Cutting your Beef in Steaks | Making Biltong – Part 5
Cutting the beef into steaks prior to marinating
All right, we’re back again. We just adjusted the camera, just to make it a bit easier to see what we’re doing. So right, what we’re going to do now is cut. So what I’m going to do is, just straight through there, cut down the length of the meat that way. Simple as that really. Now that is probably about 20 mil, at that side, down to nothing there. So that’s fine. That’ll dry nicely. That thickness there, which is if you gauge it by the knife, is probably a medium cut for biltong, and that will give you a nice sort of dryness. So there we go. And then, basically, just come down that way. Just follow your meat grain down.
Cameraman: So when you say “dry medium,” because it’s like when you cook a steak, you want it well done, medium, or rare. Is that correct?
Yeah. Perfect. That’s a very good analogy. Dry is, literally, there’s no moisture left in the meat, and medium is you get a nice balance between what is, essentially, your outer crust and a moist product on the inside of the meat. And very wet is obviously the equivalent of probably what is like a rare or a blue steak.
Cameraman: A blue steak, yeah.
Some people like it that way. It’s entirely up to you. If you have gone to this length to make biltong, you probably already know what your taste in biltong is. So we’re just taking you as a guide. Again, what I’m going to do is just cut this one, probably a bit thicker, just to give you an idea of the different grades. So that’s probably medium. Obviously, that there’s narrowing down, but that’s very thin at that end. So that’s fine. That’s medium. Again, you got medium there. It’s a thicker cut there, and that’s a good probably medium slice. Actually, that’s pretty consistent. So that’s a medium slice.
Cameraman: So medium is about 20 mil, is it?
Yeah. It’s about 2 centimetres.
And then you’ve got a nice, sort of thick-ish, if you like up that way. That’s thick.
Cameraman: That’s maybe 30, 25, 30.
Yeah. Don’t get too worried about the size and the thickness. It will naturally dry the way it is, and it will give you a good product. It’s as simple as that really. It’s not rocket science this stuff. So that’s it. You’ve got your various cut sizes. That’s on the salmon. That’s why I like the salmon, because you can get nice cut steaks from that, perfect.
Cameraman: It’s all one muscle there, isn’t it?
Yeah, it’s all one muscle. And then, basically, we just start going through cutting the other one.
Cameraman: You’re cutting nice big steaks here. What if your, say, drying cabinet or your biltong box was a small box?
Well, if it’s as simple as that, if you’ve got a smaller cabinet, you cut your steaks, depending on the size or the length of your cabinet. If that’s going to fit in your cabinet, fine. If it’s not, cut it to suit.
Cameraman: Cut it in half then.
Yeah, simple as that. So, really, that’s it.
Cameraman: So you could cut it at this stage here, right in half now.
Yeah. Cut the steaks long ways. What I’m saying is, cut lengthways, because it works for the prime cut. You want to cut steaks like this because it’s easier for when you’re cutting your meat. Right. Okay. Right. So you’re just cutting through. You’ve got your steaks as they come off. Simple as that really.
Cameraman: The steak looks like it’s got a nice marble effect in there.
Yeah, this is quite good. I mean, this is good silversides.
Cameraman: So it’s important to have good quality meat then.
Well, you’re going to be the one eating it, so it depends on your price range.
Cameraman: Fits your budget then.
Yeah. Generally, silversides, you want something that’s under 30 months old. That’s generally your good meat. Anything over 30 months old is defined as cow meat, which is a lot older and, obviously, a bit more tough. So try and get something under 30 months.
Cameraman: To buy the whole silversides, would I go to my butcher, or somewhere like Booker, or . . .
You could go to a butcher. You could go to a cash and carry. You could probably buy a whole silverside, individual silverside, from a supermarket.
Cameraman: Shop around.
Yea, shop around, really. But what I will say, like I said is you will get a better price for a whole silver. So, we’re going through it, here. There’s your steaks. The other thing to bear in mind, as well, is we recommended cutting a whole case, which is great. What you’re doing now is if you do all of this prep work all at once, it’s good, because everything’s messed up, you’re doing all of the work now. You’ve got all of these steaks.
Cameraman: So you’re cleaning to a minimum.
You’re doing all the work at once. Everything’s messy all at once, and it’s just more efficient to do it that way.
Cameraman: So if I’ve cut too much meat?
No, you won’t cut too much meat. You’ll obviously have too much meat, because you’ve got a whole case of silversides. Right. That’s an off-cut. That doesn’t matter. That’s the last piece off. You’ll always get that, because meat is meat, and you always get odd shapes. That’s fine. By the time you dry it out, it’ll look like a normal piece of biltong. Don’t worry about it too much. Right. You’ve got all this steak. That is off one silverside. Okay, now that’s a lot of meat. Now, there were three silversides in that case. I know what you’re saying, “That’s a lot of meat.” But all we’re saying is you’ve done all the work now, you’ve done all the prep work, and you’ve cut three silversides.
What you do now is portion control it. Maybe put three or four pieces like that. If they’re too long, cut them in half, put them in a carrier bag, freeze them down. Freeze them all up individually like that. Portion control. Put them in your freezer. That will last you, in the freezer, anyway a good 6 to 12 months in the freezer. That’s fine.
Now, what you do, you made a batch of biltong. You’ve eaten it. You’re happy, fine. You go in the freezer, you pull out your next batch of biltong, thaw it out, prep it up, make it, you’re good to go. This is by far the most efficient way of making good biltong at a sensible price. Buy bulk, prep it up like this, freeze it down, pull it out as you need it.
So we’ve cut the meat. We’ve shown you how to do that. What we’re going to do now is go on to the next stage, which is basically getting into the processing side.
Cameraman: Spicing and marinating.
Spicing and marinating it, and, yeah, we’ll go from there. So thanks for watching, and we’ll see you in the next video.
Got on to Video 6 – Spicing your Biltong