When you’re from Windhoek, you can only spend so much time without biltong. I was practically raised on this stuff. I can still remember the first time my granddad got a kudu and we carved it up into little pieces and hung it up in the little room in our backyard. I was still very young, but I remember it fondly – like it was yesterday. I can still taste that kudu when I think about it.
After nearly three years in Perth, and having to buy beef biltong from local butchers at ridiculous prices, I have finally put aside enough time to build a decent biltong drying cage so that I can start making my own biltong.
At first I tried to use a cheap dehydrator, but I will not recommend this to anyone. If you don’t have one that has variable temperature control, it will just cook your meat while it’s drying, and it will taste like bad army food.
The better way to make biltong is the traditional way – air drying. I built myself a nice little cage out of flyscreen, rope and wooden planks, using a staple gun to attach the flyscreen to the sides. The top and bottom covers are removable, to make it easy to access and clean the cage:
I also added some wheels to make it easier to drag this thing around the house:
The meat is prepared by marinading it in vinegar and the basic biltong spices: coriander, pepper, salt and a little brown sugar.
Then these spiced beauties are hung in the cage by attaching little hooks through them. S-shaped hooks made out of normal binding wire does the job perfectly.
Using a fan to help blow-dry the meat makes the curing process a little faster, but is not essential. It does help, however, if you have moving air around the meat.
Look at these beauties – pure nature at it’s best: environmentally friendly, bio-degradable, and extremely good for my heart and emotional well-being:
A good piece of biltong is what makes life worth living.