Dried meat has a longer shelf life and a higher nutritional content than other meat treats. Manufacturers do not subject fresh meat to any thermal treatment during drying. Therefore the dried product retains all elements, vitamins, and other natural components in their entirety, which is critical for maintaining health. One such dried meat snack is biltong. It consists of beef, fish, poultry, or game meats as long as they’re correctly spiced, air-dried, and rendered delectable.
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You can trace the origins of this snack back to South Africa, and it has been around for millennia. Indigenous peoples required a way to store surplus meat for future meals before refrigerators and freezers were invented. To do so, they used what they had on hand: knives to cut the meat, salt to taste and preserve it, and tree branches to hang it till it dried.
It is comparatively new on the block, at least in the international market. Generally, it is produced with grass-fed beef and no artificial flavours or preservatives, just how it was hundreds of years ago.
- Biltongs are substantially thicker than jerky, measuring at least 1 inch wide, and you can cut it before or after drying. It’s a personal preference how you cut the meat. You can cut the meat with the grain for a lengthier, chewier result or against the grain for smaller, easier-to-bite portions.
- Manufacturers then season the meat with a blend of spices, including rock salt, ground coriander seeds, ground black pepper, allspice, and vinegar. You can also use any other native South African spice in its place. It has a unique layer of flavour and a tender, steak-like texture thanks to the dash of vinegar. As the meat dries, the vinegar cures it. Newer variations use modern components such as red wine or apple cider vinegar, sea salt, brown sugar, or soda bicarbonate into the recipe.
- Allowing the meat to air-dry is the final and easiest step. The meat should hang freely in a dry location with plenty of air movement. Depending on the weather and preference, it could take anywhere from 5 days to a few weeks to prepare.
- When completely dry, the meat shrinks to nearly half its original size. It will have a considerably firmer feel to it, and you will be able to bend it without splitting. It will also turn into a rich, deep red colour. You can keep it fresh for up to four days, and with adequate wrapping, you can keep it for several months.
Biltongs are already popular among travellers, healthy eaters, and people who prefer various snacks. It combines the best qualities of your favourite meats — jerky flavour, prosciutto suppleness, and the simplicity of dry aged steak — into one easy snack.
Biltong differs from other ready-to-eat meats as you can create it with only a few all-natural ingredients, minimum processing, and no artificial additives or heat. Therefore, it’s high in protein and contains all nine essential amino acids. Because beef biltongs are air-dried rather than heated or dehydrated, it retains the majority of these proteins, vitamins, and minerals. It’s more satisfying than a bag of potato chips and healthier than a protein bar. It’s also naturally low in carbs, low in sugar, and gluten-free.
Author Bio: Written by Meghan Hale, a content writer, and editing machine. She is working with Serpwizz. You’ll find me yelling at my dog to stop barking, whether it be at the neighbors or on a long afternoon walk