Foods of the World Forum Homepage
Forum Home Forum Home > Other Food-Related Topics > Curing of Meats, Charcuterie and Smokehouse Specialties
  New Posts New Posts RSS Feed - Biltong, my way
  FAQ FAQ  Forum Search   Events   Register Register  Login Login

This site is completely supported by donations; there are no corporate sponsors. We would be honoured if you would consider a small donation, to be used exclusively for forum expenses.



Thank you, from the Foods of the World Forums!

Biltong, my way

 Post Reply Post Reply
Author
Message
Rod Franklin View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 February 2010
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 916
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Biltong, my way
    Posted: 08 August 2012 at 15:06
I know Biltong has been covered here before. I've made this recipe many times exactly the same way with exactly the same great result.

There are no measures given in the following. Ya just gotta intelligently wing it. I know you can do it.

Red meat with all fat and sinews removed and stripped or cut with the grain in 1/2 to 5/8 inch square strips.

Sprinkle the meat liberally with Kosher or Sea Salt and spread it out in a single layer on a slanted board and let it stand at room temperature for one hour.

While this hour is passing, mix together an appropriate volume of brown sugar, a bit of Saltpeter, and some baking soda.

After the hour is up rinse the meat under fresh water and pat it dry.

Mix the meat well with the Brown sugar, saltpeter and baking soda mixture.

Put it all into zip top plastic bags and squeeze out all the air.

Store it in the refrigerator for 24 hours.

Sometime in this 24 hour period, grind together (mortar and pestle, food processor, blender, coffee mill) one part already ground black pepper with two parts whole coriander seeds. You have to have enough to completely cover the entire surface of all the meat you're working with. It might take more than you think.

Remove the meat from the 'fridge and swirl each piece around in a bowl of apple cider vinegar just enough to remove the sugar slime, but not enough to completely wash it off. Just few seconds is enough.

Immediately roll each piece in the coriander and black pepper mixture to totally coat it and thread on rods or hooks or whatever your doing to hang this stuff to dry for probably 5 days.

You can just grab a piece and chew on it, but it has a lot of spices on it. But you have options. Some people like it with all the spices, some knock an amount of the spices off to suit their taste. Like any other form of jerky it can be cooked with as well as just eaten out of hand. Coriander and beef seem to go well together.

The part I find most interesting is that biltong can be accomplished in warmer weather. It was developed long before refrigeration.

Everything about the process is strictly geared towards keeping the bugs off and decreasing it's chance of spoiling before it's dried, and then keeping it bug free afterwards.

Try it. It'll last a long time.

Hungry
Back to Top
TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: 25 January 2010
Location: Chinook, MT
Status: Offline
Points: 8602
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2012 at 15:20
sounds pretty dang good to me ~ i'm guessing that, in the absence of saltpeter, morton's tenderquick can be used as a cure, with an appropriate adjustment for TQ's salt content?
If you are a visitor and like what you see, please click here and join the discussions in our community!
Back to Top
Rod Franklin View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 February 2010
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 916
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2012 at 16:16
I've never tried it any other way. I got the saltpeter at a drug store. They didn't give me much trouble when I asked for it. I just told them what I was using it for. Apparently it's used for some nefarious purpose, but if you act "normal" they'll source it for you. It didn't cost but 2 or 3 dollars and it lasts a long time. I've been using the same 4 oz jar for at least 15 years. I'm guessing you might be able to get by without it too. After all, everything about this recipe is about preservation, but in the controlled environment available in your kitchen you could cut a corner or two. But for the trail or for serious I wouldn't skip any part of the process.

If using TQ I would probably just mix it with the kosher or sea salt, being careful not to apply too much.

I've made this 10 or 12 times now and it works great.  
Hungry
Back to Top
pitrow View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 22 November 2010
Location: Newberg, Oregon
Status: Offline
Points: 865
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pitrow Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2012 at 16:47
"saltpeter" aka Potassium Nitrate is the major oxidizing component of black powder. Can be used to make thing go BOOM!!! Smile  
Mike
Life in PitRow - My often neglected, somewhat eccentric, occasionally outstanding blog
Back to Top
MTMan View Drop Down
Cook's Assistant
Cook's Assistant


