Biltong is a variety of thinly sliced dried and cured meats, with the recipe originating from over 400 years ago in Southern African countries such as Namibia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. If we had to draw comparisons to another food out there, we'd say it's similar to beef jerky being a cured meat snack itself. But trust us - that's where the similarities end!
Biltong meat - What is it?
Although biltong can be made from a wide variety of different meats, including ostrich, lamb and eland, you'll most commonly find it in beef form as it's easy to get from farms and butchers. The best biltong is made using sirloin, silverside or topside. You can use other cuts, but this often results in a chewier snack.
We source premium quality grass-fed beef directly from UK farms that take pride in rearing animals to the highest welfare standards for our biltong. It keeps our meat traceable and our supplier relationships stronger, which is important to how we choose to do business at M-EAT!.
Our beef is tenderised in spices that are rich in coriander, salt, pepper and vinegar before being slowly dried for three days and expertly cut and prepared by our in-house butchers. No over-drying, no corner-cutting, just quality biltong every time.
How is biltong created?
Right from the start, we've been making our biltong from the most premium quality grass-fed British beef we can find. We're talking supreme quality and super-rich in flavour. If you've tried our award-winning biltong, you'll know exactly what we're talking about. But how do we get our biltong so soft and tender? We've been perfecting our process for a long time, trying out several methods and cutting zero corners to get it right.
Here at M-EAT! we make our biltong snacks the original way; marinating, seasoning, and curing. We take lean strips of premium quality beef, infuse them with a medley of herbs, spices and vinegar, and then hang these marinated stirps to dry for three days. It may sound easy, but we've perfected our method over time, ensuring we bring you a great tasting product time and time again.
All about M-EAT’s biltong
What is so good about biltong that we should all eat more of it? Well, to start with our biltong is only ever made using grass-fed, British beef. That will never change. It keeps our meat traceable and our supplier relationships stronger which is important to how we choose to do business at M-EAT!.
Then there is also the nutritional value of biltong that we simply cannot ignore. You will find almost 60 grams of protein in every 100 grams of M-EAT! Just 25 grams of lean protein can meet half of an adult's daily protein requirement. Natural protein, such as found in biltong, is crucial for muscle repair hence why we speak of biltong as a great substitute for protein shakes after a workout. This is particularly the case as biltong requires no preparation and is more convenient than a shake.
Where did biltong originate from? The history of biltong
Biltong isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, it has been around for over 400 years, with its origins tracing back to Southern Africa. In a time before fridge freezers, the indigenous people of Southern Africa needed a way of preserving meat for future meals. To do this, they sliced meat into strips, cured it with salt and hung it up on the branches of trees to dry.
When European settlers arrived in the early 1600s (primarily Dutch, German, and French), they brought with them their own curing process that involved vinegar and spices and thus biltong was born.
The word "biltong" is derived from the Dutch words “bil” (meat or rump) and “tong” (strip or tongue), so really biltong means strip of beef.
Can biltong just be made with beef?
Traditionally, biltong has always been made using beef. This is because of how readily available it is as well as the various tastes and textures you can get from it. However, biltong can also be made using various other types of meat including game such as springbok, venison, and ostrich. You can even make biltong out of fish. Biltong can even be vegetarian and vegan friendly, being made with mushrooms instead of meat or fish!
More about biltong!
Building or repairing muscles also requires amino acids which are found plenty in biltong. The amino acid taurine is particularly important in cardiovascular function as it helps with the development and function of skeletal muscle and the nervous system. The amino acid carnitine helps the body process fats as energy and encourages the use of more energy. In simpler terms, this means that you will see greater improvements after consistent workouts.
Furthermore, biltong is a great source of B vitamins and B12, in particular, which is responsible for the production of red blood cells. It also helps keep the nervous system healthy. B12 also processes folic acid whilst helping to release energy from the food we eat.
What’s the difference between biltong and beef jerky?
