Making your own biltong – biltong maker and biltong recipe

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)
  1. 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.
  2. Mix the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!


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