Biltong is four centuries old, beef snack of South Africa. It is cured in highly nutritious manner. It is very different than jerky in preparation, taste and overall nutritional value.
Many stories originate about its start off, but one fact is consistent that it has been around for years. Its purpose was to preserve the large quantity of meat, which were hunted for future use. Using vinegar, salt and available spices as curing solution they hung strips of meat on tree branches. After some days in the sun, the meat was ready to be preserved and to be carried on their journey.
How is Bil Tong prepared today?
Today, Bil Tong rings a bell about primitive days but with few modern twists. Before air-drying the meat is marinated in a solution of spices, salt and vinegar. Instead of branches, drying cabinets are used. The Bil Tong gets dried slowly in a consistent temperature for 3 to 4 days.
Beef is the common variety of meat used to prepare Bil Tong. The most used cut is the silverside. However, you can prepare it from variety of meats ranging from Ostrich to Kudu. It is trimmed and cut into strips of 1” or 2” thickness. It is placed in a solution of salt and vinegar first to cure before it gets bathed in special spices and herb mixture.
The Bil Tong is then left to relax and get rid of some moisture in the dryer. Once it reaches correct dryness, you can eat it straightaway or store it.
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