Biltong is cured, dried meat that originated in South Africa. Biltong was created out of a need for survival – hunters and travellers needed a food supply that wouldn’t spoil when trekking long distances, especially through the cold winter months, when food was scarce.
But biltong is not the only dried meat; in fact, dried meat is a feature in many cultures and cuisines around the world.
Kilishi is a version of jerky that originated in Nigeria. It is considered a delicacy in Hausa Land, which is home to the Hausa people – one of the largest ethnic groups in all of Africa. The meat is generally made from cow, sheep or goat after the removal of the bones. Each of the muscles is sliced into “sheets” and laid out to dry. After the drying process the meat is rubbed down with a paste called Labu. Labu is made fom peanuts and is diluted with water, spices, salt, onions and sometimes honey. After the meat is coated, it is dried again, and then roasted using wire mesh.
Bakkwa is a dried meat form that originated in China. It is traditionally made using pork, which is prepared with spices, sugar, salt and soy sauce, and then dried on racks at a temperature of 60 degrees Celsius. The meat is served plain and offers a salty-sweet taste.
Bundnerfleisch is an air-dried meat that originated in Switzerland. The main meat used in bundnerfleisch is beef, with the fat being removed. The meat is treated with white wine, salt, onion and assorted herbs. The curing process, which lasts three to five weeks, takes place in sealed containers that are stored at a temperature close to freezing point. The second phase requires the meat to be hung in free flowing air, and to be pressed periodically so that any moisture is separated. Bundnerfleisch is sliced very thinly and often served with bread.
There are so many awesome dried meat products to try. Make sure to head over to our online biltong store and try yourself some biltong first!