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My Love Affair with Biltong

Video Series on How to Make Biltong

I first came across biltong when i was travelling through Africa. It was initially when i got into Namibia, then more so in South Africa that i really grew to love it. At the time it was all game biltong and i think by the time i had left the southern tip of the African Continent i probably had consumed a small springbok. I loved everything thing about it, the textures, the flavours and the actual physical process of  trimming strips of a whole biltong stick just so you could eat it.

Fast froward 10 years and fate would play its hand where i opened up a couple of butchers shop in England. Whilst we were very much the convential English butchers shop, i am not English and i wanted to introduce other meats to my customers. Given my South African memories it was something i was excited to pursue. From that i dabbled in all meats South African. Long story short, i was making Droewors, Boerwors and Biltong for customers and other South African Deli’s around the South of London. At one stage we knocked out 1000kg of sausage within a single week.

Over the years I have had multiple conversations on had to make Biltong, i got sick of telling the same story. This is the reason why i decided to make this video series on making Biltong. Believe me nothing is better than eating your own home made Biltong. Go through all the videos then have a go yourself. This is just my recipe on how to make biltong, it is not the right way nor is it the wrong way, it is the way that worked for me. Have a play yourself. Hope you enjoy it.

To get started now go to Video 1 for the Biltong Video Tutorials.

Biltong Tutorial Introduction

Biltong Video Series Introduction

Video Transcript

Hi there, my name’s Daryl, from Biltong Solutions. What we’re trying to do in this video, if you like, is just put together a very simple video guideline on how to make biltong or boerewors or droëwors products. Simple as that. I meant, it’s raw, a bit like our meat. The video it’s very amateurish, but this is it. It’s just purely as a demonstration on how to do it. We want you to go away and do it and enjoy it.

Clothes for instance, it’s freezing outside. We’re in England, and have had some of the coldest winter weather forever. So yeah, thus the scarf, the hat. Great for making Biltong and all that because all your meat stays cold, but anyway apart from that.

So all we’re going to do really in a series of videos is we’re going to give you guidelines on how to make dry boerewors, which is one style of South African products. Biltong is another one, and then we have droëwors, and that’s it really.

And then, all we’re going to do is break it down into each individual product, show you how to do it. You take from it what you want. Do it our way, do it your own way, do variations of both. Just we want you to do it, enjoy it, and go from there. And we’ll talk to you in the next video.

Okay, thanks. Bye.

Right enjoy the Tutorials. Get started with how to make biltong spice.

How to make Biltong Spice | Making Biltong – Part 1

How to make Biltong Spice.

Video transcript

Hi there, Daryl here from Biltong Solutions. Today we’re going to talk about spice, which is probably the most crucial of making biltong, droewors or boerewors, because it’s all about the spice or the seasoning you put into the product which gives you the end result,

Cameraman: The flavour.

The flavour, exactly. So, what we’ve got here is a little arrangement of spices and everything that we want to go through and show you which makes up biltong, because that’s what we’re going to concentrate today on. Biltong Spice.

So the first thing we’ve got is obviously a mixing bowl. You need a mixing bowl, a measuring jug to measure out your portions. Now, I’ve got everything on a large scale here, just to give you an idea. It’s easier to show it on a video. but scale everything up or down as you see fit, depending on the volume that you are going to make.

So that’s it. But our basic ingredients are: Cracked coriander, cracked coriander seeds. Now these have already been pre-cracked. You can buy it like that. Or you can also do is buy whole coriander seeds, crack them yourself, that way, that’s another way around it. Or you can do variations. What we’ve also done sometimes is we’ve taken a big batch of whole coriander seeds and we’ve put them in the oven, roasted them for a short term and then cracked them. Because it’s easier to crack but also it gives you a different flavour. So, you know, variations on flavour. Do it as you see fit.

We’ve got coarse sea salt which is essential. Helps in the actual curing process. We’ve got a bit of cracked black pepper. Which is, you know, very good, again flavour.

Cameraman: That’s 12 mesh that.

12 mesh? Yeah, but I mean you can add a coarse or as fine as you want. You know, really, you can use…

Cameraman: That’s sort of medium, that’s a medium mesh.

