By Johané Neilson
Have you ever made your own biltong? It’s said that the art of making biltong is as specialised as that of winemaking – so if you think you’re a master in the making, enter the annual Stellenbosch Hills Biltong Maker of the Year competition. You could win R60 000 in prizes (see below)! I spent a morning at the Freddie Hirsch head office trying my hand at making biltong with a few other journalists.
Making the cut
Elize de Witt, Freddy Hirsch’s National Training Officer demonstrated how simple it is to section a large piece of meat for biltong. She makes it look so easy! If you still find it daunting, ask you butcher to help you.
• Biltong can be made from virtually any cut of venison. But note that the quality of the
meat directly influences the quality of your biltong.
• Grade A silverside beef is the best cut to use.
• Use freshly cut meat, and slice meat with a sharp knife. Cut with the grain in one motion – hacking can lead to spoiling during the drying process.
• Thicker strips will take longer to dry and increases the risk of spoiling.
We got to take a parcel of biltong home to hang. Elize uses Hunters Biltong mix from Freddie Hirsh – it’s delicious! If you want to make your own spice mix, you can still follow her guidelines. This is what mine looked like before hanging.
Elize’s Biltong recipe
- For every 1kg meat use 45g spice (We used Hunters with a little extra dried coriander)
- Place the meat in a clear plastic bag instead of a bowl – no mess, no fuss and you can massage the marinade into your biltong.
- Add about 10ml vinegar (wine or lemon juice also work) – not too much as the acid can overpower the biltong taste.
- Add about 30-50ml Worcestersous
- Give the meat a good massage and refrigerate overnght to rest.
- The meat is ready to hang the next day. It will take about 3 days to dry in a small biltong maker.