Biltong is a high-protein, low-carb snack made from dried meat, salt, vinegar, and spices. It’s similar to jerky but with different production methods and flavors.
Originating from South Africa, biltong is a traditional snack food made from salt cured and air-dried steaks of meat.
Although biltong is a relatively new addition to the global snacking scene, it is not a new product. In fact, African communities have been making biltong as a means to preserve meat for hundreds of years.
The basic ingredients in traditional biltong are:
- black pepper
Historically, beef, Venison / Wild game / antelope species have been the most common choices of meat.
Biltong nutrients and potential benefits.
Biltong’s surge in popularity is partly due to its much more favorable and far healthier nutrient composition compared to many other common snack foods, such as potato chips, cookies, and crackers.
Its high protein and low carb contents makes it a good fit for a variety of diets. Biltong is also an exceptionally rich source or iron, a nutrient that many people around the world are lacking.
The nutrition profile of a 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of beef biltong is :
- Calories: 80
- Carbs: 0 gram
- Protein: 16 grams
- Fat: 2 grams or higher depending on the meat / fat ratio
- Iron: 35% of the daily value (DV)
- Sodium: 19% of the DV
Dried beef also serves as a good source of several other essential nutrients, including magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins.
Biltong is not the same as jerky
Biltong is often confused with jerky because they’re both dried, meat-based snacks. However, the ingredients and production methods are quite distinct.
Made via different processes
Both jerky and biltong use dried meat as their primary ingredient, but the meats are processed differently.
Jerky is usually hot smoked for several hours, whereas biltong is not cooked at all.
Instead, it is cured in a salt and vinegar brine before being hung to air-dry. This air-drying process can last for as long as 1–2 weeks before it is ready to eat, and depending on the thickness.
Jerky tends to be sweet and smokey.
Biltong has a deliciously savoury beefy flavour with coarsely crushed coriander seed, and Black pepper notes.
Use different cuts of meat and ingredients
Although biltong and jerky share their primary ingredient, the same does not necessarily hold true for their specific cuts of meat.
Jerky is almost always made from very lean cuts of beef, whereas biltong may be made from either lean or fatty cuts, depending on the style and desired outcome.
We make our biltong from Outside round (Silverside) cut into wide, thick steaks that are easier to hang, whereas jerky is typically thinly sliced into irregular pieces that are more suitable for smoking / cooking.