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Biltong sliced and ready to serve
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5 from 2 votes

Authentic Biltong Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 lbs. beef silverside or topside
  • 4 tablespoons salt
  • 8 tablespoons coriander
  • 4 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin optional
  • 10 ounces balsamic vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce

Instructions

  • First, cut the meat along the grain into strips roughly ½ an inch thick, and around 8 to 10 inches long. The length of the strips will depend on the height of your dryer, as the meat must not touch the tray at the bottom.
  • Place the meat in a mix of Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar making sure each part of the meat is moistened in the mix – you can set the meat aside to marinade in the fridge for between 30 minutes to an hour. The point of using the vinegar is to make sure any bacteria are neutralized. The Worcestershire sauce just adds depth of flavor to the biltong. You can use red wine vinegar rather than balsamic vinegar if you prefer. (Photo by V. Edgar)
    meat after being soaked in vinegar mix
  • Some people soak their meat in salt first, then rinse off the salt before placing it in the vinegar, but it can make the meat very salty, so many omit the salt soak, and add the salt to the spice mix instead. Salt is essential to let the meat dry and cure properly.
  • While the meat is soaking, prepare your spice mix. (Photo by V. Edgar)
    the spice blend
  • Toast the coriander seed in a dry pan on medium heat, shaking the pan frequently so the seeds toast evenly and release their flavor without burning, then grind them in a mortar and pestle – leaving them quite coarse.
  • Grind your black peppercorns coarsely just before adding to the mix, if you want, the best flavor. Try to avoid grinding the peppercorns too fine.
  • Mix the coriander, black pepper, ground cumin and salt.
  • Remove meat from the vinegar / Worcestershire sauce mix, pat dry it with a clean kitchen cloth, then coat evenly with the spices. (Photo by V. Edgar)
    covering the meat in the spices
  • As each piece is covered in spice, set it aside in a dish until you are ready to hang it up to dry. (Photo by V. Edgar)
    meat ready to hang in dryer
  • Hang the meat up in your dryer – paper clips, bent into a hook shape will do just fine, as you can see in the photo below, but if you want meat hooks you can get them here. (Photo by V. Edgar)
    meat hanging in biltong box
  • Leave the meat to dry for between 24 hours to 4 days in the biltong maker, and close to a day if using a dehydrator. It all depends on the type of dryer and thickness of the meat as to how soon your meat is ready. If you are hanging the meat in a room with a fan it may take up to 10 days to dry. You need a coolish temperature (less than 86 F / 30 C), and sufficient air flow for the best quality biltong. The idea is to retain the flavor of the beef by removing the majority of the moisture evenly. If the air flow is too strong, it will dry the outside of the meat, and the inside won’t cure properly.