Biltong - Surprisingly Healthy, Always Delicious


Biltong is a form of salted, spiced and air-cured meat, usually beef, but various types of game, tuna, and even mushrooms are also used.

Biltong originated in the Southern African countries.  Wild animals were abundant in these countries and the indigenous peoples were hunters,  who, following a successful hunt,  needed to preserve meat for the future.  Having feasted on the fresh meat, they preserved the rest by salting and hanging strips of meat in trees to dry out and to cure.

The European settlers who arrived much later in Southern Africa adopted this technique to preserve meat and used it especially for their long treks into the hinterland in search of new horizons.  They refined the technique and added vinegar and salt to help the curing and preserving process.  Biltong is made basically the same way today as it was centuries ago, using grass-fed beef without artificial preservatives and flavors and remains an iconic and much-loved snack of Southern Africans.

Different cuts of beef are used giving a wide range of flavor and texture to biltong. Usually described as wet, dry, fatty or lean, this gives an indication of the amount of moisture and fat in the end product.  This is a highly individual preference, so most biltong makers cater to all tastes, including using certain spices, although salt, black pepper, ground coriander seeds, and vinegar are the most frequently used.  Biltong is at its best when not too dry, nor too spicy, nor too fatty.  Strips of meat of various cuts are soaked in usually vinegar, spices are added and then hung to air dry for about five days.  The strips of meat shrink in the drying process and the end product is about half its original size when ready to eat. The strips should be pliable and the color changed to a deep maroon.  Biltong is never cooked nor sweetened.  No artificial preservatives, additives nor heat are used in the production.


Biltong is usually eaten as a snack.  It is sliced and served often with drinks.

Cheese spreads and potato crisps are also made with biltong flavoring.  It is excellent used as an aid to teething babies to soothe their gums.


Biltong is an excellent source of protein as it is pure meat, so it is carb-free, containing no sugar or gluten and should also be preservative-free, so no artificial additives.


Biltong is now known worldwide and is popular in many countries, wherever Southern Africans have settled, they produce biltong and have given the world a unique taste experience.




  1. NSA, S.A.C.P.D.N. Benefits of Eating Meat Products Dried at  Lower Temperatures Food Safety and Flavour


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