Yeah, so, and we’ve also got an off-the shelf product seasoning which is straight out of South Africa. I mean, Crown National is very us, very South African manufacturers that do a… you know we use this sometimes as a base product to make the biltong.

Cameraman: Is that because it’s got an additive in it or?

Well, yeah, it’s…

Cameraman: Preservative.

… good, you know it’s an off the shelf product and if you just want to make quick biltong use that stuff, because you know, you can just put it straight on.

What we’ve done here is variations. Basically you can use this as a base mix and then add additional seasonings to give it your own unique flavour. And we find that’s what we do and it works better. Because, you know, any Joe can just make this and it’ll pretty much taste the same. What, you know, to give it your own unique flavour we add these other products…

Cameraman: Spices.

…though give it the uniqueness, other spices yeah. And that’s basically just your Crown National. I mean it’s good as a base mix because it has got a preservative in it which does alter the meat, help in your product.

Right. What we’re going to do. We work on a base mix of one measure of coarse sea salt which is pretty much that. So one measure of coarse sea salt. We have cracked coriander seeds. We generally do one measure of that into the mix. We do half a measure of cracked black pepper. So that goes into the mix there again. And then for the base mix, the seasoning. Let’s do it this way. We do, again a full mix [sic] of that into the mix. There, you can see it there and then all you do is you give it a good mix up.

You can see that salt coming through, which is quite nice in the finished product. Big coarse pieces of sea salt. And again, it just helps. Now what you’ve got here is a unique blend, that’s unique to you, and from that you’ve got your seasoning.

That’s it really. This is just a guideline, a base of what we do. You’ll soon work out what works for you, what you can add and what not.

So the next video we’ll go on to actually getting ready and making your biltong and going from there.

Cameraman: Thank you.

Thank you.

Got on to Video 2 – Choosing your Beef for Biltong

Choose your Beef for Making Biltong | Making Biltong – Part 2

What is the right cut for making Biltong?

Video transcript

Hi there, Daryl here again, Biltong Solutions. We’ve covered spice. Next stage of spice is obviously your meat.

Right, for us, making biltong, we use silversides. We find it’s the best in terms of giving you nice big portions of meat. It’s the cheapest in terms of value for money, and, you know, that’s what it’s about. People want to get a good product for the lowest cost possible. So, you know, some people would say use rump, some people topsides, but to be fair in terms of cost, silverside is the cheapest of those cuts, but the best in terms of giving you a biltong product. So we thoroughly recommend silversides.
The other thing is you can go into a butcher shop or a supermarket, if you like, and you can buy individual steaks. What we’re saying here is buy, if you can stretch it, if you’re going to make a lot of biltong, buy a case, because in terms of value for money, that’s the best way to do it. Buy a whole case of silversides. This is how it will come. It’s nice and easy. And if you know you’re going to make biltong, you know, for the next year or whatever, do it that way. You can prepare it, freeze it down, and in terms of value for money, this is the way to go.
So basically, right, you’ve just bought your case, and this is how it comes, nice and simple. You’ve got three pieces of silversides. They’re all individually wrapped, ready to go, very clean, nothing to it. What you want to do . . .

Cameraman: They are already trimmed up, aren’t they?

Yeah, they’re very trim. They’re very lean. All the work has been done for you basically. So what you want to do, before you start going on to making your biltong, is just open the bag over a sink, drain the blood, and get ready to cut your meat, and we’ll cover that in the next stage of the video. So get your silversides out of the packets, drain the blood, one at a time really. And if you look at the next video, we’ll show you have to prep it to do biltong.

Thank you.

Got on to Video 3 – Trimming your Beef for Biltong

Trimming your Beef for Biltong Steaks | Making Biltong – Part 3

Trimming your Beef for Biltong Steaks

Video Transcript

Hello. ! Daryl here again. Biltong Solutions. What are we going to do now? Well, we’ve covered spice, we’ve covered what type of meat to actually buy to make your biltong, and now we’re going to go on to the actual cutting itself, the prep work. So, as we said before, we talked about silversides, and what we’ve got here is a whole piece of silverside now, taken out of the packet and drained of its blood. You’ve got two sides, which is that side up, and then you’ve got the other side, which is the fat side. What you want to do is lay the fat side down on your surface, and it doesn’t really matter which way it’s facing you, this way or even that way. It just depends on whether you’re left-handed or right-handed really. So I’m going to do it this way.

