What is the difference??!?!
We hear you scream from the roof tops.
As we tear our way around the British Isles taking to ‘meat fanatics’ and the ‘meat curious’ alike, we jump at the a chance to wax lyrical about our passion for how we like to cure our great British beef.
Biltong originally hails from south Africa and there is nothing that the natives do not know about this wonderful snack. It’s a lifestyle things for these guys, if you speak to any South african and they will tell you that they were brought up on the stuff.
Jerky on the other has emerged from the states and their passion for smokey meat goodness, only really recently having made it onto our noble shores. It is however, not geography that sets these two meaty mouthfuls apart instead I guess you could say there are 3 key differences between the two.
Although beef is most commonly used in both biltong and jerky, the beef used in biltong is generally much thicker due to the cut and a slower drying time. We use a silverside of West Yorkshire beef and can take anything up to a week in the dry cure. That’s love that is. We also use our own blend of vinegar, salt and spices for a marinade (for around 24 hours) before the start the drying process. Jerky is also dried but without the addition of vinegar and salt.
The vinegar and spices used bring that add extra flavor to biltong. While beef jerky often has a dry and smoky taste, (jerky is often smoked, while biltong is never smoked) biltong means you can still taste the beef – in proper biltong anyway! The reason we use use silverside is to ensure we get some of that delicious flavour as the beef cures, whereas jerky will contain very little fat. Depending on how you decide to make it, biltong can be dry and crumbly with no fat, or soft and chewy with more fat on it.
The key thing to remember is that biltong is made with the absence of heat, while most jerky is cooked in a dehydrator for 6 to 12 hours. Biltong is specifically air dried for up to a week by hanging. Biltong’s use of vinegar – whether white, brown or apple cider – is not specifically for taste (that’s a bonus), but as a curing agent and was designed to help keep flies off the meat as it dried. There are however – no flies on us.
We hope that clears that little quandary up for you and encourages you to head out to one of our wonderful stockists, get yourself a beer and some Hot Strips O Beef.