Perfect Biltong Recipe—South African Beef Jerky

I must apologise for calling biltong “South African beef jerky”, because this is a far superior product. If you’ve ever tried biltong, you’ll know exactly what I mean—none of that sugary, rubbery stuff-it-in-a-dehydrator rubbish here, please!

Like a lot of biltong lovers, I was introduced to this culinary treasure as a child, and the addiction has stuck. I’ve been making my own for a few years, gradually tweaking the recipe and feeding it to people with a “how is it, honestly?”, and plenty of willing feedback. I’m confident that this fool-hardy recipe sticks with the traditional roots of the dried meat, whilst adding a little refined finesse—it does not disappoint.

Biltong was originally created by Dutch pioneers in South Africa, “Voortrekkers”, who needed reliable food sources on their long treks across the continent. The method and spice mix hasn’t changed much in hundreds of years, but a few variations have appeared recently, like ‘piri piri’ biltong and the use of additional ingredients like worcestershire sauce and dried chillies.

Curing process

Opinions vary on curing methods, spice mixes and drying conditions, and there is a lot of misinformation around, so trial and error has been my friend. Some recipes call for several stages of curing and washing off spices, reapplying them, etc—this is not necessary. I don’t like to throw away good spices, so I coat once, leave to cure in the fridge, pat dry, then hang with no additional stages. Why wash off and waste all that good flavour? It’s easy to over-salt biltong, making it almost unbearable to eat in bigger quantities (let’s face it, who’s going to only eat a little biltong?), and too much salt can leave a burning sensation, so many recipes call for the salt to be washed off with a water/vinegar solution. My answer? Use less salt! Vinegar does a perfectly good job of sterilising the meat without mountains of salt. The salt is an excellent flavour enhancer and should definitely be included—just a little less to avoid the need for washing.

Temperature and airflow

What we’re trying to achieve when drying biltong is to concentrate the flavour of the beef by removing a lot of the moisture, similar to ‘dry aging’. A combination of good airflow and relatively cool temperatures are the key to successful biltong making. Contrary to popular belief, heat is not required to make biltong—neither does it make for a better product. As a perfect example of this, the Italians make a beautiful beef product called ‘Bresaola’, which is very slowly air dried at cold temperatures, so as to achieve an even dryness and texture. Although heat doesn’t add to the quality of the product, it can be used to increase air circulation around the meat, by means of a temperature gradient (heat rises!). Having said that, don’t be tempted to try and make it in the oven—biltong takes several days to dry, and most ovens won’t go low enough to dry the meat slowly enough to avoid cooking it. What you’re looking for is a slow drying process with gentle airflow. Many DIY biltong makers will use a ‘biltong box’ with a fan and a lightbulb in to create good air circulation. The key is to draw air around the meat without the airflow being too strong, to avoid ‘case hardening’, whereby the outside becomes overly tough, and the texture gradient falls off too quickly.

How to dry biltong

I made my first biltong by hanging it from a piece of wood jammed into a window frame beside a cool window, with a fan on low to circulate air. That’s really all you need to make it. If you want a little more control, you can upgrade to a biltong box or other drying box. I’ve since upgraded to an old fridge with the mechanics removed, holes in the bottom, and a fan drawing air past the meat. The airflow is just enough to draw away moisture, but not too fast so as to avoid over drying the outside of the meat. What you’re looking for is cool conditions with good airflow. Room temperature in most houses is fine, but air flow can be a problem. What you want is a good steady stream of air running past the meat, but not too strong. Try to create these conditions in whatever way you see fit. Just make sure you have a little air flow, or the meat can gather mould—I’m sorry to say this has happened to me in the past! If you want to have complete control over drying conditions, either making or buying a ‘biltong box’ might be the best option for you. You can pick them up pretty cheap online.

Doneness—How long does it take to dry?

I like my biltong a little tough, but still wet in the middle. Some like theirs tough like old leather. Getting it right is down to trial and error. The easiest way to measure dryness is with your fingers. Thoroughly wash and dry your hands, and squeeze the flattest sides of the meat in with your fingers. If there is any give in the meat, there’s still moisture in the middle. Most likely, what you’re looking for is a really tough consistency with just a little bit of give. Leave it too long and you’ll have some tooth-bustingly tough biltong on your hands. That said, it’s fairly forgiving and a day or two over won’t do too much harm.

Wet biltong slices on a chopping board
Wet biltong – a slight crust and still wet in the middle

If you’re impatient and can’t wait for your biltong to dry, plan ahead and cut some thinner pieces to hang with the rest—these will keep you going while you wait for the thicker stuff to be ready. If you’re really savvy, you might vary the thickness of slices from thin to thick allow for consistent grazing over the drying process (highly recommended).

