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Making Biltong with a Dehydrator

If you love meaty snacks then you have probably had biltong once or twice before. Ever thought about making it? This homemade biltong recipe results in a delightfully spiced, and oh-so-moreish snack!

Biltong is a dried, cured meat that originated in Southern Africa. It can be made from a variety of types of meat such as beef (which is the most common variety you will find in South Africa), as well as South African game meats such as kudu or ostrich. In the UK game meats like venison or rabbits can be used.

If you’re not familiar, biltong is made by cutting meat into slabs about an inch thick, seasoning it with black pepper and coriander seed, and allowing it to air dry for 1-2 weeks or so. Some recipes use brown sugar, but that ends up tasting like American jerky from a bag. You can use our Biltong spice to flavour your meat but if you want to make your seasoning from scratch then this is the next best thing. 

 

Choosing the right cut of meat is extremely important when making high-quality biltong. You can technically use any cut of beef that you want but a very popular choice for biltong is the bottom round (aka silver side), top round is also another popular cut as well.

We like to leave the fat on as we like the extra flavour and texture that it adds but since it’s your biltong you can decide for yourself. Trim your meat of any silver skin, gristle, or soft fat and cut your steaks WITH THE GRAIN at roughly 1 inch thick.

 


INGREDIENTS

4.5kg bottom round or top round trimmed and cut into 1 inch thick steaks – with the grain
120 ml apple cider vinegar
60 ml Worcestershire sauce
102 g salt
34 g pepper corn
68g coriander seed toasted
23g chili flakes optional for heat

or

Use 32g Weschenfelder Biltong Spice


METHOD

1. Begin by preparing your meat. Ensure it is cold and give the silver skin, gristle, and soft fat a trim. Now with a sharp knife cut your steaks 1 inch thick WITH THE GRAIN. 

2. In a hot pan toast the coriander and coarsely grind it up. In a container add the coarsely ground peppercorns and chilli flakes as well. Now add the toasted coriander seeds. Mix together.

3. Combine the red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a container and pour half of this mixture into a tray that can fit your meat. Arrange all of your meat on that tray and pour the rest of the red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce mix over the top.

4. Sprinkle half of your salt over the meat and enough of your coriander spice blend to coat the meat. Turn the meat over and sprinkle the rest of the salt over the meat. Add some more of the coriander spice blend to cover the meat remainder of the meat. If you still have a bit more coriander mix hold it back you can add this at the end.

5. Ensure that all of the spices and any liquids from your tray are added as well. Try not to leave anything behind. Place some cling film over the tray and pop it into the refrigerator for 24-36 hours. Every 12 hours or so just massage the meat with your hands and flip it. This helps to ensure the meat is cured evenly.

6.  After the meat has finished curing remove it from the tray and weigh 4-5 steaks, record the weight and your target weight loss. Write down and make a note of the weight of these steaks as well as the target weight being at least 50% less than that. 50% dryness is considered "wet" biltong. Once your meat has lost 50% you can taste a piece, if you prefer it to be drier then leave it in the dehydrator for a few more hours. Between 55%-60% is a sort of medium dryness which is commonly preferred. If you like a "dry" biltong you can let it go to 70% dryness. It really just comes down to personal preference.

7. Put each piece of biltong onto a tray and place it into the dehydrator remembering where your weighted steaks are. At this point, I would make a note of where they are and put them on separate trays.

8. It will take about 12-24 hours in a dehydrator at 45C-60C depending on the thickness of the meat and the fattiness, the thinner and leaner the meat is the quicker it is to cure. The thicker and fattier the longer it will take for the meat to cure.

9. Halfway through the drying process in the dehydrator. If you have some reserve coriander spice blend you can add it to your meat pieces now, lightly sprinkle the spice mix on each side (this will give you a very nice spice crust when your biltong is ready).

10. You should not be able to feel any give in the meat when you pinch it, that is the indication it is done. Weigh out the pre-weighted example steaks and see what weight they are to see if your biltong is ready.

11. Once your biltong has dried to your liking you can vacuum seal them and store them in your refrigerator or freezer. That's if you don't eat there and then.

 

Weschenfelder Top Tip: Serve with an Ice cold beer... You deserve it! 

 

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