Biltong is a form of cured, air-dried meat that originated from South Africa. Biltong is typically made from raw meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle or flat pieces sliced across the grain.
Biltong is a culinary counterpart of beef jerky as both products are visually similar and undergo a preparatory process of drying. The key difference in taste between Biltong and regular beef jerky is a more savoury flavour for the former that is the result of differing ingredients and their application.
500g emu oyster fillet
crushed coriander seeds
500ml apple cider vinegar
Note – Biltong can be made with any lean red meat and some white meat, if you don’t have emu meat you can substitute with beef, venison, wallaby, kangaroo etc.
Cut the meat into thin strips around 2cm thick. As I was using fillets I decided to leave them as they were already around 2cm thick. Using a large flat bottomed dish, sprinkle a thin layer of salt covering the bottom of the dish. Place the fillets or strips onto the salt bed.
Sprinkle a thin layer of salt to cover the top of the meat. Depending on the size of the dish or quantity of meat you have, you can stack the meat in layers with salt sprinkled in between each layer if you need to. Leave it to sit for around 30 minutes.
During this time you will see the meat starting to ‘sweat’ as the salt will draw out the moisture from the meat.
After the salt time is up remove the meat from the dish and using the back of a butter knife scrap off the remaining salt.
In another dish, pour in enough apple cider vinegar to cover the meat. Place the meat into vinegar for a minute or two, this also washes off any excess salt. You can at this stage mix in your spice mix into the cider vinegar, but I find that it doesn’t stick very well to the meat so I usually apply it in the next stage.
Once removed from the cider vinegar, gently pat dry the meat with paper towel.
Rub the spice mixture into the meat, making sure that both sides of the meat is coated.
Hang the meat in a biltong box if you have one for around 3 days, or place the meat in a dehydrator for around 4-6 hours. If you don’t have a dehydrator or a biltong box, you can also hang the meat in a dry, well ventilated room or cupboard for around 3-5 days.
The biltong is ready when its lost around half its original weight.