Venison Biltong/Afrikaner Jerky

The Afrikaners (Dutch or French Huguenot settlers of South Africa) used this method to preserve their meat before the invention of refrigeration. Like many other preservation methods (pickling, Jerky...) they liked it so much that it became a national snack and the tradition carried over into modern times. Biltong is the most confiscated item by customs agents from South Africans and (it is speculated) the primary source of protein for customs agents in Australia.

The process is simple and effective and can be accomplished with things you likely already have laying around your house. 

  • 2Lbs Venison Roasts or steaks (preferably aged)
  • 1/3 Cup Whole Coriander seeds 
  • 1/3 Cup Black Pepper 
  • 1/3 Very coarse salt
  • Malt Vinegar
  • Paper Clips
  • Small Fan 
 Cut the meat into 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide steaks. Cut the meat lengthwise with the grain of the meat. This will be important at the end .

Cut the meat into 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide steaks. Cut the meat lengthwise with the grain of the meat. This will be important at the end .

 Put the sliced meat in a ziploc bag with the Vinegar and allow to sit in fridge for 24 hours. I shake the bag every time I am in the fridge to make sure the vinegar is evenly absorbed. 

Put the sliced meat in a ziploc bag with the Vinegar and allow to sit in fridge for 24 hours. I shake the bag every time I am in the fridge to make sure the vinegar is evenly absorbed. 

 Put the Coriander seeds in a dry pan and roast over medium heat until they start to brown and smoke. Be careful because they can go from done to ruined in the amount of time it takes to get a glass of water. This Really draws the flavor out of the Coriander. 

Put the Coriander seeds in a dry pan and roast over medium heat until they start to brown and smoke. Be careful because they can go from done to ruined in the amount of time it takes to get a glass of water. This Really draws the flavor out of the Coriander. 

 Crush the Coriander in a mortar and pestle or your favorite food processor. Mix this with the other ingredients (Salt and Pepper) 

Crush the Coriander in a mortar and pestle or your favorite food processor. Mix this with the other ingredients (Salt and Pepper) 

 After 24 hours in the fridge pull the meat out of the bag and pat dry with a paper towel. Take a fist full of the dry ingredients and coat the meat all over. When your meat is thoroughly covered it is ready for drying and you can set the remainder of the dry ingredients (if any remains) in a bag to be used next time. There will be a next time!

After 24 hours in the fridge pull the meat out of the bag and pat dry with a paper towel. Take a fist full of the dry ingredients and coat the meat all over. When your meat is thoroughly covered it is ready for drying and you can set the remainder of the dry ingredients (if any remains) in a bag to be used next time. There will be a next time!

For Drying I will show both of the ways I have tried. I had to get creative when my wife needed to use the stove. 

 Bend your paper clips so that it makes hooks on both ends. Stick one end through the end of your meat.

Bend your paper clips so that it makes hooks on both ends. Stick one end through the end of your meat.

 The Other end of the paper clip will hook onto the stove grates. Notice the foil on the bottom. You will need this if you want to stay out of trouble with your spouse (ask me how I know!).  

The Other end of the paper clip will hook onto the stove grates. Notice the foil on the bottom. You will need this if you want to stay out of trouble with your spouse (ask me how I know!).  

 Use a small fan to move the air around. Use the lowest setting. Many of the guys building their own "Biltong Boxes" use a tiny computer fan.  As I am alloted 0 additional space for my projects I have to use the things I already own. If this is how you choose to do the drying process just leave the meat to hang for a minimum of 4 days and as many as 10. store in a cool dry place and eat or refrigerate any steak that you cut into. 

Use a small fan to move the air around. Use the lowest setting. Many of the guys building their own "Biltong Boxes" use a tiny computer fan.  As I am alloted 0 additional space for my projects I have to use the things I already own. If this is how you choose to do the drying process just leave the meat to hang for a minimum of 4 days and as many as 10. store in a cool dry place and eat or refrigerate any steak that you cut into. 

 If you have a plastic bin and something to hang the Biltong from you can use this method. If this is how you choose to do the drying process just leave the meat to hang for a minimum of 4 days and as many as 10. store in a cool dry place and eat or refrigerate any steak that you cut into. 

If you have a plastic bin and something to hang the Biltong from you can use this method. If this is how you choose to do the drying process just leave the meat to hang for a minimum of 4 days and as many as 10. store in a cool dry place and eat or refrigerate any steak that you cut into. 

 Slice the Biltong as thinly as possible with a sharp knife. 

Slice the Biltong as thinly as possible with a sharp knife. 

 I like mine thin eough to see light through.

I like mine thin eough to see light through.

All of the ingredients (with the exception of the meat) are natural anti-microbial agents and aid in the preservation of the meat. 

I would love to hear how you like this and any of your favorite tweaks to this recipe!