You're not alone in thinking that biltong and beef jerky are similar - after all, they are both dried meat snacks and have a long shelf life. But what are the differences between biltong and jerky, these two popular snacks?
This is an important one. While both jerky and biltong share beef as their main ingredient, the cuts used for each differ and the process by which they are made are poles apart. Biltong allows for more versatility, using a range of lean or fatty cuts depending on the desired texture, whereas jerky often uses cheaper cuts of beef which are then cooked.
What goes into biltong and jerky is also important. While they are both made from various spices, good biltong uses apple cider vinegar, salt and spices to cure and marinate the meat before it's hung up to dry. In contrast, jerky is marinated in spices, sugar, and sauces and is immediately cooked in ovens or dehydrators, often resulting in a saltier snack to heighten the taste of the cheaper quality meat. You will often find that jerky will have a lot more unhealthy preservatives.
If you've had jerky before, you'll know it has that dry, smoky flavour. On the other hand, biltong is cured using salt, pepper, cider vinegar, coriander, and that's pretty much it. It's never smoked, so it's much cleaner than jerky and also packs a punch more. Biltong can also have a slightly higher fat content than jerky, meaning it has a juicier taste. Jerky is made differently and is just not as good for your body.
When it comes to biltong makers there are many that cut corners. Generally, most biltong makers sprinke some spice after drying their meat. We do it the other way around - it is always best to infuse good quality meat before air-drying your biltong to max that M-EAT! taste. This is harder, takes longer, and we do it this way because it's better for you.
You might have gathered by now that the production processes are entirely different when it comes to biltong and jerky. Jerky is typically produced by cutting beef strips before cooking them in an oven or dehydrating quickly. Which, as you can imagine, makes the meat chewy. That's why jerky is often marinated in a sugary and salty sauce to help bring out the flavour and tenderise the beef. With biltong, the meat is marinated in a spice-based vinegar solution, is hung up to air dry (no heat) and is finally cut into either thick or thin strips depending on preference.
More benefits about biltong!
Dried beef is a great source of iron and zinc. Anyone who has experienced anemia will know the importance of iron in their diet. It's an essential mineral which helps nurture red blood cells which carry oxygen around the body. Zinc assists in the production of enzymes which in turn help process carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
So, all in all it would be fair to say that biltong is a powerhouse of nutrients which are essential for good health and wellbeing. Adding just 100 grams to your post workout routine, daily recipes or simply enjoying it as a snack can release immense benefits for your body.
Whether at work or play, with a variety of tempting natural flavours to choose from all delivered straight to your door, include M-EAT! in your healthy lifestyle. Subscribe to take advantage of savings. Extend the gift of M-EAT! to family and friends. Whatever you choose to do it will be one of the best decisions you make.
What are the best ways to eat biltong?
The great thing about our biltong here at M-EAT! is that it's high in natural proteins, low in carbs and sugars and is incredibly versatile, meaning you can add it to a variety of meals without preparation. Here are a few suggestions of the best ways to incorporate biltong into your everyday diet:
Physical activity creates micro-tears in your muscles - so when you're bossing it in the weights section and crushing your routine, you will experience more tears. This is why consuming foods rich in protein is vital as protein helps your muscles repair the tears, causing your muscles to strengthen and improve. By consuming a 35g bag of M-EAT! biltong post-workout, you can ensure your muscles get all the vital nutrients they need to recover properly. So next time you head to the gym, leave the protein shakes at home, and grab one of our 35g bags of biltong instead!
As part of your lunch
Instead of adding your usual chicken or eggs to salads, why not add some chunks of healthy M-EAT! biltong to it? You can add biltong on top of a leafy green salad to provide your body with all the essential vitamins and minerals it needs and because our biltong is full of protein, will keep you fuller for longer!
