Make Your Own Biltong

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As a step in a new direction today, let’s take a look at creating our own biltong! It’s simple, easy to do, and you can adjust the flavour to match what you’d prefer.

This was my first attempt at making it from scratch, you’ll note to the end I mention things I’d adjust from this. I love the biltong that I’ve made already, you can make it for yourself.

What You’d Need

  • 1.5kg Beef Fillet
  • 2 cups Vinegar(s)
    (Choose flavours, I used Brown and Apple Cider)
  • 50ml Soy sauce
  • Biltong Spice
    (Got mine from Delft Butchery & Deli, you can make your own. The general recipe is usually: 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, coarsely ground; 1 tablespoon black pepper, coarsely ground; 50g salt; 150g brown sugar; 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda)

As you’d no doubt note; the ingredients are quite simple. They should be easy enough for you to get for yourself. It takes several days for the biltong to be ready, it just takes a few hours to prepare and do the steps needed.

Steps

As is the usual for any recipe: make sure everything is clean. Wash whatever you’re going to use, even the hooks you use to hang the biltong up for yourself. If you don’t clean it all you could spoil your attempt and make it rotten.

Beef cuts

1. Cut beef into slices along the grain. Make these as thick as you want, always remember to keep them a reasonable size.

2. Put the beef into a container after you dry it a touch; dab it with a cloth all around.

Beef cuts in vinegars and soy sauce

3. Pour in the vinegars and soy sauce; 2 cups, and 50ml. Make sure it is all around the beef; so pour it everywhere you can.

4. Let it marinade, covered, in the fridge for 30 minutes. This lets the vinegar go into the meat a bit.

5. Take the cuts out the vinegar, dry them up a touch; dabs with a clean cloth will suffice.

Covered in biltong spice for the 24 hours window

6. Cover the pieces in the biltong spice you’ve got on both sides.

7. Put them in the fridge, covered, for around 24 hours at least.

The next day

8. After the 24 hours take them out, if they look like they need more biltong spice you can add more. I didn’t, it had enough on.

9. Hook them up in your biltong maker, for instance a Mellerware Biltong King, turn it on.

It will slowly look dry

10. Leave it for several days, if you want it more dry it would be around 5 days in my experience with this first batch. Keep an eye on it, when it looks ready you can take out a smaller piece to see. If it looks too wet: it isn’t biltong yet.

My final test

11. When it’s ready you can turn off the biltong maker, take it out, and cut it for yourself. You’ve got biltong!

Cut the biltong

Afterthoughts

I did the cuts quite thin, I should’ve made them thicker initially. My 5 days was perfect, you do not want to dry the biltong too much. While I love the biltong I made I can tell you for free that next time I make this recipe of biltong I’ll be making the cuts thicker, and I will not go for the 5 days.

This was just from watching several people share how to make it, then guessed what I should do. The steps became whatever I chose and felt it needed. Hence, it’s here for you to all try for yourselves.

I’m enjoying my biltong already; just for an important note, it went from around 1.5kg raw beef to around 500g biltong. It will lose the moisture and the weight through the steps, so don’t expect to get 1.5kg biltong from this please.