Author Topic: Making Biltong and storage  (Read 9994 times)

Offline Firebird

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Making Biltong and storage
« on: November 15, 2013, 07:45:48 PM »
Trying to learn as much as I can about making biltong by searching the web and this forum.  Plan to make my first batch soon out of venison.  I found this article. 

http://www.spesialiseddryers.com/dryingtips.htm 

It says some things I was surprised to hear, not least of which is that frozen meat is not suitable.  My plan was to use frozen venison.  Any one out there using frozen meat, or do you agree with this article? 

I plan to use a wooden cabinet.  :)  Not stainless steel, as the article suggests.  I am going to build one like the many pics on the web.  A light bulb in the bottom and PCU fan at the top.  I do own a presto dehydrator, but I don't want to let it run for 5 days.  Plus Spirko's video proved there was no significant advantage to a dehydrator.

I'm also getting mixed messages on storing biltong in the freezer.  Most people say to store it in paper bags.  If I don't store it in the freezer, I was thinking of storing it in quart jars that have been vacuum sealed with a foodsaver vacuum packer.  Can you re-freeze biltong if the meat you used was previously frozen.  You can freeze cooked meat, but it biltong cooked?  So confused...  If this stuff is as good as everyone says, then I plan to make and store a lot of it.  Any advice would be appreciated.

Offline Firebird

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2013, 06:35:54 AM »
Well, I feel silly.  I just got half way through TSP episode 1248 and Jack answered all my questions. I will follow his advise. I may still eventually build a cabinet minus the light bulb just for air movement and to be tidy when it us hanging. I would still love to hear any pointers but I'm no longer concerned about using frozen meat or long term storage.

Offline lhunt

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2013, 09:06:27 AM »
i have made two batches this winter all from frozen venison. no worries. ate first batch all gone. both only hung for  a bit more than a week

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nelson96

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2013, 11:13:34 AM »
In my experience there is no advantage to biltong over traditional jerky, but I have both a dehydrator and a smoker.  I also never try to store any more jerky than can be eaten in a few months.  Jerky will also keep in the freezer for over a year if packaged properly.

Offline lhunt

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2013, 12:14:27 PM »
The advantage I see biltong has is that it takes a lot less energy input to make and when properly stored can have a shelf life of decades. Disadvantage of biltong is it takes a minimum of a week to make.

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nelson96

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2013, 12:48:47 PM »
The advantage I see biltong has is that it takes a lot less energy input to make and when properly stored can have a shelf life of decades. Disadvantage of biltong is it takes a minimum of a week to make.

Jerky takes less energy to make in a wood smoker and can store for a very long time as well.  I wonder how many people in the U.S. making biltong store it for decades?  Jerky around my house is gone in a flash.  Jerky takes less than 24 hours to make (from brine to finish).

Offline lhunt

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2013, 08:58:57 PM »
ha! it barely lasts a week for me 'cause i eat it too quick! :) i gotta learn to smoke... meats that is!

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Offline lhunt

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2013, 09:05:52 PM »
i guess the only other advantage biltong has then is if you dont have a dehydrator or smoker you can do biltong. i dont have a smoker but do have a dehydrator. i have to say jerky has the edge when it comes to flavor and tenderness.

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nelson96

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2013, 11:27:42 PM »
I've never made or even eaten biltong.  I'm going to have to try it.  But for now, I see no need to replace something as good as the jerky I make.  I don't understand the difference of the two, other than the simplicity required of making the biltong.

Offline allofthemonkeys

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2014, 11:54:30 PM »
The cabinet that you described sounds just like the one my grandparents have had since the 70's.  It served them well all this time.  I was offered it, but I didn't have a truck to move it the couple of states away to where I live.
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Offline Firebird

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #10 on: January 02, 2014, 12:50:54 PM »
I made my first batch and forgot to rinse the blood off of the venison before seasoning and hanging it.  It smelled like blood, of course, and tasted like it too.  I tried another batch and it seemed to go as others have described, but I really didn't care for the taste at all.  I guess I could eat it if I had too, but I was very disappointment.   I am sure I followed all the directions well the second time.  People keep saying they love it.  Not sure why.   :)

Offline daveinmichigan

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2014, 03:44:56 PM »
I've got a connection with the local PD and I have gotten multiple road kill deer over the last few years. Most of them were still alive when I got there to collect them and the Peace Officer then sent the deer over the rainbow bridge.  ;) Anyway here are a couple of observations that might help some of your other TSPers.

