Biltong Box

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GeneralGinger

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Isn’t case hardening of the meat a problem? The outside dries to fast, the water gets trapped and the inside can spoil? I’ve made bresaola a few times in my fridge with dry aging bags- slow, but the temp keeps bacteria in check.

Nope, generally not an issue. Biltong is often eaten "wet" which is pink in the middle. Like
:
51Xa0AASKSL._AC_.jpg


If you prepare and season the meat properly it's not an issue at all.

Soak the meat for between 1-3 hours in apple cider vinegar (can be others, but don't use white) then rub on the seasoning These two are great if you're new to it or can't be arsed making your own, The vinegar, salt and sugar will prevent spoiling. Leave the rub on for an hour or so in the fridge, then hang it.

Some people salt -> brine -> rub, some people brine -> rub wait 5-6hrs -> then rub again. There's no 'right' or wrong order to do it, what ever works for you is fine.
 
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Agentgonzo

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It's been years since I made any, but I think mine was an hour in cider vinegar, then cured in salt, and a spice mix of coriander/cumin/chili/salt/pepper for at least 6 hours or overnight, then shake/rinse off and start drying
 

RoomWithABrew

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I'm getting the munchies looking at that wet Biltong.
Must get on with making the kit to do this, I reckon I can solar power the fan and in the sunshine even in the winter here there'll be enough added heat.
Should be to die for if done well, or badly!!
 

GeneralGinger

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Rhomboids? Lat dorsi I'm not sure what the back steak would be as it's a butchers cut but could identify the muscle group required if I get some!!

Topside or Silverside is what you want to use. Cut it along the grain into strips about an inch thick. Make sure to keep the fat (it's the best part).

Like this:
BeefSilverside.png


You can use rump or sirloin as well if you have more money than sense :)

Just what I need, another project recipe- my smoker is going almost daily, cranking out Tasso ham….

Owww, not heard of that before, is it hot or cold smoked?
 
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johnny108

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Topside or Silverside is what you want to use. Cut it along the grain into strips about an inch thick. Make sure to keep the fat (it's the best part).
Edit: comes from the deep Louisiana south.
Like this:
BeefSilverside.png


You can use rump or sirloin as well if you have more money than sense :)



Owww, not heard of that before, is it hot or cold smoked?
Hot smoked. Originally a survival food- heavy salted and spiced, then smoked. Used to be carried by hunters and trappers, who would put a pot of beans and greens (if found) on a fire, and add the ham for the salt and spices it imparted to the dish.
 

GeneralGinger

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Hot smoked. Originally a survival food- heavy salted and spiced, then smoked. Used to be carried by hunters and trappers, who would put a pot of beans and greens (if found) on a fire, and add the ham for the salt and spices it imparted to the dish.

Got a recipe for it? I've got a GMG pellet grill I could do it on!
 

GeneralGinger

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Hmmmmm.......


That 'biltong' is way WAY over cured. I got some today from my local South African butcher, I'll put a picture of it up so you can get an idea of what it should look like. The one in the video looks like a Biltong ****** a Pastrami and created what ever bastard child that is.

Edit here we go (excuse the bad lighting and terrible plate), it's a bit dryer than I normally get but still good:

IMG_0294.jpg

bt.jpeg
 
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johnny108

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That 'biltong' is way WAY over cured. I got some today from my local South African butcher, I'll put a picture of it up so you can get an idea of what it should look like. The one in the video looks like a Biltong ****** a Pastrami and created what ever bastard child that is.

Edit here we go (excuse the bad lighting and terrible plate), it's a bit dryer than I normally get but still good:

View attachment 69013
View attachment 69014
Looks like it was cut across the grain.
What kind of weight loss% do you try for?
Spices? Salt? I'm thinking I might just stick with my jerky and pemmican
 

Agentgonzo

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That 'biltong' is way WAY over cured. I got some today from my local South African butcher, I'll put a picture of it up so you can get an idea of what it should look like. The one in the video looks like a Biltong ****** a Pastrami and created what ever bastard child that is.

Edit here we go (excuse the bad lighting and terrible plate), it's a bit dryer than I normally get but still good:

View attachment 69013
View attachment 69014
Different butchers cure/dry it different amounts. Johnny's pictures looked pretty consistent from when I was living in South Africa (Limpopo).
 

GeneralGinger

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Looks like it was cut across the grain.
What kind of weight loss% do you try for?
Spices? Salt? I'm thinking I might just stick with my jerky and pemmican


That's the video I used for the first time I ever made it myself and like him, I've never done it by weight loss, you just squeeze the biltong, you'll be able to feel it. If it's really soft and squidgy it's going to be very wet (more red / raw in the middle), the harder it is the dryer it's going to be. Traditional biltong was just made by hanging the meat outside in the south african heat, you don't been to worry about weight loss percentages. You'll soon get an idea of how you like your biltong and how it feels when it gets to the done stage.

You in the UK? Because spicewise, I'd really suggest starting with the pre-mixed stuff from Crown or Freddy Hirsch stuff, It's fairly easy to get hold of and will help you get the hang of making it, you can worry about doing your own spice blends later.

Different butchers cure/dry it different amounts. Johnny's pictures looked pretty consistent from when I was living in South Africa (Limpopo).

Fair enough, never seen it like that myself and none of my south african friends have ever cured theirs for longer than 'overnight'. 24-36 hours is unheard of amongst every saffa I know (ok it's like 4 so not a large sample size i'll give you that!)
 
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Agentgonzo

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Fair enough, never seen it like that myself and none of my south african friends have ever cured theirs for longer than 'overnight'. 24-36 hours is unheard of amongst every saffa I know (ok it's like 4 so not a large sample size i'll give you that!)

Yeah, overnight is normal as far as I've heard. <Comment retracted - see below>
 
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GeneralGinger

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Yeah, overnight is normal as far as I've heard. You don't get a lot of benefit from going more than 'overnight' but it's one of those things where it won't hurt.

See this is where I completely disagree, vinegar is an acid that effectively 'cooks' the meat. By marinating it for that long you're not getting dried raw meat but dried cooked meat, you'll end up with a completely different texture.

Try leaving a chicken breast with an acidic seasoning like Lemon Pepper for 24 hours and then cook it, the texture is not nice. I made this mistake once thinking it would impart more flavour, then ended up chucking the chicken (was a weird rubbery texture). Got mocked by my friend from Uni who did chemistry as to why it happened (something to do with proteins clumping together or something like that).
 

Agentgonzo

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You learn something new every day. I retract my comment! I'm not a South African butcher. I've made some biltong but I shouldn't be used as a source for technique. My original comment was based on the look of the finished product (to me it doesn't look over'cooked' and looks like what I would expect from my experience in my area), but obviously I can't taste it.

Personally, my recipe cures it for 5-8 hours, which is normally overnight.
 

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