Joined: 23 April 2011
Location: Brookings, OR.
Status: Offline
Points: 94
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MTMan Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 August 2012 at 23:52
In the process of food preservation, potassium nitrate has been a common ingredient of salted meat since the Middle Ages,[15] but its use has been mostly discontinued due to inconsistent results compared to more modern nitrate and nitrite compounds. Even so, saltpeter is still used in some food applications, such as charcuterie and the brine used to make corned beef.[16] Sodium nitrate (and nitrite) have mostly supplanted potassium nitrate's culinary usage, as they are more reliable in preventing bacterial infection than saltpetre. All three give cured salami and corned beef their characteristic pink hue. When used as a food additive in the European Union,[17] the compound is referred to as E252; it is also approved for use as a food additive in the USA[18] and Australia and New Zealand[19] (where it is listed under
Back to Top
Rod Franklin View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 February 2010
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 916
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 August 2012 at 05:21
Well, there ya go MTMan. Thanks for the great info. I wouldn't hesitate to use Tender Quick or some other sodium based cure in place of saltpeter, but as I indicated above I would use the alternatives in the initial Koshering process and eliminate the nitrate/nitrites from the marinading process. This isn't a terribly salty product like some preserved meats.

I put this process together after doing tons of research on the internet and comparing every Biltong making process I could find at the time. I eliminated all the unnecessary fluff of all the recipes, many of which seemed to have almost completely forgotten the roots and underlying science behind the product. In my procedure everything that is done and every ingredient used has an underlying reason to be used and done. I think I've succeeded in making a procedure that reduces the process to just those that produce an easily made in the field, and long lasting and good tasting product that is absolutely true to the origins of Biltong.

I would not hesitate to make this at room temperature and I've done that. I have hung the drying meat over the bath tub in a spare bathroom once. I have kept the finished product at room temperature for many, many months without trouble. It will dry out and get hard. Untrimmed fat will eventually go rancid, but that's not surprising. It should be made with absolutely lean meat anyway.

Great trail food. A piece between cheek and gum can be soaked in saliva and worked slowly with the teeth into a chewable mass that provides a regulated source of hypoglycemic energy. It can be chipped up and cooked with pinole or other gruel or soup on the trail. Great with eggs!

The coriander/pepper that falls off can be used to season a lot of other things. Even though I haven't tried it, I believe it could be reused, with some more pepper added, in a subsequent batch.

There are many good reasons Biltong has been around so long and is made the way it is. If you try it, you will like it.


Hungry
Back to Top
Rod Franklin View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 February 2010
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 916
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 September 2012 at 13:35
The house recently smelled of coriander and black pepper for days, because I just made a batch of biltong. It turned out great. I'm happy.







I got 4 pounds of biltong from 8.1 net pounds of beef.

I couldn't locate bulk whole coriander seeds so I used powdered coriander seeds. I think it worked fine. However, if I were to be doing this in the bush I would stick with crushed whole coriander seeds, just to put a little more distance between the meat and the flies.

But this was done entirely indoors at room temperature so flies were not an issue. Approximately 69F at 50 to 60% relative humidity with just a small fan blowing to move the air a little. The pictures above show the result after 5 days of drying.

After scrubbing off all the spices possible with the bare hands you are still left with a solid coating of the powdered pepper/coriander. The taste is predominately black pepper and coriander and then beefiness with just a little salt, then just hints of sweetness and even less of vinegar. The black pepper burn lingers along with the taste of coriander.

You do need teeth to chew this, but it's not bad. I expect it will get dryer and harder as time goes by. It always does.
Hungry
Back to Top
Boilermaker View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 23 July 2010
Location: Marietta, GA
Status: Offline
Points: 678
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 October 2012 at 22:47
I've never used saltpeter for biltong, only salt and freshly ground pepper.  Salt to dry the meat and pepper to keep the bugs off if hanging it outside in a dry climate.  I've spent time in southern Africa (Zambia and RSA) and the natives there mostly use nothing but will use salt and spices if they have them, they usually don't.  It's all good, just dried meat.  
Back to Top
Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
Master Chef
Master Chef
Avatar

Joined: 03 February 2012
Location: Spain
Status: Offline
Points: 5859
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2012 at 03:57
Rod,
 
Wow. Looks like lovely charcuterie ... All you need is a great red oak fermented wine and oven hot crusty bread ...
 
Thanks for posting,
Marge.
www.guidepost.es
Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

WEBSITE: www.visionsgourmandes.com
www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..
Back to Top
Rod Franklin View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 February 2010
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 916
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2012 at 09:18
Thanks Margi.

Boilermaker, so are you saying all dried meat products are called biltong in South Africa?
Hungry
Back to Top
Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
Master Chef
Master Chef
Avatar

Joined: 03 February 2012
Location: Spain
Status: Offline
Points: 5859
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2012 at 11:06
Rod, Good Evening,
 
 
 
Biltong can be prepared with a variety of meat types utilising the same process. It is not a specific meat from a specific animal.
 
It is the name of the process used to prepare any meat one wishes to utilize and create Biltong.
 
Hope this assists.
 
