Biltong is a spiced and cured meat that originated in South Africa and eaten as a healthy snack. Many different types of meat can be used to produce Biltong, ranging from beef through to game meats and fillets of ostrich from commercial farms.
South African Biltong is typically made from fresh fillets of meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle. Biltong is similar to Beef jerky however the production processes are different as Jerky is firstly cooked then dried, whereas Biltong is spiced, cured and dried. The word biltong is from the Dutch bil (“rump”) and tong (“strip” or “tongue”).
Biltong differs from jerky in three distinct ways:
The meat used in biltong can be much thicker; typically biltong meat is cut in strips approx 1″ (25 mm) wide – but can be thicker. Jerky is normally very thin meat.
The vinegar, salt and spices in biltong, together with the drying process, cures the meat as well as adding texture and flavour. Jerky is traditionally dried with salt but without vinegar.