These pork strips were made following the recipe from the gentle art of preserving by Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi (you can check it out here, or probably at most book retailers). This is one of my favourite books. If you’re into pickling, drying, curing, bottling and fermenting etc. I highly recommend this book. I always use it for ideas, the recipes are easy to follow and it has a good range of ‘base’ recipes to get you started.
This recipe is pretty similar to biltong with a couple of changes. Because of the potential bacteria risk with pork it’s important to use the specialist curing salts, which you can get away without using when making biltong.
1kg lean pork
35g curing salts: either 9g quick cure and 26g coarse salt OR 3g Prague powder no.2 and 32g coarse salt (I used the second option)
250ml cider vinegar
2 tsp chilli powder
3-4 tsp chilli flakes
1-2 tsp fennel seeds (lightly toasted and crushed)
Cut your pork into strips about 2cm thick. Mix the curing salts and coarse salt; spread the mixture across the base of a dish.
Lay the pork strips on top of the salt mixture (if the dish is not big enough to have the pork in one layer you can have multiple layers, but make sure you sprinkle the salt mixture between each layer). Let it sit for about 30 minutes. During this time the salt mixture will start to draw out moisture from the pork.
Pour the cider vinegar into a separate bowl and mix in the spices. After 30 minutes scrape the salt mixture off the pork, this can be done with the back of a knife. Dip the strips into the vinegar mixture – washing off any remaining salt and coating the strips with the vinegar mixture on each side (if you would like extra flavour, reserve some chilli flakes and fennel, and press it onto the sides of the strips).
Hang the pork strips in a biltong drier/box for 3 days or in a dehydrator for about 6-8 hours on the highest setting, (I used a dehydrator). To check if it’s ready – you should lose half the original weight and and the strips should snap when bent (makes approx 500g of dried product).