If you find that you’ve cut your biltong early and it’s wetter than you’d like, use clean fingers to rub a little salt and vinegar on the exposed end and hang it back up.

Fat on or fat off?

This comes down to personal preference. It’s important to note that, while your biltong will shrink by around half the size when dried, the fat doesn’t shrink at the same rate as the muscle. I like a little fat because it helps carry flavour, but I tend to remove most of it before hanging. Large chunks of fat can be a little unpleasant to deal with when eating biltong.

Biltong ingredients

Every biltong maker has their own preference on spice mix. If you don’t know what you like, I suggest making a few thinner, quick drying pieces to experiment with. Many home biltong makers add a lot of ingredients to their biltong, thinking that adding more will lead to a better result, but in reality they’re muddying the clarity of the flavour and masking the star of the show—good quality meat!

Vinegar

Traditionally, brown vinegar has been used to make biltong. It really has a recognisable flavour. Some recipes call for balsamic or cider vinegar. I recommend brown vinegar for the best flavour, with cider vinegar coming in a close second. I’ve used cider vinegar a lot, purely because I have a large batch I made at home.

Salt

Salt is a brilliant flavour enhancer and preservative. It kills bacteria on the outside of the meat, and helps to draw moisture out. It’s tricky to get the salt quantity right. My recipe uses the smallest amount of salt required to make a safe cure, based on the weight of the meat. My local butcher goes way overboard with salt on their biltong. I sometimes use them in case of emergency biltong shortage, so I’m not sure how to break it to them…

Coriander

Coriander seed is the signature spice that makes biltong instantly recognisable. It’s best to toast the seeds to release the oils for flavour, but also because the oil suppresses bacterial growth.

Black pepper

Black pepper and beef are a pair made in heaven. Just don’t overdo it—biting into a lump of peppercorn is not a pleasant experience! You want roughly 1/4 pepper to 3/4 coriander seed for a good balance. In most cases, flies aren’t a problem, but pepper has the added benefit of detering them.

Brown sugar

Brown sugar has a caramel and molasses flavour that adds complexity to the meat, without masking it. The sugar helps with drying through osmosis, latching onto the water molecules and ‘wicking’ them away. It’s not a traditional ingredient if we’re going full purist, but it balances the saltiness well. Too much sugar is really unpleasant though—you’re walking dangerously close to beef jerky territory and I’d really recommend against it. Biltong is a savoury snack, not a desert!

Bicarbonate of soda

Some recipes call for the addition of bicarbonate of soda. This might seem a little odd, but it has scientific reasoning. The bicarb neutralises the acid in the vinegar, but also acts as a meat tenderiser. It slows the contraction of the proteins, leaving the final product still dry, but less tough. Bicarb has a pretty unpleasant taste, so it’s important to keep the quantity low. If you’re using a good cut like silverside or toprump, you won’t need it at all.

Cutting methods

perfect biltong slices on a chopping board
Biltong slices cut with a sharp knife

If you’ve ever tried cutting over-dried biltong, you’ll know how tough it can be—tough as old boots! In desperation, I’ve taken to resting a knife on top of some over-dried biltong and hitting it with a camping mallet (not recommended, and not only because I upset the neighbours and smashed the chopping board!). There are a lot of creative, almost ceremonial devices on cutting biltong, but I think nothing beats a good, sharp knife. If you want something a little more fancy, there are biltong cutters (a board with a hinged knife attached), biltong knives (traditional knives made for purpose), hand crank mechanical cutters, and at the high end, expensive elecric cutters, mostly used by butchers and biltong suppliers.

Dealing with mould

Check your biltong every day for mould. If conditions are particulary humid or hot, there’s a chance you might experience this problem. If you see the first signs of mould appearing—white dots or furry mould—use a clean cloth with some vinegar and dab/wipe it off. Be sure to get it all or it’s likely to spread again. If you’ve not checked for a while and found your biltong totally covered, sadly the best place for it is the bin. Good airflow will help to avoid such catastrophes in future.

Storing your Biltong

After your biltong has dried to your preferred consistency, you can continue to store it hanging in a well aerated space indefinitely. Shops that sell biltong will often hang it and leave it out, and these are ample storage conditions—just try to make sure none of the pieces are touching. It will continue to dry slowly, but it will also keep for a long time this way. If you’ve cut your biltong and want to store it, wrap it in a few paper bags and store it in the fridge. The paper will allow excess moisture to continue leaving the meat, discouraging mould growth. I can’t give accurate advice on how long to store it this way, but I think it’s safe to say that no sane person is going to leave biltong uneaten for more than a few days. It’s just too delicious!

