- It is the best snack ever.
- There becomes a moment when you realize that you are using chemistry as your ancestors did, allowing you to create a food product that is extremely healthy and safe to travel with.
- That sudden appreciation for the moment when you need more because it's so delicious and its all gone.
- A - Supply chunk of cow, lamb, elk, or venison meat. Preferably a cheeper cut if you're going to be being it as honestly it makes the toughest meat tender as a ribeye steak.
- A - Supply of rock sea salt
- A - Supply of fine ground sea salt
- A - Supply of whole coriander seeds
- A - Supply of whole black pepper seeds
- A - Supply of malt vinegar
Please note: Above when I listed an about as 'A - Supply' I am referring too the fact that there will be a ratio of each of these items and there are no real measurements, just guidelines. Yes, I said it you're going to be curing meat without a measurement, deal with it. That being said, it is safe as long as you go by these two basic guidelines:
- The use of salt, vinegar, coriander, and black pepper is not about tase, as much as it is about allowing the meat to dehydrate chemically at the same time of being able to resist the growth of pathogens.
- People have been curing meat with salt for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. Regionally, there are some variants especially considering any regionally grown anti-bacterial or fungal herbs. However they have one main ingredient; Salt.
- Take the chunk of meat, in this case it is a 'rancher steak' out on the counter and observe how you can cut in into as many 1 inch thick 6 inches long slices. Here is an example of what I just bought for $30.
- Once you have the slices cut you will notice that there will be some that are smaller slices, that is quite all right. The only goal is to make sure that you have them to an even thickness as shown in [Step 1B photo].
- Place slices of meat in a bowl with enough fine salt, malt vinegar, hand ground coriander & black pepper (you can do this in a spice grinder or a hand grinder as shown), covering all surfaces. This example to the right I placed the following ratio:
- 2 - Heaping table spoons of fine sea salt
- 1/2 - Cup of malt vinegar
- 2 - Heaping table spoons of ground coriander
- 1 Heaping table spoons of ground black pepper
- Place meat strips close together in a flat glass or food grade plastic bin as in the next photo for 24-48 hours .
- You don't have to cover the meat while it is in the fridge, if you don't however you will just have a fridge that smells like coriander and malt vinegar.
- Take meat strips out of plastic container, wash them down in the sink with the malt vinegar
- The goal here is to just make sure you are washing again anything that has even thought about growing off of the meat that includes some of the fine salt and some of the ground coriander.
- Take each strip set it on a clean flat pan or cookie sheet, douse it with the rock sea salt and ground coriander, don't use the black pepper.
- You can use the same container as the previous for the next step just wash it out and dry it off.
- The amount of rock salt and coriander will be comparable to the ratio above however remember rock salt is more salt per granule. I prefer to just use a lot, cause I like salt.
- Remember this is the last real stage that you will be handling the meat, just focus on the fact that it should look like the photo here . Please note that as long as you used a lot of salt in the first part and you follow the basic guidelines here after you should have a great product. You will get the hang of it in regards to the ratio of ingredients - everyone is different. I have had super, super salty biltong and I ok with it. Others thought that it was the best they have every had. It is all up to you!
- Hang the meat strips with a bacteriostatic hanging method (food grade plastic or a stainless steel hanger or wood that has been treated) in a location where you can clean the floor as the meat will drip for 24 hours or so.
- Notice in the photo I have of my pieces of hanging biltong over my kitchen counter for draining purposes.
- I am using non-food grade plastic paperclips and I am ok with it because I would know the signs of mold or other issues from experience.
- Traditionally biltong boxes are used to solve both issues I have pointed out above. However, if your just starting out you do not have to use one. Place a fan on low pointing in the general direction or place a light below witch produces airflow through something called a 'stack effect'.
- I have never seen mold or fungus growing in any piece of biltong. You will quickly know it from how it looks, grey or white, fury or flat growths. That usually happens because there is
- No air flow
- Biltong pieces are touching
- Wait until it is firm to the touch. Some like it a bit 'wet', some like it dry. I honestly am just a bit too impatient to wait a full 7 days for standard conditions. Every situation is different but I have had biltong cure in 4 days with thin cuts and a lot of salt in the summer time.