Now, the first thing you’ll notice is, generally, with silversides, you are going to get a big strip of sinew or like ligaments between the muscles, and that’s what this piece is here. It’s very tough.

Camermanman: Very chewy.

Daryl: Very chewy. And basically, you wouldn’t want it in your mouth. So we want to get rid of that first. There’s a piece here, and, generally, there’s another piece around this area here. So that’s what we’ll do first. So, really, what you want to do . .. oh, knives, you want to have a boning knife, which is to do a bit of knife work, for getting in close, and then you’ve got a steak knife, a regular knife, for doing the long cutting of the meat itself.

Cameramman: The boning knife’s good for the sinew, isn’t it?

Daryl: Yeah, exactly. The boning knife is for sort of trimming up odd bits here and there really. So that’s what you want to do. Any sort of gristle, sinew, you want to take it off now, because it’s going to end up in your product, and you don’t really want to be eating that. So first thing you do, you can take a bit of the surface fat off, that’s fine, but you want to get under the sinew. And the easiest way to do that is if you actually go, if you see there, you can go under the sinew itself. Use your boning knife and get under the sinew. Now this sinew is tough, believe me. I mean the knife will cut it, but you can actually use it as a guide to take the sinew off. Now, get your finger in there, if you like. Obviously, be very careful, but slightly angle your knife up, and you will find that your knife will be guided along the sinew itself, and it will actually help. It should come off all in one piece, because, effectively, you’re just taking off the sinew. See, there you go.

Cameraman: Just a little bit more trimming there, but . . .

Daryl: Yeah. But, I mean, that’s it. Basically, that’s what you do. When you’re cutting up and the sinew is guiding your knife along what you want to take.

Cameraman: So, as you said, you angle it up. You don’t have much meat waste, then, by the looks of it.

Daryl: No, because you’re following the sinew, and you’re not really taking the meat. I mean, there’s always . . . your first strip will always be the big one, and then you have a bit of secondary. It’s up to you entirely how much you want to take off. You’ve got a bit of sinew here. It’s entirely up to you to what extent you want to trim your silverside up.

Cameraman: The first couple of times you do this there might be some big chunks come out.

Daryl: Well, yeah, I mean, even if you consider that waste. I mean, you might be a person who doesn’t like any gristly bits or sinew in your product. That’s fine. Cut it to your specification. We’re just saying, we’re showing you how to do it really. There’s obviously a bit more here. Generally, that’s not too bad. There is a little bit of a gristly bit there. We’ll take that out. We don’t like to eat that.

Then, I like to sort of turn the meat around, and you’ll find. . . well, actually I’ll show you. There’s another piece of muscle here. It’s like an eye of meat, which runs just there.

Cameraman: They sometimes call that the salmon, don’t they?

Daryl: Yeah, salmon, that’s exactly it. But, really, what you can do, you’ll see this flappy bit here, and you’ll see there’s actually a natural grain joined to the meat. If you just sort of follow this here, you’ll see that it sort of splits.

Cameraman: I know some people don’t even cut that out, because you can cut right through it.

Daryl: Yeah, it’s entirely optional really. I just like to take it off, because ultimately . . .

Cameraman: You strive for perfection.

Daryl: Well, yeah, perfection, of course. But ultimately, it gives you two pieces of meat. I mean, that’s a nice little round piece of meat, which we will cut.

Cameraman: That’s the salmon.

Daryl: That’s the salmon, and this is another piece of prep work. There is another little bit of gristly bit here. So you’ll see that, and we just like to take that off, because, again, you can see that vein of sinew running down there. All right. Go on.

So that’s it really. Yeah, we have two pieces of meat ready to go. That’s your preparation, removal of sinew, and then what we’ll do in the next video, we’ll show you how to actually cut the meat itself, ready for making the biltong.

Okay, thank you.

Got on to Video 4 – Cutting your Beef for Biltong