Case hardening

If there is too much air flow around your biltong, the outside can firm up really quickly, leaving the middle soft. If the case hardening is severe, the tough outer layer can prevent moisture from leaving the middle. If you find that you’ve been testing your biltong for readiness for 2-3 weeks and it just doesn’t seem to be drying in the middle, this may be your problem. If you suspect that case hardening is your problem, I recommend cutting through the end of the meat and checking it. If you’ve got a really raw centre and thick, tough outer surface, give it a try and see if you like the texture. If you don’t, the first option is to vacuum pack the biltong and store it in the fridge for one week to one month, depending on severity. This will balance out the gradient. If you don’t have access to a vacuum sealer, stick your biltong in a paper bag and place it in the fridge for a few days. Rub a little salt on the cut ends to protect them. This should go some way towards fixing the problem. It’s worth noting that the thicker you cut your initial beef cuts, the slower the drying process must be to avoid case hardening, so try cutting thinner next time. However, the best solution to prevent case hardening from occurring is to change your drying setup to reduce air flow. You still need a little air movement, but the slower it dries, the more even the moisture gradient will be from inside to out.

So without further ado, here’s my tried and tested biltong recipe. Once you’ve given it a try, please let me know how you like it, and if there are any variations to the traditional ingredients you swear by, no matter how strange!

Print

Perfect Biltong Recipe

A Biltong recipe that produces consistent results with an authentic, traditional spice mix
Course Snack
Cuisine South African, Zimbabwean
Keyword Biltong, Curing, Dried meats
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 5 days

Ingredients

  • 2 kg Beef—silverside or toprump
  • 5 tbsp Brown (malt) or cider vinegar (approx)
  • 2.5 tbsp Coarse salt (2% of the meat weight)
  • 2 tsp Ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp Coriander seed
  • 1.5 tbsp Brown sugar

Instructions

  • Toast the coriander seeds in a dry pan, then grind down in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder. It should be mostly powder, with a few pieces of seed shells left in.
  • Using a sharp knife, following the grain of the meat, cut into 1 inch (2.5cm) thick lengths and place in a non-metallic container.
  • Combine all the spices and sprinkle into the meat. Sprinkle the vinegar on and rub everything in thoroughly whilst turning the meat with your hands.
  • Cover the container and let your biltong cure for 24 hours in the fridge, turning and rubbing through the meat occasionally.
  • Remove the meat from the container and pat dry with kitchen towels, taking care not to remove too much of the spice.
  • Add a hook to the thickest end of each length. Plastic-covered paper clips make for a cheap solution. Hang in your biltong box, or in a well aired, ventilated space with a fan blowing gently to increase air flow. Do not point a fan directly at the meat (to avoid case hardening). Make sure none of the pieces are touching. Place some newspaper below the meat to catch any liquid.
  • Drying times will vary with humidity, airflow and temperature. Test the readiness of your biltong every couple of days by squeezing the sides together with clean fingers. If you feel any give in the meat, it’s still ‘wet’ inside.
  • Once ready, cut into thin slices with a sharp knife and enjoy some of the best meat you’ll ever eat.

Notes

Note:- if you’re in the US and looking for the name for the Silverside cut, look for “Bottom round” (thanks, Paul H!).
Note:- if using venison or game, or cheaper cuts of beef, add 2 tsp of bicarbonate of soda to tenderise the meat.
Note:- if you don’t have any coarse salt and need to substitute with table salt, double-check that it’s not iodised salt – iodine leaves a bitter taste in the mouth. 
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Marthie Clark
Marthie Clark
10 days ago

Can you dry biltong in a dehydrator?

Sam Evans
Sam Evans
11 hours ago
Reply to  Greedy Ferret

I do mine low and slow then freeze, My dehydrator goes from 95-160. I go low like a real day would be in SA. Your recipe and mine are the same after 20 years in the US making biltong.

Marty from New Zealand
Marty from New Zealand
15 days ago

Hi, thanks for this wholesome sounding Biltong recipe!
I’m just wondering if light is important for anti-bacterial purpose? Or can it be done without light at all?
Or is humidity level, temperature and airflow the most important conditions?
I’ll be sure to add a review of my final product and pictures once she’s ready!

Thanks

Daniel Teague
Daniel Teague
18 days ago

Can biltong be made from a flank or hanger cut?

tino bertolino
tino bertolino
19 days ago

COULD THIS BE HUNG UNDERNEATH A CEILING FAN ON LOW SPEED???

