Beef Jerky vs. Biltong

For those of you wondering what the difference is between Beef Jerky and Biltong, I am here to break it down for you.

Hopefully we all know by now that Jerky is meat that is cut into thin strips (usually 1/4 of an inch thick) and dehydrated to remove the moisture content. But what you probably didn’t know is how Biltong is prepared…since none of you have probably tried it yet.

Biltong is similar in that it is a type of sliced, cured, and dehydrated meat, but it is the simple differences between it and Jerky that make the world of difference. First thing that you notice with Biltong is that it is cut against the grain of meat, something that differs with most Jerky products. Then you see that Biltong is spiced and flavored somewhat differently because of the use of pungent ingredients like vinegar, which is used as a pre-marinade. Finally you will notice that Biltong has a different cut to it, meaning that each strip is generally twice as thick as it’s beef jerky counter-part. Something that is just an acquired meat snack taste. That is typically why you don’t see Biltong sold in the U.S, it’s primarily a dish well-known in South Africa and some parts of Europe.

When choosing to experiment with making a Biltong dish of your own, please remember to dehydrate the meat in a cooler/well ventilated area (usually done outdoors which takes about 4 days) to get the full effect of it’s taste. Otherwise do it in your oven at a temperature between 100 to 160 degrees with the oven door cracked open for air-flow (usually takes 4 to 8 hours).

Enjoy 🙂


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4 Responses »

  1. by Alon

    Just want to correct a couple of things something:
    1.Biltong is NEVER put in the oven!!!
    2.Biltong isn`t dehydrated its dried.
    3.In the 18th century farmers hung the biltong outside, today it is done in a “box” with fans and a light bulb for for the simple reason that flies are an enemy.
    4.The biggest difference between biltong and jerky is that biltong has no preservatives,the spicing and the way it is served.
    5.Last but not least: biltong is more tasty, and is much more high quality in every way than jerky. It is rich in B12 and other vitamins.

    Jerky is a fattening snack compared to biltong that is recommended by diet specialists!

    Sorry to be so obnoxious but I personally think that people that read what is written in here are getting the wrong info



  2. by jojo

    I agree with Alon, biltong is far tastier.

    2cm thick,2-3″ wide strips corned silverside, cut fat off
    Rock salt on for an hour
    Brush salt off with cider vinegar and little bit of worchestire
    Quick Paper towel dry
    Roll in spice mix(course toasted coriander, course black pepper, 1 tbsp brown sugar & chilli flakes)
    12 hours in fridge the hang up with large paperclips
    2 days depending on humidity/airflow

    I use a box with a fan (no light) but my mate from Zimbabwe just sits them on a frame on a desk with a desk fan blowing in his spare room. Says flys don’t land on it in windstream (I more woried about dogs/rodents)

  3. by Lynette Holroyd

    Biltong is made by first cutting the meat into strips. The most popular cuts of meat used to make biltong are the muscle running along the backbone, and any muscles taken from the region of the buttock, including the silverside, topside and thick flank. The strips of meat are then dipped into undiluted red, white, or apple cider vinegar. The vinegar ‘bath’ dissolves some of the sinew and binding tissue making the meat a little more tender. It also opens up the pores of the raw meat, so that the spices are able to penetrate deeper into the meat.

    So its all about the cut and the fact that biltong is dried or cured and not dehydrated. Biltong is a SA tradition whereas Jerky is more of an American tradition.

    And, yes biltong is absolutely delicious and a healthy snack option.

  4. by TIM

    Biltong is cut with the grain of the meat, not against.

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