Biltong jerky is a meat recipe that originated in South Africa. It relies on their regional spices, and the dry, hot African climate to cook and dehydrate beef. Similar types of South African meat include boerwors (sausage) and droewars, which use beef, lamb and mutton.
We’re going to focus on making traditional variety of African jerky. We’ll give you everything you need to know about preparing this delicacy, and also how to modify it for your own original recipes.
It can be very easy and enjoyable to make, and is certainly a welcome staple of cultural diversity in any home. Read on to find out how to make a low-sodium and low-carb version, as well!
Preparing Your Biltong Jerky – Step One: Curing the Meat
Curing is a process of drawing moisture out of meat, which mainly consist of natural juices. We’re also going to use it to combine classic flavors into your dry meat.
Traditionally, coarse salt, black pepper and coriander are the main ingredients for South African biltong.
Cover the bottom of a sealable container with coarse salt (non-iodized salt is recommended). Apply liberally, as most of it will be removed before the meat is cooked.
For your biltong spice, add ground black pepper to the bottom of your container. Supplement this with a small amount of coriander seed, as the flavor is very strong.
Next, layer your biltong meat in strips approximately 1” wide and ½” thick. When you’ve covered the surface of your curing container, repeat the process on top of the previous layer, until finished.
You can also use brown sugar, or white sugar and molasses for a low-carb alternative to South African jerky. Other common ingredients include dried, ground peppers, vinegar and Worcestershire sauce, which can be mixed in between layers.
Finally, set your biltong recipe in the refrigerator and let it cure in an airtight container for about 24 hours.
Preparing South African Beef Jerky – Step Two: Drying the Brawn
There are multiple ways to begin this part of your biltong recipe. One is to simply scrape off the salt as well as possible, and use it as is. You’ll notice a significant amount of moisture in the bottom of your curing container, and that’s what the salt is for.
You can also use apple cider vinegar by pouring it into the container, closing the lid, and shaking the salt off.
In ancient past, African Jerky was dried in the open sun. One of the major reasons for using black pepper in their recipes, was to ward of flies and other insects. Today, it’s used mainly for flavor, as we have faster, more convenient and effective methods of drying beef jerky.
A meat dehydrator will help you streamline the process. You can set its adjustable thermostat and automatic timer, so that all you have to do is set the meat into trays, and enjoy it when it’s done.
Beef jerky dehydrators, in general, offer various benefits and drawbacks. All types will be able to dry your spices and herbs, allowing you to enjoy better quality produce, at a lower price. However, you’ll want a model that can balance heat and air effectively, as this will prevent your meat from cooking unevenly and take a lot of stress out of the process.
Using a jerky dehydrator to create African jerky is not only fun, but is an easy way to prepare the perfect amount of meat for your family!