Paired with an ice-cold drink
Instead of an unhealthy and overly salty snack like crisps, why not crack open our big sharing bag (250g) of M-EAT! biltong with your friends whilst socialising? Unlike crisps, nuts and beef jerky, our biltong is much lower in fat as we only use the most premium quality grass-fed British beef from sustainable sources. It's also super low in carbs, so it is great if you're following a keto diet!
Creating biltong from home
If, like us, you can’t resist having a supply of biltong in the snack cupboard, why not try making it yourself? Homemade biltong is incredibly easy to make when you know how. Below are some tips and tricks to help get you started.
What you’ll need:
Meat - we recommend using high-quality meat from a local butcher for best results, but it does take a couple of attempts to find what’s right for you. The most common types of meat are beef, venison and other game meats but chicken, fish and mushrooms can also be made into biltong. At M-EAT! We use silverside beef for our biltong and recommend using lean cuts of meat where possible as fatty meats have a higher chance of becoming mouldy during the drying process.
Spices & marinades - coriander, salt and cracked black pepper are the holy trinity of biltong spice mixes. From there you can layer other spices on top depending on your taste preferences. No biltong marinade is complete without vinegar as this cures the meat as it dries and helps to give biltong its distinct flavour. Here at M-EAT! We use malt vinegar, but you can experiment using red wine or cider vinegar.
Tools - you’ll need some tools to help create your tasty biltong. Luckily you will already have many of these knocking around your kitchen. We recommend drying hooks to help you hang your meat, pestle and mortar to grind your spice mix and a conventional oven to help dry your biltong.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get started on making biltong!
To prepare the meat, you first want to start by removing excess fat. This will help with the drying process and ensure a longer shelf life. Leave a few small pieces of fat on for flavour and ensure you remove any gristle as this can become incredibly difficult to chew when dried.
Cut the slices of beef along the grain into strips, 1cm thickness is ideal however if you want a thicker biltong, you can make them thicker. Just remember, thicker pieces take longer to dry while thinner pieces dry quicker.
Next up is your biltong marinade. With a pestle and mortar, grind 43g of coriander with 2tbsp sea salt, 2tbsp black pepper and your additional spices. The easiest way to prepare meat for drying is to baste and season simultaneously. Place your sliced beef on a tray or plate in a single layer and sprinkle over vinegar and spice mix, ensuring you cover all the meat. Cover and leave overnight in the fridge to cure the meat. To ensure your meat is fully covered, you should turn every couple of hours.
After the curing process, take the meat out of the marinade and pat dry. If you are hanging biltong up to dry, this is the point where you should attach the meat hooks. We recommend adding the hook to the thickest end of each strip. Hang the meat in a well ventilated, isolated space such as a biltong box or dehydrator, ensuring no meat strips are touching.
If you are using a conventional oven, lay your beef strips flat on racks and set your oven to the lowest possible setting. A fan oven is usually best as it circulates heat and assists the drying process. After a few hours, you can hang your meat up to air dry.
At M-EAT! we hang our meat up to air dry for three days but you can hang yours up for anything from 3 to 10 days depending on the method you’ve chosen. Once you’ve reached your desired texture, your biltong is ready! Cut your biltong into smaller pieces and enjoy. Pretty easy huh?
It may take some trial and error for you to perfect a good biltong recipe, but that’s the beauty of it! Give our easy biltong recipe below a try if you’re feeling creative and don’t hesitate to show us your creations at @meat_biltong.
Biltong - Made Easy for home
- 2 kg premium quality silverside beef
- 250 ml vinegar (we use malt vinegar)
- 43g ground coriander seeds
- 2 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp spice of your choice. We like to use paprika
- Remove any excess fat from the beef
- Cut the beef along the grain into 1cm thick strips
- Combine salt, pepper, coriander seeds & spice of your choice in a pestle and mortar and then add the vinegar
- Lay beef strips flat in a tray
- Cover meat in marinade on both sides
- Refrigerate overnight to cure the meat
- Remove the meat from the fridge and pat dry with a paper towel
- Hook the meat at the thicker end of beef and prepare for hanging
- Hang the meat up in a well-ventilated place such as a biltong box or dehydrator, ensuring no pieces of beef are touching
- Dry the meat for 3 to 10 days depending on preference (we dry ours for 3 days)
- Once your meat is finished drying, cut up into slices of your choice and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
We make our biltong by marinating, seasoning, and curing lean meat from premium quality grass-fed animals reared on British soil. That means we guarantee full traceability from farm to snack.
