My partner loves biltong but is hard to get the exact right flavour and level of dryness he wants, and it is expensive for what it is (dried beef). I quite like it too (but I like it a bit thinner – feel like I’m ripping my teeth out on the thick stuff) so I thought I’d give it a go. So we bought a food dehydrator and tried a batch about 6 months ago. It was ok, but the big problem this time around is that I didn’t record my learnings or exact recipe so I’m back at square one again. But this time I have a food blog.
My partner did remember that the last batch was not dry enough so I googled a bit and found that you really should salt the meat first. Also, this time around I also have a foodsaver (vacuum sealer) so I experimented with this to see if it gave a better flavour or was just quicker.
1 kg topside beef (tell butcher its for biltong and he will slice into large slices against the grain)
80ml apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons sugar
1 heaped tablespoon of coriander seeds (ground with a spice or coffee bean grinder)
1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- First of all salt the slices of topside (1kg would be approximately 3-4 slices) by liberally coating the slices with rock salt on both sides. Put in the fridge in a tupperware container for 30 mins.
- Remove meat from fridge and wash the salt off with the apple cider vinegar. Make sure you get most of the salt off or it will be too salty.
- Pat the beef fry with paper towels. The dryer the beef is the better the biltong will be.
- Toast the coriander seeds in a small frypan until just fragrant.
- Put the coriander seeds in the spice grinder and blitz till the seeds are roughly halved and split. Remove half of this mixture and then blitz the remainder till its is ground like powder.
- Put the coriander seeds and powder, brown sugar and ground black pepper into a large ziplock bag.
- Slice the meat up against the grain into strips. Experiment with various thicknesses as this comes down to personal taste.
- If more moisture has come out of the meat during the slicing process, pat it again with more paper towels.
- Add the meat slices to the bag of spices and zip close. Jumble the meat around in there to get as much spice on as much meat as possible.
- Now, if you have a vacuum sealer you can save yourself 12 hours and seal the meat in vacuum sealed bag (make sure you use a paper towel at the top otherwise more liquid will come out into your vacuum sealer (bad for vacuum sealer). Leave in fridge for 30mins.
- Otherwise put the ziplock back into the fridge for at least 12 hours, no longer than 24 hours.
- Take the meat out and lay it in the dehydrator. Mine has 3 power settings and I use the middle one. 8 hours seems to be enough, but you can check it from 6 hours onwards and let it go till its dry enough for you.
- Done – enjoy!