Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Making Biltong

On the rare occasion The Man does something pretty cool in the kitchen. I mean, beyond cooking steak on the weekend. He is an absolute wonder when it comes to sauces and marinades. He makes a steak sauce with lemon juice that will have you licking the flesh off your fingers. And his creamy curry sauces are the stuff of my dreams. He even made a Choc Chip Banana Cake the other day that came out surprisingly well. I think its genetic - both his parents are very good cooks.

Anyway, his latest foray into biltong-making has astounded me. For those unfortunates who don't know what biltong is - its a South African delicacy much like beef jerky, but a million times better! Once you've tried biltong you will never want to eat beef jerky again. It tastes like cardboard to me...

He did a lot of research before the actual attempt. Weighing up the pros and cons of the various methods and recipes, he then came up with his own and never looked back. Now, we haven't been without biltong in the house for weeks.

Apparently this is an approximation of how to make it. You take a good cut of beef (you can use most types of  red meat but beef is the most common) and slice it into strips. You then soak it for about 24 hours in salt, sugar, vinegar and whatever combination of spices you want. Coriander is very common. The salt is beginning the dehydration process so drain off the moisture every now and then. After the 24 hours have passed the meat looks a bit sickly, thats fine, its meant to. Its then up to you whether you want to add more salt before hanging or not - The Man likes to add more coriander. Hang the strips of meat in a place that is cool, dry and has good air flow. We use our hot water cylinder cupboard as thats the driest place in the house, with a small fan and a light on it all to prevent mould growth.

Should anyone attempt this, I truly do recommend you do your research - because you can muck it up spectacularly! Good luck...

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