Move over Jerky - America is ready for Biltong!


Biltong Made in America -  something everyone will love

Americans love their beef Jerky, but the rest of the world would probably agree that they would like Biltong more. Biltong and Jerky are very close relatives in the world of healthy snack foods, but true South Africans would know that Biltong and Jerky could not be further apart if you tried. Maybe it is time for a little Beef Biltong education about what Biltong is and why Dakota Pioneer believes you will love Biltong more than Jerky.

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A short History of Biltong

Biltong has a history that can be traced back to the indigenous population of Southern Africa long before the Europeans began to settle. The Europeans recognized not only the benefits of Biltong as a way to ensure sailors had protein on board but also that it was a delicious snack that could be improved upon just a little. Early biltong was perhaps closer to Jerky than the biltong we know and love today. Early settlers experimented with herbs, spices and vinegar carried on board their ships that were used to preserve food on ships on long journeys and soon realized that this made the dried beef extremely tasty and less tough to eat. This started a culinary story that has seen biltong and biltong making travel the world as millions of people grow to love the amazing South African food.

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What is Biltong?

It is fair to say that Biltong and Jerky are both dried meat products and this, for the Biltong connoisseur is where the similarity ends. Jerky is simply beef that has been hung and dried, using low heat, sometimes the Jerky is smoked. South African Beef Biltong is never smoked and is made in a manner that enhances the flavor to create a taste that millions of people around the world love and cannot get enough of.  Jerky is “cooked” in a dehydrator for up to 12 hours, to the biltong purist this is sacrilege as the process of hanging and drying is forced and rushed.

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Drying biltong is a slow process that can take up to two weeks perfected over more than 400 years and this makes all the difference.

Herbs and Spices or Nothing At All

Jerky is beef, force dried and slow-cooked, maybe smoked with a handful of spices if you are lucky in a few cases and is sold as-is. Biltong is a unique delicacy that delivers a mouth-watering taste that is without a doubt something any meat lover will want more of. Before being dried over the course of a week or two without the introduction of heat, the strips of beef used to make Biltong are soaked in a blend of herbs, spices, and vinegar. These herbs and spices change the texture of the beef and enhance the flavor of the final product and their inclusion is what makes Biltong Biltong.  The use of vinegar, especially apple cider vinegar gives Biltong a unique tang that is unforgettable and very moreish, it is perhaps the major distinction between Jerky and Biltong.

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Lekker Smaak

Biltong is South African and the real reason any South African will tell you Biltong is better than Jerky can be summed up in two Afrikaans words “Lekker Smaak” or nice taste. The taste and texture of biltong have most people hooked the delicious snack on their very first bite, but the only real way to find out is to get your hands on some traditional Biltong made the South African way in the USA. If you have traveled to Cape Town and tasted real biltong you will be glad to know that Dakota Pioneer has brought traditional biltong making to the USA and some say it is made even better with American Beef but let’s leave that up to you!

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2 comments


  • Steven Erikson

    I’m interested.


  • Mark LEvin

    Busy traveling. Just saw this. Please mail me so I can order when I get back.
    Biltong. Biltong biltong.


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