Biltong is a firm favourite in South Africa and goes with every occasion, so why not make your own and play around with some new ideas? Visit Junk Mail today for affordable biltong making machines.
How to make your own biltong (the South African way)
Step 1: Choose the right meat
There are quite a variety of meats that can be used for biltong, but beef and game are the most popular options. You can select meat according to your preference, taking into account the cut, ageing, and fat content, just like you would when buying meat for a braai. Do keep in mind that fatty meats are more likely to spoil during the drying process.
As a general rule, you can work with 2kg batches of meat, but you have to keep in mind that meat loses a lot of its weight during the drying process.
Step 2: Prepare the meat
When preparing the meat, you’ll need to cut off excessive fat. This will help in the drying process and improve the longevity of the biltong, although you can still leave some fat around the edges if that is how you like it. Make sure not to cut the slices too thick. 1 cm in thickness and about 20cm in length is ideal. Also, try to cut the meat along the grain. Cut out any cartilage/tendons/sinew as these pieces are very difficult to chew when dried.
Remember, longer strips of meat are more efficient for drying and will require the use of fewer drying hooks.
When you’re done cutting everything, you can season the meat. Look for recipes on the internet and use one that is more appealing to you. You’ll likely require vinegar, salt, pepper and some other herbs and spices, whatever you prefer.
You can use a plate to lay out the meat and apply basting and seasoning evenly. Allow the steaks to marinate in the fridge for 2 hours before you proceed to the drying phase.
Step 3: Leave it to dry
Use a biltong maker to dry the pieces of meat. This helps you control the heat and avoid unwanted guests like flies. A biltong maker helps you create the right environment for the drying process. If the environment is too cold or too humid, the batch will spoil.
Insert the hooks through the thickest end of the meat, so this part can be at the top. Hang the biltong with enough space between each of the pieces, as they are not allowed to touch each other, EVER. Also, make sure that none of the pieces are touching the sides of the machine. Always remember to put on the cover right after hanging the meat to ensure that no insects enter and spoil the batch.
Depending on how you like your biltong, the type of meat you’re using, and how much you are drying at a time, the drying process might take anything from 24 hours to 10 days, maybe longer.
- Don’t store your biltong in a plastic bag, unless it is vacuum-sealed.
- You can leave your biltong hanging in the machine (if it is closed) or store it in the fridge.
- If you want your biltong to last even longer, you can vacuum seal and freeze it for up to three months.
Cleaning your biltong maker
After each use, you can use a damp cloth to clean the biltong maker. Remember, this is an electrical appliance, so you can never wash it in the kitchen sink.
Now that you know how to make your own biltong, you can start playing around with ideas before the festive season. Need a biltong maker? Find one on Junk Mail and start experimenting with some recipes today!