Johannes
Johannes
20 days ago

Much appreciated thanks for sharing!

Stuart
Stuart
29 days ago

5 stars
Top job, after years of waiting for South African Mates to make biltong for me I bit the bullet and bought a biltong making box and used your recipe. Result of first batch is very nice biltong nearly on par with my very experienced friends. Thanks

Kleiner from North Dakota
Kleiner from North Dakota
30 days ago

Quick question. Can it be dried in a walk in cooler that’s kept at 35 degrees f.

Lance from BC
Lance from BC
1 month ago

5 stars
Well now, I have found a use for the FIR sauna (home sized) that just stopped working even after several ‘fixs’. Perfect….

john swinkels
john swinkels
1 month ago

3 stars
Bugger, I followed the same recipe almost, except I added 1 .2 TBL spoons per kilo of Worcestershire sauce and it’s too salty. A word of warning if you like fennel like I do watch out it is super strong but nice. I will just have drink more beer with the biltong

john swinkels
john swinkels
1 month ago
Reply to  Greedy Ferret

5 stars
Dont get me wrong I like your recipe, I will reduce the salt to 1x TBLE spoons per kilo because I added Worcestershire sauce and its got to be salty as its made from anchovies. just love fennel and garlic and next time I will do the same and add chilli flakes. Just ate heaps tonight and the salt has reduced quite a bit after vacuum forming and in the fridge.the silver side I used had a little to much sinue for my liking I will pow wow with my butcher. Back to the salt again cause its such a major issue I did a batch of cold smoked salmon and it was too salty but after a week in the fridge it settled down.

Tsongololo
Tsongololo
17 days ago
Reply to  Greedy Ferret

5 stars
I add a very small amount of Worcester sauce to the vinegar. But then I marinate the meat first for about 2 hours in vinegar and Worcester sauce, then dry it off, rub in the spices and marinate overnight. I save the vinegar to “wash off” much of the spice before putting it in a dehydrator. I like mine dry! To me that tastes the most like I remember from my African days. More of a hassle than the way you do it.

D Rogers
D Rogers
1 month ago

5 stars
What cut does silverside translate to for a Yank? Top round/London broil?

Paul H
Paul H
1 month ago
Reply to  Greedy Ferret

Silverside = bottom round

William
William
25 days ago
Reply to  D Rogers

5 stars
I believe Silversides is what we call London Broil in the US. I don’t see London Broil as much as I used to but if you have a Stater Bros market near you, they usually have some.

Tsongololo
Tsongololo
17 days ago
Reply to  D Rogers

4 stars
I find London broil works best. The least amount of sinew.

Dave Bower
Dave Bower
1 month ago

5 stars
I tried this recipe reasonably faithfully, but I feel I learned NOTHING!

The results were simply the finest biltong I’ve ever had.

I rigged up a couple of spare laptop fans to a cheapo power supply with selectable voltage output, in a little cupboard with the door ajar. 12 days later and nothing to do but eat it and ponder what lessons I might have learned if anything had gone wrong.

Thanks!!!

Richard Tebbs
Richard Tebbs
1 month ago

My home made counter top dryer. Made with a computer fan and seed incubator from my local garden center

Richard Tebbs
Richard Tebbs
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Tebbs

Sorry the pic didn’t load last time

Screenshot_20210727_113838.jpg
Glenn Ricard
1 month ago
Reply to  Richard Tebbs

That’s going to cost you big .
Looks yummy.

Megan
Megan
1 month ago

This is, by far, my favorite biltong recipe that I’ve found on the interwebs. Thank you!

Last edited 1 month ago by Megan
Hannes Marais
Hannes Marais
2 months ago

5 stars
Great recipe with clear descriptions of the how and why. Thanks for adding value to a number of biltong making starters out there!

Tor Killman
Tor Killman
1 month ago
Reply to  Hannes Marais

5 stars
Too true Hannes. Das Lekker Eck Sai. Just tried out our first batch with terrific results. Buy Dankie Greedy Ferret. It got the thumbs up from my wife, daughter of the butcher in the Republic of Enkeldoorn. I used Cape Grim Tasmanian 100% Grass Fed Black Angus Rump and brined for two days. Will age the slices for 4 or 5 days first before brining the next batch. I make my own Boerwors so roll on the Droewors too😋😋😋

John perry
John perry
3 months ago

Commercial meat is hung for around 21 days . If I kill a beast would you let the carcass hang as the butcher would or get straight into making twitching biltong?

