Monday, April 03, 2006

Making Biltong!

Ahhh after over three years of not having the luxury of driving down to Tilbar Butchery to buy a few sticks of the best biltong ever, I have finally got round to making a batch here at home.

So what is biltong? Well, it is dried meat that is cured and spiced and given 4-6 days of hanging to mature before eating. After much online searching for a decent recipe I found one that I was able to modify and not only did it have the recipe but it had the blueprint for making a biltong box. At the bottom of this post are a few pics of my biltong box, and some of the contents. I managed to buy a really good peace of London Broil approximately 8lbs with the fat trimmed off. Making biltong until you master it should have as little outside fat content as possible to avoid curing issues from spoiling the whole batch. I bought my chunk of meat at "Sprouts" where the blockman was very helpful.

Here is a list of the spices I used:

Whole Coriander Seeds, WholeBlack Pepper seeds, Kosher Salt, Brown Sugar and Organic Cider Vinegar.

My modified recipe goes like this:

Cut meat across the grain into half inch strips. trim away any excess fat. Put some of the cider vinegar in a clean sterilized spray bottle, evenly spray both sides of the strips, and place on a paper towel to soak up excess liquid. Place coriander in frying pan and heat through for approximately 10 minutes. Place coriander in grinder, and blitz until you have an even mixture of powder, husks and whole seed. Mix brown sugar, kosher salt (not as salty as regular iodized salt...) and coriender mix in a bowl, and then evenly coat each strip. Once all strips are evenly coated place in a bowl with paper towels at the bottom to soak up excess liquid/blood etc. Allow meat to cure for 4-6 hours. Once complete - take each strip and dip into hot water and cider vinegar mixture, place on paper towel to soak up excess fluid. Mix spice to taste in a small shaker (my spice is: coriander/blackpepper/kosher salt) Some recipes include garlic flakes, piripiri - I guess whatever your taste is mix accordingly, I prefer the more traditional flavor. Spray each strip once more gently with cider vinegar, and then shake your spice mix minimally on both sides, and then pierce strips, and hang in biltong box. My biltong box is just a regular shipping carton, modified with a light fitting at the bottom, a few holes punched out at the bottom and top to ventilate and keep air circulating evenly. I have placed my box in a cupboard area that is not opened frequently - this will spoil your meat with temperature fluctuations...be tempted not to open the box too often, and especially don't be tempted to snack on the biltong until it has had a good 4-6 days hanging time to avoid a mega upset tummy...been there done that...not a good feeling.Sit back, waite for a few days, open the box and presto...you have made your own biltong - a famous delicacy throughout Southern Africa.

I have attached a few pics below for your viewing pleasure so that if you are trying to visualize it now you know what we mad Africans love to snack on! As you can see in the pic on the right, it turned out spectacularly good!!!

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