The thing about 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.
Jerky is for those who are on the go. High in protein and it doesn't need to be stored in the fridge. The ideal picnic snack before your evening activities. Having said all that jerky makes a bloody good snack with a pint of beer down the pub. It's a snack of champions and a godsend to Atkins dieters. They say astronauts often request this snack, and who can blame them? These dried meaty sticks of goodness are bursting with flavour and hit the spot when you need a quick meat hit.
Jerky is from the Americas whilst Biltong is from South Africa. Biltong is often cured in vinegar and spices air dried whole then sliced. Beef jerky is sliced, marinated with spices and flavourings, and then cooked with heat, whether that be in a dehydrator or a smoker or just in the oven. Low and slow of course.
The key difference is, Biltong is hung and air-dried, while jerky is cooked on a rack low and slow.
In America, jerky is made from beef, buffalo, possum or even alligator and in South Africa it is much the same with the Biltong, any game meats work perfectly.
This is a beautiful Jerky recipe that will be sure to please.
800g lean beef like sirloin, the eye of the round, or flank steak
60g brown sugar
60g soy sauce
60g rice wine vinegar (Apple cider vinegar works too)
2g garlic powder
2g onion powder
2g cayenne pepper
1. Trim any visible fat from the beef. Freeze the meat for about 1 hour, or until the meat is firm. Slice the beef against the grain into 3mm thick slices.
2. Combine the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl; mix well.
3. Add the sliced beef to the marinade and toss to coat. Refrigerate, covered, for 24 hours.
4. Arrange the sliced beef in a single layer on each dehydrator dry, patting off any excess marinade with paper towels. Place one tray on the top rack and one tray on the bottom rack.
5. Dehydrate at 40°C for 16-20 hours, turn the jerky every so often. If you do not have a dehydrator use an oven at 77°C for 7 hours or lower if your oven does go lower for a longer amount of time.
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.
7. Let the jerky cool completely before serving or storing.
Weschenfelder Top Tip: For chewier beef jerky, slice the beef with the grain. Store jerky in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.