Lindy Houston
Lindy Houston
2 months ago
Reply to  Greedy Ferret

I let mine sit in our fridge for 4 to 5 days first to naturally tenderise, then I put it together – works really nicely ☺ Thank you for a very easy recipe – this one is a keeper ♫

Richard
Richard
3 months ago

5 stars
Tried my 1st batch today, unbelievable, added garlic powder, chilli flakes and Worcestershire sauce as well.

Wayne
Wayne
2 months ago
Reply to  Richard

5 stars
Sounds very tasty! I love Garlic, Chilli Flakes, and Worcestershire!

Luke Rathbone
2 months ago
Reply to  Wayne

Yea, certainly is awesome to experiemnt.

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Scott Long
Scott Long
3 months ago

I have a home made wood dehydrator. My set up will dry 10 lbs of jerky meat in 12 hours at 125 degrees. Will this be too much airflow with the heat shut off? vents are 1/2 holes around the bottom with a fan mounted on top drawing air out.

Karen armistead
3 months ago

So I slice the meat and allow the spices to be rubbed all over the meat prior to curing? That confused me because all of the examples only show spicing on the outside of the cut.

Tracey Robinson-Deacon
Tracey Robinson-Deacon
3 months ago

That’s correct, you’re spices are on the outside of the meat.

Vino
4 months ago

5 stars
Hi, I used this marinade- your exact measurements- on approx. 1.5kgs of silverside. I used a little mixed herbs and substituted red wine vinegar. It turned out absolutely perfect! That vinegar really enhanced the flavour! This, coming from someone who never ever uses any sort of vinegar for anything! Oh, I poured the marinade into a zip lock bag, added meat n massaged it in thoroughly. Laid the meat in neat piles and left it in fridge overnight. Turned the bag over in fridge the next day. Hung it up to dry the following day. I made it in one of those flimsy biltong makers from the South African shop, that we get in New Zealand. It took 4-5 days until it was ready to eat. I like it drier. Making more tonight. Thank you, munchly😋

Stein af Bøgwald
Stein af Bøgwald
4 months ago

5 stars
Followed the recipe with half of 1 kg, and added cummin to the rest! Wow, that was really something! We used a dryer with fan, for 2 1/2 half day. Less than 40 degrees. Worked well for us!

charlie smoot
charlie smoot
4 months ago

your picture shows using a whole piece of meat then sliced up after curing. But
your recipe is calling to slice it up before curing ? is there something different that you do if using whole piece of meat.

John M
John M
4 months ago

I made my first batch – fantastic!

I hung in my oven on “Defrost” setting with the door slightly ajar. This moves room temperature air around the oven. I checked the interior to make sure no direct air onto meat. Worked like a charm and ready in 48 hours.

Dan
Dan
4 months ago

5 stars
Your recipe and description inspired me to build the box in the pic and that’s my first batch hanging in there. It’s a solid recipe as I tried my first piece today. May make minor modifications in future recipes, but I like how it’s turning out. Thank you!

20210503_182557(1).jpg
BILTONG
2 months ago
Reply to  Dan

Nice one Dan. We modified an old cupboard but didn’t have enough airflow so the first batch went to the dogs. But have got it working now. Used more computer fans to increase the airflow.

Edward
Edward
4 months ago

Hi greedy ferret!
I put on way too much salt and i have not dried it yet.
What should I do to remove the salt?
please any help ASAP

Shane
Shane
4 months ago
Reply to  Edward

Just lightly wash it off under cold water and put on half of all the spices

Matt D
Matt D
4 months ago

Hi I’ve made a biltong box does well for around 1kg of meat I mainly use venison.
Storage box with square hole for a usb computer fan on the lid.
Dowel holes drilled evenly down the box and fly mesh netting bottom of the box and where the fan goes to stop u wanted guests.
Takes 3 days to dry my biltong.
Attached is my box very crude but in all cost £20 to build and I’m no diy expert as you can see.

D78FA4DA-5154-4956-8197-9F2067B3D1B9.jpeg
Dale
Dale
3 months ago
Reply to  Matt D

That’s very creative and freaking awesome. Thanks for sharing the idea!

Daniel Mayeux
Daniel Mayeux
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt D

5 stars
How much mesh? The whole bottom?

