If you can find it, South African cured meat called biltong is one of the best snacks you can include in your diet. Although biltong somewhat resembles beef jerky in terms of appearance and flavor, there are no other similarities. Biltong and beef jerky are different in many ways. Grab a bag and give it a go if you haven’t already. It’s a fun experience and a delicious way to have a wholesome and nourishing snack.
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While both biltong and beef jerky are dried meats, there are three key distinctions between the two, including the ingredients, flavor, and method of production.
What ingredients are used in Biltong and Jerky?
Although beef is the meat that is most frequently used in both jerky and biltong, the beef used in biltong is typically much thicker because of the way the meat is cut and the longer drying time. While jerky is typically very thin, meat is typically cut into strips that are an inch wide or even thicker.
The meat is cured by the addition of vinegar, salt, and spices to biltong as well as the drying process. Jerky is dried as well, but it doesn’t include vinegar or salt.
How different does Biltong and Beef Jerky taste?
The spices and vinegar used in the manufacturing process also give biltong more flavor. Biltong offers a distinctive meat flavor while beef jerky frequently has a dry and smoky taste (jerky is frequently smoked, but biltong is never smoked).
The thin strips of jerky also contain very little fat. On the other hand, biltong is made from a variety of cuts, some of which have more than 50% fat volume. Because of this biltong is more diverse than beef jerky. Biltong can be either soft and chewy with more fat on it or dry and crumbly with no fat, depending on how you decide to prepare it.
How are Biltong and Beef Jerky made differently?
While the majority of jerky is cooked in a dehydrator for 6 to 12 hours, biltong is made without the use of heat. Biltong is specifically hung on hooks to air dry for up to a week. White, brown, or apple cider vinegar is used in biltong not just for flavor (although that’s a bonus), but also as a curing agent and to help keep flies away from the meat as it dries.
The additional ingredients and seven-day aging process give biltong a flavor that sets it apart from beef jerky.
Visit our online biltong shop if you want to experience the difference for yourself.
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