Finally, almost 30 years after leaving South Africa, I have made my first batch of biltong.
I’m not sure what it’s going to taste like – we’ll find out in a few days!
I started by making my own biltong box out of a plastic storage tub. Instructions are below:
I already had the 50l tub at home so I spent $3 on a small USB fan and anther $4 on a flyscreen repair kit which I used to cover the air intake holes. For the hanging rods, I used some old archery arrows that I no longer need and for the meat hooks I have used an old wire coat hanger that I cut and sterilised in boiling water.
The recipe for my first batch is a bit of a mixture – a recipe that I found online plus some advice from my dad. If I need to change anything after this first batch, I will adjust the recipe below:
- 1kg beef topside cut into 2 cm wide x 1cm thick strips (if you have venison, even better!)
- 75g brown sugar
- 30ml coarse cooking salt
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 30ml of coriander seed (which I crushed with mortar and pestle)
- 150ml red wine vinegar
- 50ml Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp cracked black pepper
- (you can add chili flakes or paprika if you want it a little spicy, but this was my first batch so I didn’t bother)
- Mix the dry ingredients together to form a rub. Sprinkle a thin layer over the bottom of a container large enough to hold all the meat strips.
- Mix the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.
- Dip the meat in the vinegar mix and place it on the layer of spices. Sprinkle some more spices over the top. Once you have a layer down on the bottom of the container, place another layer on top and sprinkle with the spice. Repeat until all meat is layered.
- Cover the container and place it in the fridge for at least 6 hours – longer is better. Turn the meat every few hours if possible so that you don’t get some bits that are saltier than others.
- Hang the meat in the biltong box for at least 3 days with paper underneath as it will drip.
If you start to get furry/mould spots on the meat, you can wash it off with vinegar and it will go away. If you forget to check and the whole piece turns mouldy – throw it away!
Let me know how your biltong turns out!