 
Photo Courtesy: www.wikipedia.com/biltong ( stokies )
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ciao, Margi
www.guidepost.es
Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

WEBSITE: www.visionsgourmandes.com
www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..
Back to Top
Boilermaker View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 23 July 2010
Location: Marietta, GA
Status: Offline
Points: 678
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Boilermaker Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2012 at 11:51
Rod,

It is sort of a generic term in Southern Africa.  They also make some dried sausages that are not biltong.  Biltong is just strips of dried meat, I saw it made from a variety of animals.  I'll try to post a pic I took in Zambia of the natives making it from elephant using a process they call smoke drying which is like slow smoking but the meat doesn't get hot enough to cook it.


Back to Top
Rod Franklin View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 February 2010
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 916
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08 October 2012 at 14:17
I knew it could be made of almost any red, lean meat. I also know it's morphed a long ways from where it started with the Dutch voortrekkers (sp?) in the 1600's(?.)

As you've indicated, it's just dried meat. Rose petal marmalade it ain't. But it'll be amongst the simple foods that are with me on the trail when I'm hunting or otherwise trekking around the local hinterlands.
Hungry
Back to Top
Margi Cintrano View Drop Down
Master Chef
Master Chef
Avatar

Joined: 03 February 2012
Location: Spain
Status: Offline
Points: 5859
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Margi Cintrano Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2012 at 08:13
Good Afternoon Rod,
 
I am in total agreement that Bitlong is perfect for your trail hunting hikes and has a long shelf life in a backpack ...
 
However, a little Rose Marmalade, 1/2 the recipe in a sealed jar, can be quite lovely with a box of Melba Toasts or Crackers & which carry well in a small box, as they provide a special snack and harmonious gorgeous aromas !  Thumbs Up
 
Which hunting regions are you heading for ?
 
Best of luck with your bring home specialties for cooking !
 
Marge.
www.guidepost.es
Gourmet´s Choice - Time Out In Spain ...

WEBSITE: www.visionsgourmandes.com
www.issuu.com / Beyond Taste, Oltre il Gusto ..
Back to Top
Rod Franklin View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 February 2010
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 916
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09 October 2012 at 15:18
Margi, I wasn't implying that rose petal marmalade isn't a good thing and that I wouldn't try it, and probably like it, if some were to fall into my pack before I left the house, but it seems a little too "special" for me. I'm just not geared for such things I guess. I was only using it as an example of the range of food tastes there are here at foods of the world, with let's say, a plate of beans on one end and rose petal marmalade on the other. I'm somewhere much closer to the beans end of the spectrum, and biltong being somewhere much closer to beans than rose petal marmalade too. Anyway, I'll just be staying local for hunting season, or at least in Michigan somewhere.  
Hungry
Back to Top
curious aardvark View Drop Down
Cook's Assistant
Cook's Assistant
Avatar

Joined: 19 March 2010
Location: central england
Status: Offline
Points: 22
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote curious aardvark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 November 2012 at 04:10
'a bit of saltpetre' ?

That's like saying 'a bit of arsenic', or 'a bit of cyanide'.

For the record: 4 grams of saltpetre is a fatal dose for an adult.
F-A-T-A-L as in:- kills you dead.

And in pure concentration most of the nitrate in your recipe will remain unreacted. Eat enough biltong and you will be poisoned. Not an opinion, an actual chemical fact.

If you are going to use cure - for gods sake buy a commercially blended salt. Even the strongest cure salts only contain 6.25 % pure nitrate or nitrite.  And they have a usage rate of 2.5 grams per kilo of meat.
Telling people to use 'a bit' of 100% potassium nitrate, isn't just amazingly dangerous, it's downright negligent.
If someone's kid of pet were to eat some of the biltong and subsequently die - you would, rightly in this case, be wide open for a law suit.
And In this day and age I'm not sure how the forum would stand either.

Unless you have laboratory scales, or are creating your own blended cure salt (still wouldn't recommend it) you should NEVER use pure nitrate or nitrite in a recipe.
Even having it in your house is bloody dangerous.
In your pyro shed - no problem, pretty much all those chemicals are extremely toxic and you're unlikely to eat them.
But having something as toxic as that in your kitchen, where there is the potential for it to get mixed into food - really, really, really bad idea.

Remember:- Less than  a teaspoon is FATAL for an adult. Half that for a pet or child.

On top of this, curing biltong is totally unnecessary and not part of the traditional method.
The salt, sugar and vinegar and drying process are sufficient. 

This recipe is unneccessarily complicated, but if you dispense with the nitrate (please) is a perfectly acceptable biltong recipe.

keep your method - but lose the nitrate, or - if you want to cure it - use a WEIGHED amount of commercially blended cure salt.
Commercial biltong is cured, but traditionally it wasn't and doesn't need to be.