I've turned three deer into biltong and jerky, but everyone in the house prefers the biltong...but we eat both.

As part of the experiment, every piece of meat that was "pinkie" size or larger was made into jerky or biltong.

Once fully dried, traditional biltong has an almost buttery flavor (similar to a properly cooked steak)

If you don't like full flavored deer (kinda gamey) cut off everything that is white (tendons, legiments, fat, bone, shotshell wads, etc.).

The dryer you make your biltong, the longer it is able to be stored.

We make our biltong DRY because we take it with us when we go to Walt Disney World. The last time we drove down (October 2013), we took (2) one gallon bags full of biltong and let it in the car during the trip. The biltong spent one week in the car in Florida and had no change. (NOTE: Most of the people we traveled with have medical backgrounds and microbiology classes REALLY screw with your culinary adventures)

The largest piece of meat that i've "biltonged" so far was 0.5"x4"x11"

Biltong making causes the spontaneous creation of dogs. I have two whippets and they are probably the laziest living organisms on the planet, but once biltong making begins...they offer scrap disposal services VERY attentively.  ;D

STORAGE:
Most of the biltong never made it to the storage phase because I have two boys and two dogs.

I have about 200 small pieces of biltong hanging in my basement currently and it stores beautify just left hanging in a cool dry basement.

I have one "test" piece that has been hanging there for over two years and it still tastes like biltong. (If I stop posting, you will know that I let it hang too long and died from food poisoning.)

I tested some by "canning" it...sort of. I put mason jars into the oven at about 250deg F and then put COMPLETELY dry biltong into the jars and put lids on and let it cool in the oven. After 2+ years, they still look the same as when they went in. I doesn't surprise me because the on that is just hanging in my basement is from the same batch and it has been exposed for the same amount of time.

At some point, I will take some photos. The problem is that every time I do into that part of the basement, the boys say "Dad, what-cha doing". The other part is that no matter how quiet I am, as soon as I get the biltong and turn around, there is a dog sitting there expectantly.



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Offline lhunt

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #12 on: January 02, 2014, 04:15:20 PM »
That's amazing daveinmichigan that you have biltong hanging for 2 years exposed and fine!

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Offline Cedar

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2014, 04:16:39 PM »
I have about 90 pounds of llama steaks and roasts left in the freezer which I want to make jerky out of. I will do a batch of biltong at the same time and see which is prefered. And yeah, around here jerky doesn't last long. Z bought some the day before Christmas from a local guy and the only reason it lasted until last night, is I stuck it behind the milk in the fridge (or his cats will get into it) and we both forgot it was in there.

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nelson96

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #14 on: January 02, 2014, 04:20:41 PM »
I have one "test" piece that has been hanging there for over two years and it still tastes like biltong. (If I stop posting, you will know that I let it hang too long and died from food poisoning.)

There's a lot you won't die from, but how sure are you that flies and airborn dust haven't landed on it?

Offline lhunt

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #15 on: January 02, 2014, 04:28:18 PM »
There's a lot you won't die from, but how sure are you that flies and airborn dust haven't landed on it?

I've been to many a picnics where flies landed on food that was consumed. 5 second rule!? :)

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nelson96

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #16 on: January 02, 2014, 04:50:37 PM »
I've been to many a picnics where flies landed on food that was consumed. 5 second rule!? :)

I'm down with that, but a 2 year rule is a little bit of a problem for me.

Offline lhunt

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2014, 05:51:04 AM »
I'm down with that, but a 2 year rule is a little bit of a problem for me.

HA! Yeah!

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Offline daveinmichigan

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2014, 08:18:56 AM »
There's a lot you won't die from, but how sure are you that flies and airborn dust haven't landed on it?

I haven't had any trouble with flies, but I'm sure there is some dust landing on it. When I cut off a piece of the "vintage"biltong there is probably some dust, but I had not noticed. I'll take a close look the next time I go downstairs and report any observations.

For food to "spoil" something has to grow on it. Because it is basically mummified, I haven't found anything altering it so far. I'll keep the test piece going and report back if/when anything changes. I would suspect the nutritional value will slowly decline, but the taste has not changed yet.

I did see one traditional biltong making video that said "if you see mold on your biltong while it is drying, just spray on some more apple cider vinegar.  That would kinda freak me out.

