How to make biltong in your own Dryer

This article describes how to make biltong easily and simply. Biltong is an air dried beef that can be purchased from supermarkets.  The beef is put in a dryer over a number of days and then sliced.  I find it delicious but not only that it is good for you.  Biltong is a great source of protein for bodybuilders and aids in the muscle building process.  The protein content is extremely high and the calorie count is low ideal for many diets.  This is my guide for making your own biltong.

Right then! So you are ready to start making the delicious South African delicacy biltong.  Why make your own biltong from home?

  • It is MUCH cheaper
  • You can make the seasoning how you like
  • It is fresh
  • You can choose the amount of fat you like

Before you can make Biltong at home you need to have a place to hang the meat.  This usually is in the form of a biltong box.

You can find my article on how I created my biltong box How to make a biltong box from scratch

Once you are happy with the Biltong box you can start on looking at procuring the meat.  There are many different cuts available and I have tried rump, frying steak, topside and sirloin.  All have had mixed results but given the opportunity I will use Topside.

I prefer topside as it is lean and carries hardly any fat so preparing the meat is quick and simple.  When purchasing your beef look around.  You will often find one of the supermarkets has a deal on for beef joints at some point in time.  Some people say you can freeze and defrost the meat I have never tried this as I like the idea of using fresh meat.

Spices that can be used for biltong:

  • Chilli Flakes
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Coriander
  • Whatever takes you fancy

I have tried many of these different options but I find simplicity is the best and I enjoy the taste of meat not the taste of spice!

How I make biltong – Easy

The simple way to make biltong requires

  • A biltong box
  • A joint of Topside
  • Some rock salt
  • Some peppercorns
  • A pestle and mortar
  • Some vinegar – I have recently been using Cyder vinegar with good results

Cut the meat with the grain into slices about 1cm thick.  The thickness depends on drying time, how moist you like the meat and can only be optimised for your taste buds through trial and error.

 Lay some rock salt on the bottom of a plate.  Lay down a layer of meat, sprinkle some more salt on top, keep layering the meat and adding the salt until you have down all the meat.  The amount of salt you use is dependent on your taste I limit the salt used here as I like the meat taste so I ensure the meat has touched the salt all other but is not covered in salt.

 Place in the fridge for around 30 minutes.  This is a short time compared to what others recommend but again this is due to me not liking my biltong to be too salty.

 Take the meat out of the fridge.  Place some vinegar on a separate plate.  Grind up a liberal amount of peppercorns.  I really go to town with the peppercorns here!

Dip the meat into the Vinegar making sure all sides of the meat go in the vinegar.  Once dipped cover with the ground peppercorns and hang.

I will leave the Biltong hanging for 2 days but this time can depend on how dry you like it.  After a couple of days cut some from the bottom of a hanging piece to try.  I generally leave the meat hanging and cut it when I want it but you can cut it all and leave it in a cool dry place and pick at will.  If you are going to cut and store it, store it in paper bags to avoid mould!

And voila a cheap, healthy tasty treat for you to enjoy