PeterS
PeterS
1 month ago
Reply to  Matt D

We must be soul pals. Look at my box ….. My first batch is sitting in the fridge. Can’t wait to see how this works. Got hooked on Biltong when I was in Namibia a few years ago. I see you have a bigger fan. I will run my 12V fan at 5V. Now I’m questioning myself if I will have enough airflow. I will get back with a review of my “‘success” in a few days.

photo_2021-08-13_23-00-15.jpg
Joshua
Joshua
4 months ago

Hi greedy ferret!!
i have no patience to wait a couple of days, so i decided to just place the meat in an oven with only the light oven fan on (with no heat at all)
i also put a big pot in to disperse air flow to avoid case hardening
I found that 36 hrs was the ideal time and it was delicious!!
Thanks
Joshua

Kerveen Marchand
Kerveen Marchand
5 months ago

Hi i prepared my biltong hand them out for drying. I noticed that magots have started on the meat. Why is this? Please help

Askpolly
Askpolly
4 months ago

I’m afraid that flies have had access to the raw meat either before or after curing and laid eggs. Try keep everything as hygienic as possible and keep the meat away from insects. Often an improvised biltong box works best when insects are a concern.

Evenbush
4 months ago

You need to create a good balance between humidity and temperature. Maggots indicate your meat is not drying fast enough. It could be high humidity & very low temperature in the dryer/room which is mainly caused by poor air circulation. You need low humidity in the room, good air circulation & a temperature ranging between 30 & 50 Celsius. evenbushventures.com

Last edited 4 months ago by Evenbush
Chris Legnicki
Chris Legnicki
5 months ago

What are the the optimum temp and RH parameters?

Askpolly
Askpolly
4 months ago
Reply to  Chris Legnicki

Hi Chris, I like my humidity between 35 and 50% and temp between 22C and 28C. The trick is indirect but sufficient airflow to avoid the case hardening too quickly. I don’t like biltong that doesn’t evenly dry as the middle gets a bit of a funky smell if left without a way to keep drying out. Good luck!

Tony Norton
Tony Norton
5 months ago

Hi, everyone,
This recipe is great but, for me, a Brit that doesn’t have a lot of experience with biltong, I changed it a bit but still followed the recipe.

Here’s what I did.

I used topside of beef stir fry strips 500g+.
Used the ingredients that were recommended but cut down on the salt (sea salt) and omitted all sugar and increased the black pepper.
Also added a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
Mixed it all up and put in a ziplock bag, and left it in the fridge for 3 days, squeezing the bag each day to make sure the meat was well coated.

Now that the meat was marinated, I had to air dry it.

I’ve never heard of a biltong box, so ignored it.

.com said heat is not recommended and, given that I live in Dubai, had to think of another way.

Hanging the strips up near an open window was also not an option.

So …. I took the rack out of the oven and hung the strips over the rungs, put the whole thing back in the oven, left the oven turned off and the door open. Then put a 450mm (18″) floor standing fan in front of the oven and set the fan to its lowest setting and on oscillation.

After a few attempts, I found the ideal time to achieve that lovely case hardened, but very slightly moist inside, was 48 hours.

Ok, as I said, I’m no connoisseur of biltong.
So, I invited a friend of mine from Zimbabwe, who loves it, to give me his honest opinion.

He loved it and said its the best he’s tasted.

I hope you all like and try my ideas and continue to support .com., to whom I have no connection with.

Shia
Shia
5 months ago

Fantastic recipe and i love the in depth analysis!
Do you reckon i could just put a small radiator 1/2 ft by 1/2 ft under a cardboard box with hanging meat?
Would that work?

In addition, i am Jewish and for us we are forbidden to use all cuts from the back-end of the animal.
What is the next best thing to use??
how about round bolo AKA the mock tender?
would that work?

Sorry for going on but i don’t have insect mesh on hand, is there any substitute or way i can make it at home?

Could i just put in the oven at 50c for 24 hours as someone suggested (sorry i cant find that question)

i apologise for all my questions
looking for anyone to respond,
Thanks for all your time,
Shia

Last edited 5 months ago by Shia
Shia
Shia
5 months ago
Reply to  Greedy Ferret

Very helpful!
Thanks,
Shia

allan c
allan c
5 months ago
Reply to  Shia

i made a biltong box used curtain mesh for the netting with covered holes in the bottom and the top for air flow and used an old computer fan (mine came from a laptop fan table) for air flow over the top holes and the slow heat source is from a 30 watt light bulb set in a batten at the bottom you can plug the light and the computer fan direct into the power if using a charger wired to the fans

Jacob
Jacob
3 months ago
Reply to  Shia

Hi Shia
I live in Israel and also eat only kosher.
In Israel, this cut of meat is regularly available at all kosher butchers, ask for No. 19 or Weisbratten.

Rafa
Rafa
5 months ago

I know Biltong lovers will call this sacrilege, but as an experiment I’m trying to make seitan Biltong (wheat meat Biltong). Has anyone had any experience with this? Can it be done? I’ve been a Biltong lover for decades now and going vegetarian has been difficult haha. I need my fix! Would appreciate any tips.

