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Biltong-making in a pinch?  RSS feed

 
J.R. Davis
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Location: VA, USA
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So, coming from the glorious South Africa, I'm rather appalled at American jerky and am wanting to make biltong, but I also want to do it the proper way.

Traditionally, it's seasoned with whole coriander and then hung in the rafters during winter to dry (the Transvaal region of the country gets really cold and dry). Does anyone have any ideas on how to simulate a cold, dry setting in a rented house in suburban VA?
 
Charli Wilson
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Location: Derbyshire, UK
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An unheated room and a fan? Or do you have a pantry or larder style room? Wouldn't be as cold, but it might do.

I admit I just make jerky in the dehydrator, but it isn't anywhere near as good as proper biltong!
 
Marla Kacey
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Location: Wyoming Zone 4
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A freezer is pretty dry - maybe too dry?  How cold does it get where you're from in S. Africa?  Maybe the fridge?

And please tell us what biltong is.  Beef?  Goat?  Seasoned with coriander seed and . . . ?

Good luck!
 
g mac
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Hi, in damper weather you will want to use a biltong box (if you want to make one) with a 60 or 100 watt light to provide warmth to dry the air - and preferably also a fan to better circulate air. If you don't have a biltong box to dry the meat you can also make biltong in your oven - make the pieces smaller (thinner), set oven to lowest temp setting (usually 170 degrees) and leave the door open a crack to circulate air. The oven method will only take 4-6 hours depending on the thickness of the meat. It's not exactly the same but gets you pretty close!

Here is a quick info graphic on making biltong found at www.biltongblog.com (the site has more biltong recipes and also more detail on biltong boxes, dehydrators, South African recipes etc.).

Enjoy!!

Biltong-Recipe-Info-Graphic.png
[Thumbnail for Biltong-Recipe-Info-Graphic.png]
biltong8.jpg
[Thumbnail for biltong8.jpg]
 
J.R. Davis
Posts: 7
Location: VA, USA
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Marla Kacey wrote:A freezer is pretty dry - maybe too dry?  How cold does it get where you're from in S. Africa?  Maybe the fridge?

And please tell us what biltong is.  Beef?  Goat?  Seasoned with coriander seed and . . . ?

Good luck!


Sorry. Didn't see that I had replies until just now. In the Transvaal part of South Africa, I'm not sure, but it can get down to freezing, if not slightly below that, but I think the temperatures used in the rafters would be in the low 40s, upper 30s, maybe. Not exactly sure.

Essentially, biltong is cured, cold-dried meat. It can be beef, ostrich, deer, antelope, there's no set meat. The name goes with the way it's prepared - cured overnight in a mixture of seasonings (bare minimum: salt, coriander, worchestershire/soy sauce/vinegar), rubbed in another seasoning mix, and then hung to dry - I know a couple people who hang their biltong in the spare bathroom, over the tub.

What g mac shared is a decent way to get biltong more quickly and reliably (especially, as he said, in damper weather). Cold drying it can take a couple days-weeks, as the moisture is drawn to the surface and evaporated out, which is why the process doesn't work under moist conditions. Warm-drying, such as with a lightbulb, solar heater, etc, works well and quickly, but I've heard the finished product can sometimes taste a little different - I cannot personally verify that, though.

I happened to find this page on dry-curing, if anyone's interested (http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/ai407e/ai407e18.htm)
 
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