Most of us love a good snack, and while everything is good in moderation, biltong is one of the healthier snacks to enjoy. Click here to read about 10 health benefits of biltong. Biltong is rich in protein and low in carbohydrates making it a great addition to several diets including keto and paleo. Because it’s high in protein it makes for a great post-workout snack and can be incorporated into a number of delicious meals. All of our biltong here at M-EAT! Is naturally high in Vitamin B12 which is essential for healthy blood and nerve cells as well as cell replenishment.
All our biltong here at M-EAT! Is made with simple ingredients - meat and a simple blend of spices and vinegar. Our 35g bags contain a whopping 20g of protein making them the perfect post-workout snack or as an addition to meals as part of a healthy, balanced diet. As biltong is a red meat, we would suggest consuming no more than three times per week.
Yes! biltong is a great healthy option to add into your diet as it contains zero sugars and uses the process of air drying rather than dehydrating which means it retains all the meat’s essential minerals, vitamins, nutrients and flavour.
Beef jerky is a cooked and dehydrated meat snack, made from a variety of spices and salts. Any moisture is wicked away from the meat meaning it can be preserved for a long time. biltong, on the other hand, uses a mix of vinegar and spices giving the meat a richer, juicer flavour. Jerky typically has 10x the amount of sugar of biltong, as well as a lot less protein. If you’re looking for a protein-rich snack to add to a healthy, balanced diet then our biltong makes for the perfect addition. Click here to read more about beef biltong vs beef jerky.
If you’re wondering where to purchase our delicious biltong in the UK, we can be found in-store at Selfridges and online at Amazon, The Savanna as well as right here on our webstore.
Our biltong here at M-EAT! Is much fresher than typical biltong because we do not over-dry it, which makes it much softer and tastier than many other brands. We always tenderise our meat whilst marinating, ensuring a more tender, melt in your mouth texture than you will find elsewhere, making M-EAT! far better.
All our products are low in carbs and high in protein making them the perfect addition to a ketogenic diet.
Whilst we work to ensure no allergens are present in our biltong and other products, we can’t always guarantee it. We take pride in our biltong being the highest quality ensuring it’s free from nitrates and MSG.
Biltong is an incredibly versatile meat and can be used in a variety of recipes. Here at M-EAT! We are passionate about bringing new and exciting ways to use biltong into your lives, you can find some great recipe ideas on our blog here.
Our subscription service is for everyone! Whether you enjoy cured meats and like experimenting with them or whether you’re an athlete looking for an alternative to protein shakes, we have plenty of options available for you to choose from. You can cancel your subscription at any time by logging into your account.
Here at M-EAT! We source only premium grass-fed beef directly from UK farms. In fact, we even know the farmers! And guess what? All of it is traceable - from farm to your biltong packet. Pretty exciting stuff, right? We take pride in supporting UK farmers, sourcing ethically and delivering a great product directly to you no matter what the weather!
Here at M-EAT! We also provide Wild Venison biltong, our newest and boldest addition to the biltong family. Although beef biltong is a great healthy, keto-friendly snack, venison can be just as good for you. With full traceability from farm to packet, we only use trusted UK suppliers of wild venison.
M-EAT! Provides 54% lean protein in every 100 grams meaning it makes for the perfect post-workout snack. No matter what flavour you choose, you can be assured that your essential post-workout nutrients are being met with every bite. With no artificial colour, flavouring or additives M-EAT! Is one of the cleanest foods you can consume when trying to build lean muscle.