CONTINUING with last month’s meat curing theme I thought I’d share with you a Biltong recipe that I’ve been experimenting with this month.

The delicious South African speciality is becoming increasingly popular in the UK – it’s similar to Beef Jerky as they are both salted strips of meat which are then dried.

However, Biltong is usually cut into thicker strips than Jerky and has the addition of vinegar and coriander seeds as well as other spices such as black pepper.

The history of Biltong is an interesting one as it involves the meeting of different cultures.

The indigenous people of South Africa had an ancient tradition of salting strips of meat and hanging them to dry in the sun!

With no ice or refrigeration they would use a variety of indigenous game and occasionally farmed cattle that had died of natural causes (the indigenous tribes rarely slaughtered their animals for meat).

The early European settlers, desperate to stockpile transportable provisions as they proceeded to colonise and travel long distances, adapted the local preservation techniques by adding spices to suit their taste, and preservatives such as salt petre.

The European addition of coriander seeds and vinegar are still the signature flavours of Biltong. As the settlers began to farm more cattle, beef was increasingly used instead of the indigenous game and today is the most popular meat used.

Other meats used include chicken, fish and ostrich. In fact any lean meat can be given the Biltong treatment: venison is also often used and tastes fantastic! I’ve used wood pigeon for the one pictured

Biltong is great to just snack on (preferably with a beer or two) or as a post-gym protein boost and on hiking or camping trips.

You can use it as an ingredient instead of bacon in nearly any recipe. Apparently Biltong soup is a thing. Biltong pizza? Biltong risotto? Biltong quiche? Why not!

It’s super-simple to make Biltong at home. It will taste better, having no preservatives added and giving you the warm glow of personal achievement.

For this recipe you’ll need some lean beef such as topside, silverside or sirloin, a ceramic/glass or plastic container some string, a blender or a pestle and mortar, and a frying pan.

And a cool dry place to hang the meat: you can hang them in your fridge or lay them on a wire rack if you have space.

It’s very important to toast the spices in a dry frying pan as this brings out the aroma.