South African Biltong.. the way to my heart
In case it hasn’t been clear (with all my talk of braaing!), I am living in the UK now, but I was born and raised in sunny South Africa. Those that know me will note that this post is way overdue – BILTONG: The way to my heart since I first chewed on it while teething as a baby (how teething is dealt with in South Africa) and my favourite keto snack ever! There are numerous stores around the UK that sell excellent biltong, but nothing beats the satisfaction of making your own.
You could probably fashion your own biltong maker (box, light, fan) but my trusty one has never let me down. It gets used a lot and has a permanent spot on my kitchen counter. Regarding the spices, go ahead and try several or make your own, but Freddy Hirsch has perfected it! Step-by-step pics below.
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South African Biltong
Traditional South African biltong - my favourite keto snack ever! Makes one large batch - enough to last a week of glorious snacking ...
3+ days drying
Firstly, ensure you are working on very clean surfaces. Your biltong maker should be scrubbed with hot, soapy water and thoroughly dried.
You can ask your butcher to cut you a piece of meat, or you can simply buy a Topside or Silverside from the store. With or without fat is up to you.
Using a very sharp knife, slice the meat along the grain – not against the grain – into 2.5cm / 1-inch thick pieces (if you slice them any thinner, your biltong may be too salty.)
Prepare a bowl of regular malt vinegar, then dip each piece into the vinegar and remove and lay out on a cooling rack or grid set over a tray to ensure the excess vinegar runs off.
Place the tray in the fridge for several hours.
Boil the hooks (they come with the biltong maker) for 1 minute, then drain and set aside.
Prepare a bowl of the spice mix. Take each piece of meat, pat dry with kitchen paper towel and roll in the spice mix. Gently dust off any excess. Use a hook at one end and hang in the biltong maker. Discard the unused spice mix.
Turn it on and leave it for 2-3 days for moist biltong, or 4-5 days if you prefer it drier.
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Biltong is referred to as beef jerky everywhere else in the world, but it’s simply NOT. THE. SAME. THING. Nothing compares to the authentic flavour of proper South African biltong – that spice mix packed with all-important coriander seeds. Biltong can be a lean, high-protein treat, but I like it fatty! That is entirely up to you and the cut of meat you buy. Depending on the amount of time you hang it for, you can enjoy it moist or dry. (I like it moist.)
AND ... Not forgetting the pooches .... I keep a few small pieces of meat aside (skip the spice mix step) and hang as normal. See how they love it!
* I wasn't entirely comfortable about providing nutritional breakdown and macros for my biltong because Freddy Hirsch does not feature them on their food label. There is also a lot of spice that goes unused (after you roll the pieces in the spice mix) so I wasn't going to get accurate data for you. The calculations did, however, come in at 0g carbs per 100g / 3.5oz serving without the spice mix (obvs).
However, I couldn't ignore the mention of dextrose, sucrose and cereal in the Freddy Hirsch ingredients description (see below), so bear this in mind. List below for allergen purposes:
Freddy Hirsch Original Biltong Spice Mix Ingredients:
Salt, coriander (irradiated), white pepper (irradiated), dextrose, sucrose, ascorbic acid, MSG (flavour enhancer), cereal (wheat flour, gluten, Triticum aestivum), flavourings.