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What is Biltong And Why You Absolutely Must Try It! 


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Thalia O.

Biltong, South Africa, Beef Jerky

Food trends! What are you going to do with them? Well, eat them that’s what! Whether you are simply curious or a devout foodie most of you will be keeping up on all the trends that are hitting the culinary world. From CBD infused food to international tastes that are finally finding their way to your shores, like the South African snack, Biltong.


What? You have never heard of Biltong?! Well, let’s fix that, right now!


What is Biltong?

It would be easy to just say that Biltong was a South African version of beef jerky from the U.S., but that would also be completely wrong. Where there are some similarities like it is a cured meat product and it is sliced up into strips (beef jerky before the process and biltong after) that is where those similarities end.


Biltong is a thicker and more flavourful cured meat that can be made of any type of meat (heck there is even a place in Cape Town called Fisherman’s Biltong that does tuna biltong), the trick is that it has to go through a very specific curing process.


This process is a unique technique specific to South Africa and crafted in a time when refrigerators were not even the ramblings of that crazy inventor down the road. Thick cuts of meat covered in spices and left to air dry Biltong is a great snack and high in protein (for those of you that are concerned with that). 


Sound delicious!? Still not convinced! Well, there is a really great reason why listicle article by Brooklyn Biltong (we will talk about them in just a bit). But before you head over there to check that out don’t you want to know about that special process and how Biltong is made? Good, let’s get to the meat of it!


How to Make Biltong

Biltong, South Africa, Beef Jerky, How To Make Biltong, Biltong Recipe

Photo from Wikipedia


So, let’s start with a little history… A long time ago in a country far away there were some pioneers from the Netherlands, and they needed some food that would last and not go bad while they were out doing what pioneers do… enter Biltong. The process really hasn’t evolved that much over the centuries in fact except for a few new spices and flavourings the overall process is the same. 


You take meat whatever meat you want (most commonly beef) and then you need to get your curing solution all mixed up (see recipe below). This solution is rubbed in all the meat you are looking to craft into that delicious snack and then placed in a large container that has been layered with a thin layer of the rubbing ix on the bottom.


Fill it up until you have all your meat in it and then let stand for about 24 hours. Now all that’s left is to hang that meat up in a cool, dry location that has good airflow.


How long this process takes depends on how you like your Biltong. If you like it a little wetter, then two days may be perfect. If, however, you like a dryer Biltong then you may need to leave it for a few more days.


Thinking of trying your hand at making some? Here is a standard recipe. But remember the spices are all up to you!


Biltong Recipe

  • Meat of your choice (beef, chicken, ostrich, and venison are common)
  • Brown sugar
  • Coarse salt
  • Baking soda
  • Coriander seeds
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Black pepper


Mix the ingredients together and you are ready to go. The measurements depend on the amount of meat you are looking to cure.


With this basic recipe and a little imagination, you can mix your Biltong game up every time. But if you are saying that’s a lot of work and just would rather find somewhere to buy some Biltong, then keep reading. We got you covered!


Biltong, South Africa, Beef Jerky

Photo from Pexels


Great Places to Try Biltong

Biltong is becoming way more accessible outside the confines of South Africa and that is a great thing. It is a highly nutritious snack that can be used in many of those trend diets without shame. So, if you are looking for places to get you Biltong fix check out the places below.


Trying to find this delicious treat in the U.S? Here are two of the best places to get you some of that meaty goodness. And a bonus – Brooklyn Biltong has a website where you can order your Biltong from the comfort of your couch!


Founded by two young entrepreneurs on the recipe of one of their grandfathers, this Biltong company is making waves in Brooklyn and introducing Biltong to the U.S.


This gastropub in Atlanta is one of the best places stateside to find the delicious treat known as Biltong. You can also get other food and drinks too. Yum!


Biltong Bar in Atlanta, Beef Jerky, South Africa, What is Biltong

Photo from Wiki Commons


If you’re heading to Cape Town (first… lucky you!) and have a craving for some Biltong, then you should check out these places…


Opened in 1994, this is a family owned business that has expanded to have several shops. Starting in Fish Hoek, there are now branches that include places in Plumstead and Somerset West to name a few.


This Biltong maker is a Halal certified wholesaler. You may have to buy in larger quantities than you think you want. But trust us, you will not have any of that treat go to waste. It lasts forever!


This is a chain of Biltong bars that started in Sea Point. A simple butchery that has grown into one of the most well-known names in the Biltong market they offer a wide range of meats and flavours.


Final Thoughts

So now you know what Biltong is! And why you absolutely must try it! So, what are you waiting for? Hop on the plane or pull out that laptop and get yourself some of this amazing South African treat! You will not be sorry, we promise!


Do you have more of a sweet-tooth? Check out these South African Desserts instead.