set to a low temperature instead.
Step 6: Let the meat dry for a few days until it reaches your desired level of dryness. It should still be slightly moist on the inside for the perfect texture.
Step 7: Once your biltong is ready, it’s time to enjoy the flavors you’ve created! It can be eaten as is or used in various recipes, like biltong jerky or even as a topping for salads.

Spicing up your biltong is not only a fun and creative process, but it also allows you to tailor the flavor to your taste preferences. Whether you prefer a classic spice blend or want to try something completely different, the method of making biltong is versatile enough to accommodate any combination. So grab your spices and get ready to embark on a flavor-filled journey with your homemade biltong!

Step 1: Pour and mix the vinegar and Worcestershire in a bowl

To start the preparation of making biltong, the first step is to pour and mix the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl. These two ingredients are essential for creating the perfect marinade that will spice up the biltong.

Biltong is a dried meat product that has a long history in Southern African cuisine. Traditionally, it was made from lean cuts of silverside or ground beef, but nowadays, other meats can also be used.

The vinegar and Worcestershire sauce add a tangy and spicy flavor to the biltong, enhancing its taste. The vinegar also acts as a tenderizer, breaking down the proteins in the meat and making it more tender.

Once the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce are mixed together, you can add other spices and seasonings of your choice to create your own unique biltong recipe. Some popular spices used include black pepper, ground pepper, and various spice blends.

If you’re looking to speed up the process, you can also use a biltong maker or a dehydrator that has been specifically designed for making biltong. These machines provide optimal conditions for drying the meat and can significantly reduce the drying time.

Another method that is commonly used is the Umai Dry bags, which create a high-speed vacuum in which the meat dries. This method is easy to use and produces excellent results.

Once the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce are mixed with the desired spices, pour the marinade over the meat and make sure it is evenly coated. It’s important to listen to your taste preferences and adjust the amounts of vinegar and Worcestershire sauce accordingly.

After the meat has been marinated, it’s time to move on to the next step in the biltong-making process. Make sure to follow the specific instructions of your chosen recipe to ensure the best results.

There are many different recipes and techniques for making biltong, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you. Whether you prefer a classic, traditional biltong or want to try something new and unique, the marinade is an essential part of the process.

So, pour and mix the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl, and let your taste buds guide you as you create your own delicious biltong!


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