Here you have some very handy hints and tips …
Biltong can be made from virtually any beef or venison, but remember, the better the cut and grade of the meat, the better the Biltong!
Silverside is perfect.
Always use freshly cut meat. If at all possible do not use vacuum sealed meat. (See “MOULD” below)
Always slice the meat with the grain and use a very sharp knife for best results.
SLICING THE MEAT
This is very important. The thicker the meat the longer it takes to dry. Aim for slices of anything up to 1cm in thickness. Careful now, this needs a bit of concentration. While slicing, one inevitably tends to end up with the bottom of the strip being much thicker than the top. It is not like slicing bread! The trick is to start slicing thinly, and to carry on slicing till the strip of meat falls away. Do not hack at the meat, then stop to assess your progress, and slice further. You will end up with unattractive strips of meat covered in nicks and cuts.
When marinating the meat always put the thicker pieces at the bottom of the dish or tray with the thinner pieces at the top. ALWAYS use a cover to keep away any flies for hygienic purposes.
HANGING THE MEAT
Always hang your meat in a dry, drafty area, free of insects and flies. If flies lay eggs on the meat you will end up with maggots and you can throw your biltong away!
NOTE: The BILTONG MAKER comes with a cover that will prevent any insects from getting near the meat.
STORING YOUR BILTONG
Biltong or smoked foods should be consumed within a week of preparation in order to avoid the possibility of mould, especially during wet and rainy periods or if you live in humid coastal areas. If you want to keep biltong over an extended period, rather put some pieces into a plastic bag, suck out as much air as possible through a straw, seal, and freeze for months.
If mould should occur, it can be removed by wiping it of with a cloth which has been dampened with vinegar.
A few simple precautions will prevent the occurrence of this irritating phenomenon. Biltong, especially the “wettish” type, can be affected by mould after it has been purchased and not consumed within a few days. It can also occur while making your own biltong. The following are the most common causes of mould and include some tips on how to prevent it:
- Mould is more likely to occur during hot and humid summer periods, especially at coastal areas unless you put the Biltong Maker in an air-conditioned room. Traditionally the “Biltong Making Season” was during the winter months. However, with the new methods of making biltong such as drying cabinets, you can now make your biltong all year round. Just avoid putting your Biltong Maker in a humid damp surroundings.
- Mould is very likely to occur if strips of meat touch each other during the hanging period. Special care should therefore be taken to ensure that each strip of meat hangs freely. Remember, if mould starts up it rapidly spreads to the rest of the batch.
- Mould is also more likely to form on meat that has been vacuum sealed or pre-packed and been lying in its own blood for a few days on the cold racks in shops. If you only have access to vacuum or pre-packed meat, establish whether the bloodiness has gone “tacky” when you unseal it. If it has, beware, this is a prime mould stimulant. You will need to wipe the meat thoroughly with a cloth dipped in vinegar, and pat it dry with a kitchen towel before starting with your preparations for making biltong. The best is to always buy fresh meat at the butcher.
- Do not hang meat in a dank out-building or a musty room which has been closed for months on end. The fresher the air and the better the ventilation, the less danger there will be of mould contamination.
- Many people hang their biltong in the kitchen and there is nothing wrong with that. Take care however, if the kitchen is very compact the steam from the cooking pots, kettles and the wash-up can create unacceptably high humid conditions.
- It is quite fine to keep your Biltong Maker in an air-conditioned area. This will prevent mould from happening especially in humid conditions.
- If you detect the first signs of mould forming you can save your batch by acting quickly. Wipe of all traces of mould with cloth which has been dipped in vinegar. This kills of the mould spores and you can continue hanging the meat to dry.
- If mould has severely contaminated a batch of hanging biltong it will not dry out, irrespective of how long it hangs. Give it to the dogs. It is not a pretty sight and it will get worse the longer it hangs!
NOTE: With the BILTONG MAKER you can make biltong all year round without the problem of mould, provided you follow the instructions in the manual.
Never let the meat touch and always dry the meat before hanging.
THOSE ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT WATCH POINTS!!
SAUSAGES AND BOEREWORS
Various types of raw sausages are suitable for drying and you can experiment to your heart’s content. Just remember to use the thinner sausages for the best results .
Don’t use mutton sausages!!
PERFECT GROUND CORIANDER
Place seeds in a hot DRY frying pan
Swirl them around untill they start crackling and get a very slight burn
Remove and slightly crush in a Mortal and Pestle or cover with paper and roll a bottle over them
TIPS BEFORE SOAKING
Use half vinegar and half dry red wine
Add 100 ml lemon juice to the vinegar/wine mixture
TIPS BEFORE HANGING
Make a mixture of ¼ coarsely ground black pepper and ¾ ground coriander. Sprinkle over the meat and press into flesh.
For those who like it HOT, sprinkle some peri-peri of your choice over the meat