Make your own Biltong

 

Make your own Game Biltong

Make the most of hunting season. Try our recipe to make you own game biltong.

Basic biltong recipe

When making biltong salt and pepper are the most commonly used spices, but most biltong makers have their own special blend. Salt (preferably coarse) can be blended with spices like pepper, toasted coriander, vinegar, sugar, bicarbonate of soda and saltpeter. Vinegar gives flavour, and tenderises the meat. Brown sugar helps to prevent the outer layer of the cut pieces of forming a skin and also ads flavour.

The bicarbonate of soda, vinegar and saltpeter act as preservatives' preventing mould, and saltpeter also preserve the red colour of the meat. Be careful not to over spice the meat. The longer the meat marinates the more salt it will absorb. The longer it dries, the more the flavour will intensify.

Makes: About 5 - 7 kg
Preparation time: 1 hour plus pickling time
Drying time: 2 - 3 weeks


·         10kg game
·        
250 ml coarse salt
·        
100 ml brown sugar
·        
8 ml saltpeter
·        
12,5 ml bicarbonate soda
·        
7,5 ml pepper
·        
100 ml whole coriander, toasted, ground and sieved (see tip)
       
 Vinegar to taste


METHOD

1 Choose the cut of meat you are going to use: Use only good quality meat and remove as much connective tissue as possible. Ask your butcher about the best cuts of meat to use. The back fillets adjacent to the spine make delicious, thin garing biltong. The hindquarter is another cut ideal for biltong.

2 Cut the biltong along the seams of the muscles and then cut into long strips along the grain of the meat. Be careful not to make the pieces to big. The longer drying time can lead to spoiling. Remember the whole biltong making process will take 2-3 weeks if you are not using a Biltong drier. If you live in a damp area with high humidity, consider using a biltong drier to keep the biltong from spoiling. Use a sharp knife and keep your cuts neat and even. Weigh the meat to determine how much salt and other brine ingredients you will need.

3 Arrange the meat in a container suitable for marinating. Large pieces at the bottom with smaller pieces on top. A plastic or ceramic container is ideal; metal can cause a reaction with the pickling brine.

4 Spicing the meat: Sprinkle the basic biltong spice mixture evenly between each layer of biltong arranged in step 3. If you decide to add the vinegar now, sprinkle it on the meat with the salt mixture. Marinate for 12-18 hours and hang to dry without rinsing. Alternatively, sprinkle the meat with the salt mixture without any vinegar and marinade for 12 - 18 hours. Now rinse the meat in vinegar water (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water) and then hang to dry.

5 Drying the biltong:
Attach each piece of meat to a wire hook or a loop of rope and hang to dry. Make sure that the meat does not touch and that there is enough space for the air to circulate arround the meat or it will rot. For the first day, hang the meat in the sun. For the rest of the drying time - two to three weeks - hang the meat in the shade or in a well-ventilated room inside the house. Use an electric fan to facilitate airflow.

6 Storing the biltong:
Dried biltong can be wrapped in muslin cloth and stored in a cool dry place that is well ventilated. Never wrap in plastic, it will rot. If you want to freeze the biltong, wrap in cling wrap, make sure to squeeze out any air bubbles and freeze for up to one year. Defrost in the fridge overnight as needed. Don't serve biltong fridge cold, it is more flavourful at room temperature.


TIP: To toast coriander seeds heat the whole seeds in a dry frying pan over high heat and stir continuously until light brown in colour. Ground the seeds in a pestle and mortar and sieve. 15 ml whole coriander will yield about 5 ml ground coriander.