Gary Cobb
Gary Cobb
5 months ago

I will try this recipe but would appreciate guidance on temperature. Inside my house, the A/C keeps us at 72F / 22C. Outside temps this month are averaging low of 68F/20C to high of 80F/27C. Can I do this in a shady place outside? Inside temp better/OK?

Wolfren696
Wolfren696
5 months ago
Reply to  Gary Cobb

I would love to know that too? Anyone here can help with his request.

Dan S
Dan S
5 months ago
Reply to  Gary Cobb

4 stars
I don’t see a problem doing it outside. Growing up in Zimbabwe we would hang the meat in an open sided garage/car port and it was perfect at those temps just keep an eye on it depending on your humidity. Inside will be fine too. In the UK I have made a biltong box which is just a tall box with dowel rods, holes top and bottom and a 40watt light bulb at the bottom to move the air. Tried a small pc fan and was too much airflow.

Seani
5 months ago

Hi. I enjoyed reading your very thorough explanation on the scientific purpose behind each ingredient. I make my own biltong for my restaurant and have taken to using store bought spices. This is because when I tried making my own, the biltong has a soapy flavor. I’m looking to make my own spice rub again, but I’m nervous about this happening again. Do you perhaps know what I’ve done wrong previously for it to taste soapy?

Matthew S
Matthew S
5 months ago

5 stars
Hello- your contact page is down** great recipe though!

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Carlos Gouveia
Carlos Gouveia
6 months ago

5 stars
Very good recipe!!!

Ian
Ian
6 months ago

5 stars
This recipe turned out great! The coriander was a little wimpy, though.

(The spices I can get from the local coop here in Maine, aren’t anywhere near as pungent as what you get in a spice store in Cape Town or Durban. After five years in the freezer, Cape Town spices still punched me in the nose when I open the ziploc! Unfortunately–no coriander left.)

The ground coriander I got hold of was stronger than the freshly roasted and ground coriander seeds (should be the other way around)–so this time I added a bit of that!

The last batch was wonderful! This one will be even better!

I like the exact measurements–no brushing off or washing off of salt and spices–definitely the way to go!

PS–Maine in Winter in a house heated by wood is a perfect drying environment. Just got to hang it in the cold corner, far from the stove.

Last edited 6 months ago by Ian
Derek
Derek
5 months ago
Reply to  Ian

I just heard about biltong about an hour ago so I’m still learning and have no experience yet, but if you’re able to find fresh cilantro/coriander with the root stem attached you could try grinding them into the salt.I get cilantro that way at an Asian market. The flavor is more intense than the leaves and it works great in Thai/Asian soups. It freezes well, too. Might be worth a try…

Mari
Mari
6 months ago

Its probably ro hot and humid in Phuket to even try and make biltong?

Hari Denton
Hari Denton
6 months ago
Reply to  Mari

5 stars
Hi Mari,
I am in the Philippines and it is very hot and humid here. I managed to get pretty great results (to my families taste anyway) by following the above recipe and then just using a cheap food dehydrator to do a quick dry ( to avoid spoiling due to humidity). I was worried about “Case hardening” so checked it often. If the middle was a bit too soft still then slicing it and a quick 1 hour in the dehydrator had it at a perfect (I like it a little drier) consistency! I think it could be worth a try! Good luck.
Hari

Rich
Rich
5 months ago
Reply to  Mari

Generally the answer to humidity is a heated lightbulb, only about 50W. That helps dry the air as well as create that airflow. As long as you’re not ‘cooking’ the meat and you have a drying bulb, it should still adequately dry it – coming from a Zimbabwean that grew up sun/air drying biltong.

Joshua
Joshua
6 months ago

5 stars
Quick question on a DIY box. Ive seen people making all different ones, out of wood or plastic totes, but everyone seems to have a different design. If I built my own out of a tote, do you recommend a fan beneath the meat or above pulling air out? Ive also heard wood being porous it holds bacteria. I thought of making a tall one out of a plastic trash bin with a bulb on the bottom and a fan on the lid so there is a decent space between the both the meat and fan/meat and bulb. Any thoughts or ideas? Thanks again your guide is great!

Michael
Michael
6 months ago
Reply to  Joshua

I’ve made it several times now with a regular computer fan and no lightbulb in a plastic tote – just made two biggish holes in the top and the airflow is plenty – never had any mould and we live in Ontario which is basically a giant wetland 🙂

Stefan
Stefan
6 months ago
Reply to  Joshua

I think the bulb and the fan serve the same purpose: to get some airflow going. I used a PC fan, and that worked great; mount it so that it pulls air out of the container, and add a (mesh covered) inlet (on the other side of the container).

