What is biltong?
Biltong is a centuries old, traditional mildly spiced, salted and air-dried meat product that originated in South Africa. The word comes from the Dutch word ‘BIL’, which means buttock and ‘TONG’, which means strip.
Biltong in its earliest form, was brought to the Southern tip of Africa, by the Dutch settlers in the 1600’s. History tells us that these early pioneers, made biltong by hanging large strips of raw meat under the horses’ saddles, to be cured by the salty sweat of the horses. This salty sweat would preserve the meat whilst at the same time the pounding from the horse rider would tenderize it. This “process” helped provide a reliable and rich source of protein that would keep for months.
Of course nowadays the process of making biltong has slightly changed and no longer involves horses and their saddles 🙂
Biltong remains very much part of South Africa’s heritage, being produced and eaten for the last 400 years and is enjoyed by many South Africans, as well as those who visit the country.
There are typically two types of Biltong, beef and game (of which there are a number of different types e.g. Kudu, Springbok and Gemsbok). Beef is the most commonly used meat for making Biltong, and therefore, the most readily available.
Is biltong similar to beef jerky?
There have been some heated debates over the years and ultimately, it’s a matter of personal taste, but if you are South African, biltong has no equal and national pride is at stake! Both biltong and jerky are forms of dried meat, the main difference being in the preparation methods used for the products being vastly different.
Biltong has its origin in South Africa and has spread to Europe and Australasia along with South African expats, whilst Beef Jerky is common in America and the Caribbean.
Beef Jerky is normally a very thin meat when compared to the meat used in Biltong. Biltong meat is traditionally cut in strips approximately 1 inch wide (2.5-3cm) but can be found to be even thicker.
The vinegar, salt, coriander and other spices used in the preparation of biltong, together with the drying process, cures the meat as well as adding texture and flavour.
Jerky is traditionally dried without vinegar and cooked first.
Beef jerky contains a lot of of non-natural ingredients to enhance the taste and shelf-life of the product, which leads to a product with low nutritional value that mostly does not taste great at all.
As biltong is not cooked, but air-dried, the meat retains much more of its natural proteins and nutrients. It is therefore not surprising that a few slices of biltong, contains more proteins and vitamins than a protein bar.
It is therefore ideal to be enjoyed as pre/post-workout meal, a light snack or even as a meal replacement. Traditionally in South Africa, biltong is enjoyed with an ice cold beer or glass of wine, whilst watching sport and having a “braai” (South African BBQ).
What makes us different?
Here at BiltongBoyz we are obsessed with top quality and great tasting Biltong and with our experience and knowledge we class ourselves as experts in South African cured meat.
How should I store my Biltong?
To get the best ‘life’ out of your biltong, care needs to be taken to store it properly and avoid any spoilage. After all, it is a natural ‘moist’ food substance and not indestructible as some people might think!
The only reason for biltong or any other dried meat to go off, is due to incorrect storage! MOISTURE + OXYGEN + WARMTH = MOULD.
You can keep biltong fresh in the fridge or even in the freezer, however, we cannot advise you as to how long. It is safe to say, that the choice is inevitably yours (see the section on shelf-life for a guideline).
Biltong is a natural product, which needs to be stored in a natural way. Although we offer a few options of “how you like your biltong”, please take note that the “wetter” you like your biltong, the faster is can go mouldy. The more moisture in food, the higher the probability that mould can occur, (no matter what preservatives some companies use). So please take extra care when storing moist biltong. The Southern African climate is warm and humidity levels are generally below 30%, perfect for making and keeping biltong for long period of time. Here in Malta it is more humid and not great for making or preserving biltong!
It is advisable to always store in the fridge and if the bag has been opened, just close it with clothes pin/paperclip or store the biltong in a brown paper bag in the fridge.
If you have frozen your biltong, it will naturally release moisture once it starts to defrost. Make sure it is aired and that any moisture that is being released as a result, evaporates away. Keep mixing the biltong up to get it to start loosening. Daub the biltong with a kitchen towel to remove any excess moisture.
Never store in a sealed container, it will sweat. This will lead to mould. Biltong needs to ‘breathe’!
All the Biltong we make is made fresh in a registered premise that holds all required certification and is inspected on a regular basis to verify that our high standards are being maintained.
Our Biltong is made in small batches on a continuous run meaning you’ll always receive fresh, high quality produce with each and every order.
We hold customer satisfaction to the highest regard and if you have any suggestions, questions or comments please don’t hesitate to contact us.
What shelf-life does the biltong have?
It must be kept in mind that despite being sealed and vacuum packed, biltong and drywors are meat products and should be consumed sooner, rather than later. It is advisable to always store in the fridge and if the bag has been opened, just close it with clothes pin. Remember to never put it in a sealed container, as it will sweat and mould will be the result. For best flavour and taste, biltong and drywors should be consumed within 2 weeks, but can be kept for up to 8 weeks in the fridge.
How do you like your biltong?
You can have your biltong med/wet or dry and with fat/lean. Med/Wet is very soft and tender whilst dry is a bit more chewy. Consider how you order your steak when in a restaurant, the same logic applies here.
We do or very best to carry out your requests. Please understand that it is not possible for us to be mind-readers, if you want your order any different (sliced differently) please leave us a note at check and we will try and accommodated your request!
Why does my Biltong have white on it?
Occasionally, depending on the humidity in your area, the dried Biltong may appear to have a touch of white. This is salt trying to re-hydrate and is completely safe, feel free to wipe it off with vinegar if you would prefer it without.
Refunds and returns, how do they work?
In the unlikely event that you have a complaint with our product, please notify us by email within 24 hours of receipt of your order, giving full details of the condition of goods and packaging. We generally want photo’s and would like the biltong back to do lab tests to find out what has happened.
All complaints will be dealt with on merit, and refunds or replacements will be made at the discretion of the management. Failure to notify us within this time period will void our guarantee.
Why is my Biltong not pink like in the picture?
It is worth mentioning that before slicing the Biltong it is medium pink in the centre, just like in the picture. However, slicing causes oxidation which causes a change in colour, this does not affect the texture, tenderness or flavour of the biltong.