If you are a South African or know someone from there, you may have heard of biltong. It's a delicious snack that has become a favorite among not only South Africans but people all over the world.
What is Biltong?
Biltong is dried meat. It's made by marinating strips of beef, game meat, or ostrich in a mixture of vinegar and spices for a few hours before it's hung to dry. The vinegar acts as a natural preservative that prevents the meat from spoiling while it dries.
Where Did the Name Come From?
The word "biltong" is derived from the Dutch word "bil", which means buttock or hindquarter, and "tong", which means strip. In South Africa, biltong is referred to as "biltong vleis", which basically translates to "dried meat".
How is Biltong Made?
Biltong is made by first choosing the type of meat you want to use. Beef is the most commonly used meat, but game meat and ostrich are also popular choices. Cut the meat into thin strips along the grain and marinated in a mixture of vinegar and spices for a few hours. The most common spices used in biltong are coriander, salt, pepper, and brown sugar.
Once the meat has been marinated, it's hung to dry in a cool, well-ventilated area. Traditionally, biltong was dried outside, but these days, most people prefer to use a biltong box, which is a small box with a fan that helps to circulate the air and dry the meat more quickly.
How to Store Biltong?
Biltong can be stored at room temperature as long as you allow it to "breath" freely - therefore a brown paper bag is preferred above plastic! If you want to store it for longer, you can keep it in the refrigerator or fridge, where it will last for up to a year.
What is the Nutritional Value of Biltong?
Biltong is a high-protein snack that is low in fat and carbs. A 100-gram serving of biltong contains around 50 grams of protein, making it an excellent snack for bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. Biltong does contain some sodium, so people with high blood pressure should consume it in moderation.
How to Cut Biltong and Creative Ways to Use It in Recipes
Biltong is not only a tasty snack on its own, but it can also be used as a flavorful ingredient in various recipes. But before we dive into that, let's first talk about the best way to cut your biltong.
How to Cut Biltong
Cutting biltong is relatively easy and can be done in a few simple steps if you don't have a Claasens biltong slicer:
Start by getting a sharp knife. A serrated knife or a carving knife works well for cutting biltong.
Using your knife, cut thin slices against the grain. This will help you achieve tender and easy-to-chew pieces.
Remember, the thickness of the slices is a matter of personal preference. Some people like thin slices that melt in their mouth, while others prefer thicker and more robust pieces. Experiment and find what works best for you!
A much easier way to cut your biltong is with a Claasens biltong slicer. Various models are available - electric or hand operated and also models for different thickness slices. It can't be easier!
Creative Ways to Use Biltong in Recipes
Beyond enjoying biltong as a standalone snack, you can incorporate it into various recipes to add a unique and savory twist. Here are a few ideas:
Biltong Salad: Slice your biltong into thin strips and toss it into a fresh salad for an extra burst of flavor and protein. It pairs well with greens, cherry tomatoes, avocado, and a tangy vinaigrette.
Biltong Wraps: Create a tasty wrap by adding thinly sliced biltong to a tortilla along with your favorite fillings such as lettuce, tomato, cheese, and sauces.
Biltong Pizza: Sprinkle biltong over your homemade or store-bought pizza before baking. The heat will intensify the flavors, and you'll have a unique pizza topping experience.
Biltong Omelet: Add chopped biltong to your scrambled eggs or omelet for a protein-packed breakfast with a delightful twist.
Biltong Pasta: Use biltong as a substitute for traditional cooked meat in pasta dishes. Simply slice it into small pieces and toss it into your favorite pasta sauce for a rich and flavorful twist.
Feel free to get creative with your recipes and experiment with different combinations. Biltong has a rich flavor that can enhance a variety of dishes, so don't be afraid to think outside the box.
Remember, the versatility of biltong makes it an excellent ingredient for both traditional and fusion cuisines. Enjoy exploring the many delicious possibilities!
Biltong is a delicious snack that has become a part of South African culture. It's easy to make, stores well, and is packed with protein, making it an excellent snack for anyone who wants a healthy and tasty snack. It is also easy to cut with a Claasens biltong slicer and can be used in different recipes.
If you've never tried biltong before, give it a try, and you might just find yourself hooked on this South African delicacy.