However, you should never ever use unweighed cure salt of any type in any charcuterie recipe.
Beware the slings of outrageous fortune (bows and arrows are for wimps ;-)

Back to Top
TasunkaWitko View Drop Down
Admin Group
Admin Group
Avatar

Joined: 25 January 2010
Location: Chinook, MT
Status: Offline
Points: 8602
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TasunkaWitko Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 November 2012 at 12:44
i re-read the recipe, and i see that rod rinses the meat off after applying the salt, sugar and cure; perhaps this makes a difference, removing the saltpeter?
 
 
If you are a visitor and like what you see, please click here and join the discussions in our community!
Back to Top
Rod Franklin View Drop Down
Chef
Chef
Avatar

Joined: 17 February 2010
Location: USA
Status: Offline
Points: 916
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Rod Franklin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 November 2012 at 15:55

I did mention to proceed intelligently and use appropriate volumes.

On page 22 of the publication “Safe Practices for Sausage Production, Distance Learning Course Manual.” Produced by the Association of Food and Drug Officials and sponsored by The U.S. Department of Agriculture, The Food Safety and Inspection Service, and The Association of Food and Drug Officials in cooperation with the Food a Drug Administration, it states the maximum safe rate for use of Potassium Nitrate, aka Saltpeter, is 2 3/4 oz. per 100 pounds of ground meat.

This amount of saltpeter would be totally consumed along with the meat. Dry cured meats are allowed 3 1/2 oz. per 100 pounds of meat. In a wet cure 7 pounds of potassium nitrate is allowed per 100 gallons of pickle solution. In my method saltpeter is being added to baking soda and brown sugar and mixed with rinsed and dried meat, producing a thick slurry then after 24 hours rinsed off.

Sparing everyone the math, I had 8.1 net pounds of meat, so in my case I could use 0.22g grams of saltpeter. I used 0.1g. 

Anyways, the salting is to reduce moisture, add flavor, as a preservative and inhibit bacteria. The rinsing with water gets rid of the excess salt. The drying is to prevent dilution of the following: The brown sugar is a preservative, a flavor and inhibits bacteria. The saltpeter provides long term bacterial inhibition and and provides color. The baking soda produces a highly alkaline, high pH, environment which does break down the meat. The light vinegar rinse lowers the pH back down to stop the alkaline breakdown, inhibits bugs and adds a nice flavor. The black pepper and fine coriander sticks on the meat inhibiting bacteria and now the larger bugs like flies. The larger chunks of crushed coriander help keep the flies at bay.  Now raw meat can now be hung at room temperature without spoilage being an issue.

The stuff I photographed above has been sitting in a fine meshed cloth bag in a bowl on the counter since I made it.

You can do what you want.

Hungry
Back to Top
curious aardvark View Drop Down
Cook's Assistant
Cook's Assistant
Avatar

Joined: 19 March 2010
Location: central england
Status: Offline
Points: 22
Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote curious aardvark Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15 November 2012 at 06:37
sparing everyone the math, I had 8.1 net pounds of meat, so in my case I could use 0.22g grams of saltpeter. I used 0.1g.

Then why not simply say that in the recipe ?

'a bit' when referring to what is - simply put - an incredibly toxic substance, simply is not good enough in this day and age.

I'll say it again: if you are going to use cure salts - use commercially blended ones.
It is almost impossible to kill yourself with them. Anyone who has potassium nitrate - innoucuous looking and tasting white crystals - in their pantry or kitchen is potentially risking the lives of every person and animal in their household.

The world of curing and salt has moved on in the last 100 years - there is a very good reason nobody uses pure salts anymore.

By all means rod carry on doing what you are doing - but please don't recommend such unsafe practices to everyone else.
And bear in mind that traditionally biltong did not have nitrate added to it.

Pretty much all old world curing was done with unrefined salt: either seasalt or mined.
These salts already contain trace amounts of nitrate. Not enough to produce pink meat overnight - but enough to significantly improve the antibacterial properties of the salt and over the course of a month or so modern day seasalt is capable of fully curing meat. Yes I've done the experiment.

A lot of people claim that traditionally everything was cured with just salt - true, but the salts they used already contained significant quantities of nitrites and nitrates.

For something like biltong where the vinegar is the main antibacterial along with salting and drying.  Adding nitrate is redundant. Adding it in a pure form is inadvisable.

Either use just seasalt or a mix of the right amount of blended cure #1 and seasalt. 

And unless you have laboratory quality scales don't even try and measure .1 of a gram.



 

Beware the slings of outrageous fortune (bows and arrows are for wimps ;-)

Back to Top
 Post Reply Post Reply
  Share Topic   

Forum Jump Forum Permissions View Drop Down



This page was generated in 0.078 seconds.