« Last Edit: January 03, 2014, 08:28:46 AM by daveinmichigan »
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Offline TexasGirl

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #19 on: January 03, 2014, 08:35:31 AM »
Cabinet? To dry biltong in? 

I've just hung it on bungee cords stretched up high across the kitchen.  I start with 1" by 1" strips 3" to 8" long and use the unfolded jumbo paperclip hooks.  Day 4 they are finished, but I start nibbling on day two.  No box needed, and it's usually close to 50% humidity in the house (year 'round in East Texas.)

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Offline TxGal

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2014, 09:32:33 PM »
Hello TexasGirl--I'm also in East Texas!
I use bamboo kabob skewers to hang mine across a wire basket, but make it like you--same size, no box. I start nibbling on day two as well. :)

Cabinet? To dry biltong in? 

I've just hung it on bungee cords stretched up high across the kitchen.  I start with 1" by 1" strips 3" to 8" long and use the unfolded jumbo paperclip hooks.  Day 4 they are finished, but I start nibbling on day two.  No box needed, and it's usually close to 50% humidity in the house (year 'round in East Texas.)

~TG

Offline BruceD

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2014, 09:07:53 PM »
So for my second post I thought I'd share a pic of my first attempt with Biltong.  I made it this morning exactly the way Jack described in the YouTube video.  I used an "Eye of Round" roast of American grass fed beef, so it was really lean.  Cost close to $20.00, but compared to store bought Jerky, it's still a bargain.  I guess we'll see in a couple of weeks.


Offline archer

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2014, 05:51:22 PM »
i better try some now, i'm hungry to taste test it.


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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2014, 06:14:32 PM »
I have to say it wasn't very nice to hang that picture right in front of my eye's. 

Offline BruceD

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2014, 09:52:11 PM »
I left one piece a little on the thin side for sampling.  Today was day 3.  Tried a bite earlier and it was damned tasty. Reminded me of Jerky, but less sweet. Got a bit more of a chaw to it, but I like that. Less likely to gorge on it!  I'm in Southern California, and it's been hot and dry lately.  I've got good ventilation going also, so I'm pretty sure it'll be ready in 7 days total. I'll post a close-up pic of what it looks like sliced when it's done.

Offline Firebird

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #25 on: January 26, 2014, 05:45:14 PM »
I started this post and have appreciated seeing everyone's response.  I still don't know what I am doing wrong though.  Everyone seems to love biltong.  I have made it twice now (out of venison) and I can't stand the taste of it.  LOL.  I really want to like it because I love the concept.  Maybe it just isn't for me.  I jealous that you all like it though.

Offline Rasher

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2016, 03:10:46 PM »
I just sampled my first batch last night. Wow! My wife and son love it just as much as I do.  I'm looking forward to starting another batch using some additional kinds of spices.

I watched about 20 videos before I made it just to get a firm grasp on the subject. I used all the ingredients that Jack teaches but I deviated a bit in the process.

Here's the process I used, if anyone is curious:
After slicing the beef, I brushed on apple cider vinegar and liberally sprinkled course sea salt and left it in the fridge for about 45 minutes.

Then I brushed off as much salt as I could by hand before rubbing the rest off while dipping it in vinegar quickly. Then I rung out the meat like a sponge and patted it dry. I should also mention that I added a bit of Worcestershire and soy sauce to the vinegar dip for added flavor.

Finally I heavily dusted the meat in 1 part course pepper and 2 parts cracked coriander seed and let it sit overnight in the fridge.

Hung it in the kitchen Friday morning... 3 days later the smallest piece was ready to eat.

Offline Rasher

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2016, 02:21:49 PM »
Pictures from start to finish:



Offline britexport

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #28 on: July 28, 2016, 10:58:26 AM »
A Rhodesian friend made his own biltong and he used an old kitchen cabinet that was left over, put a low wattage bulb in it, a small PC fan on one side to draw air over it and it worked just fine for his biltong. He used beef but then he is not a hunter.

Offline Black November

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Re: Making Biltong and storage
« Reply #29 on: February 08, 2017, 04:40:37 PM »
I have made a bunch of Biltong over the years. If you live in a humid climate like Seattle, make sure you have a fan barely blowing on it. I put a fan on low 5-8 ft away. Just far enough so the meat doesn't sway in the breeze. Also consider vacuum sealing it, so it doesn't re hydrate from the humidity of the Air.