Cam
Cam
7 months ago

I am in the process of making some of your biltong recipe with some elk and whitetail. Got it hanging this afternoon! Question: how do you store it and how long does it keep?

Kevin Christie
Kevin Christie
7 months ago

Recipe looks great – can’t wait to try it! Just wondering if it’s possible to do this in the oven at maybe 80 degrees C for 3/ 4/ 5 hours….? Also, if using the traditional method, is it not necessary to use a specialist curing salt like Instacure to ensure that it’s safe and won’t cause botulism? Thanks!

Kevin Christie
Kevin Christie
7 months ago
Reply to  Greedy Ferret

Thanks for the quick reply. I wasn’t aware that botulism was only a concern where air pockets were present – good to know! I’m very wary of things like Instacure too but always want to err on the side of caution. I know it’s needed in things like salami and chorizo but am pleased to hear that biltong doesn’t require it! Now to google how to build myself a biltong box….! Thanks again! 🙂

Andrew
Andrew
7 months ago

5 stars
Excellent recipe, made In the dehydrator, best I have ever made, thank you.

Dean
Dean
7 months ago
Reply to  Andrew

Hi, there how long did you have it in the dehydrator for?

Hari Denton
Hari Denton
6 months ago
Reply to  Dean

Hi Dean,
I had it in my dehydrator on 65C for about 24 hours and got great results. If you like it a little drier in the middle then slice up as much as you want to eat and 30-60 mins in the dehydrator gets it perfectly dry (to my taste anyway!!!)
Good luck!!
Hari

Ben Reynolds
Ben Reynolds
7 months ago

ever try with honey?

Gabriel Hendriksz
Gabriel Hendriksz
8 months ago

5 stars
Excellent simple base recipe for single step biltong making. It produces consistent and delicious results. Best I have found on the net. Thank you for the great post.

John McClancy
John McClancy
8 months ago

I have been making my own beef jerky for years. I like a tough chew and lots of heat so the rest of the family will leave it alone. If I don’t boost the red pepper way up it will be gone in a couple of days. After reading this I think I will try some biltong. With red pepper of course.

Phil
Phil
8 months ago
Reply to  John McClancy

Good luck, I like a lot of heat also. I’ve tried traditional and chilli🌶. Follow the recipie, but add pepper just before you dry….

john McClancy
6 months ago
Reply to  Phil

5 stars

5 stars
Just Wow. My first batch was ready yesterday. Man that took some patience. Followed your recipe plus some ground cayenne I had previously smoked over pecan. It is fantastic. I used a lean flank steak (aka London broil in the US). It takes some patience to wait for it to dry. I will start another batch right away since I know this one will not last long. Thanks!

Frey
Frey
8 months ago

5 stars
Thank you for these helpful and wise words on the art of biltong-making! I lived for 2 years in Zimbabwe with my family when I was a teenager, and ever since I’ve missed this devine snack.

So 15 years later, a few years ago I had my cabinet-maker friend make me a beautiful biltong cabinet from Danish pear wood (with a small fan from a laptop built in, with adjustable speed, -this works perfectly!), brass bars for hanging, and now I’m regularly making biltong, serving it to my friends who get very excited over how much better than beef jerky it is, and to my family who also missed it ever since Zims.
So just to let you know that there is a biltong ambassador in Copenhagen! I use the same spice combination as you do, using malt vinegar and maybe a bit more coriander. Sometimes adding a bit of cayenne pepper for a spicy version.
I’ll try to post some pics of the biltong cabinet if possible.

Best wishes, Frey

Kevin Christie
Kevin Christie
7 months ago
Reply to  Frey

Hi Frey! How much Cayenne pepper do you add? Thanks!

Kevin
Kevin
8 months ago

Is there a preferred temp to hang the meat at.? Also how about humidity as well.

Jim J
Jim J
8 months ago

5 stars
I built my own biltong box before Christmas and have already had successful results thanks to you and this page.
I was just wondering, what is the optimum temperature range? Do I need a bulb if the location of my box is around 18-20c? Will the fan suffice? Thanks.

Phil
Phil
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim J

5 stars
I also built my first box before Xmas. I have put a lamp in it but the bulb is an LED purely to see in the box. I think the temperature will be fine.

Phil
Phil
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim J

Biltong box

Michael
Michael
6 months ago
Reply to  Jim J

You don’t need a lightbulb – just keep the air moving

Keith Morris
Keith Morris
8 months ago

Just tried this recipe and the results are A1!!