South African Biltong

A delicious dried beef Biltong


Biltong is a dried meat, often Beef but can be many other types of game. It originates from South Africa and is similar to American ‘Jerky’ but isn’t usually smoked or as sweet. It would be dried by hanging on trees and the sun and the wind would cure it. Unfortunately as I live in England we have more rain the sun, so I decided to make a DIY Biltong Box so I could enjoy biltong all year round. This is the recipe I then use to make my biltong.

For this you will need;

  • Silverside Beef
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Coriander Seeds

Step 1: Make the Cut

Make the Cut

I started with around 1.5kg of silverside beef. Using a very sharp knife I cut the beef along the grain. When cutting down for normal steaks usually you are encouraged to cut across the grain. This stops the beef from being chewy, however that is sort of the effect we want from the biltong.

I cut them into slices of around 1cm thick. The thicker you make the longer it will take to dry, and the thinner obviously it will be quicker.

Step 2: Vinegar


I transferred the beef into a plastic container. Then I poured some red wine vinegar into the container and worked the beef into it all to make sure there was vinegar on all the beef. I let this marinate for around half an hour. This helps with the preservation, I made sure not to leave it in too long or else it will start to effect the final flavour too much.

Step 3: Get Spicy

Get Spicey

This section you can mix and match as much as you like. The only one you really need to include is the salt. The salt is what kickstarts the drying and preservation.
I started with some sea salt flakes, I crushed them up with my hands. Next I used some black peppercorns and crushed them in my pestle and mortar. I left them fairly course, you can of obviously crush them as fine as you like.

Then I added a small handful of chilli flakes. This will add a kick to the biltong. Finally I added some crushed coriander seeds. This is the what gives it that real traditional South African biltong flavour.

Step 4: Rub & Hang…

Rub & Hang...

I then rubbed all the salt and spices into the beef and made sure it was fully covered. Using small metal hooks I hung each bit of beef into my Biltong Box. If you don’t have any hooks you can use paper clips to bend into a hook shape. It needs to dry for around 4-5 days. The longer you leave it, the drier it will get. I like mine a little wet so it is a little bit rare in the middle.

Step 5: Final Photos

Final Photos

Once you’re ready just take it down and slice the Biltong as thin or thick as you like it.

It should last a good few weeks if you keep it covered in a sealable bag or tub. I hope you enjoyed this instructables. And remember if you make it make your own, share some photos here!