The thing about these air-dried meats is that they can be made reasonably quickly more or less from any meat. They can also incorporate any flavours you choose. Having said that traditional beef is the most popular choice. But you can also make biltong and jerky from turkey, pork, wild boar or venison - pretty much any meat.
The difference between the two, biltong being from South Africa, jerky from the Americas, seems to be in the way the meat is cut prior to curing and drying. Biltong is thicker and some jerky is actually made from a paste and dried. However, if you search the internet you will read all kinds of claims about the superior qualities of one over another.
Biltong was made from whatever game was shot at the time, so it could bee beef but equally it might be goat, gazelle, gnu or Ostrich. In these modern times it is more usual to use beef. In America, the story is much the same. Jerky the biltong equivalent, could be made from beef, buffalo, possum or even alligator.
The recipe is very simple and essentially almost not cured - though it is! (You'll soon get the idea) Simple ingredients that are widely available are used and the meat is then cooked very, very slowly at the lowest setting of your oven. It is best if. you use a convection (fan) oven, and if your oven has a defrost setting, so much the better.
Whether this recipe is jerky or biltong we will let you decide.
1) First thinly slice the steak – you want it to be about 5mm thick, 3cm, and roughly 10cm long.
2) Mix all the ingredients for the marinade together in a dish and infuse the onion and garlic in the marinade.
3) Place the slices of steak in the marinade, cover and leave overnight for at least 12 hours in the fridge.
4) Once your meat is marinated, Remove the meat from the marinade and wipe dry, removing any onion from the surface.
5) Set your Dehydrator to 40 Degrees and leave it for 20 hours. Alternatively, you can set the oven at 40°C or lower, and leave to cook for 12 hours. However many oven have a minimum of about 75°C, where you will need to cook it for about 7 hours. Turn every couple of hours.
6) Test the meat for readiness – it should be dry and not squidgy. If you are in any way unsure about it, give it another hour and retest.
You can vary this recipe by adding a tablespoon of honey to the marinade and 100mml boiling water to help dissolve it. You can also smoke your Hilton. either by using one of the artificial methods, liquid or powdered smoke, or in your cold smoker. Personally we think hot smoked is best.
If you don’t want to make your own seasoning we also do a ready-made South African Biltong spice available here.
Watch how to make Biltong in using the Dehydrator here.