I’m Daniel, founder of Bull & Cleaver. Though I’m based in North America now, I grew up in Durban, South Africa. Food has always been a huge part of my life and my family. My grandparents were farmers and later opened up grocery stores in South Africa. That’s where my dad and my uncle would make biltong and they’d always have it hanging in the front with a big basket full of freshly sliced biltong.
When I was a kid I loved to run by and sneak a little snack out of there. Biltong was always my favorite growing up. So when I moved to North America at 15, it was years later when I tried prosciutto for the first time and I'm like, ‘oh, this is so weird. It's so familiar. I know what this reminds me of!’ So when I made biltong and gave it to my friends for the first time they were blown away.
Back then, before we started Bull & Cleaver, there weren't a lot of people selling biltong online. And those that did, it was super cheesy and the biltong looked terrible. Like they’d taken a picture of it in a creepy basement. It didn't look good and it made me a little disappointed because I'm like, ‘hey this is a superstar product that I'm proud of.’ And these sellers were not doing it justice.
I really wanted to give biltong some pride for South Africans. And I wanted to make something that's beautiful, that's premium. We decided then that we wanted to only sell online in small batches so we don’t have products sitting on retail shelves for weeks or months. We keep it close to home. In fact, our first sale was to a South African woman in Florida during South Africa’s World Cup run back in 2015. The craving for biltong can be strong, but when you want fresh biltong – you really want it.
We’re always going to be a small business run by family. My mom, brother and my wife all help out at Bull & Cleaver. We’re not a huge corporation funded by who knows what, right? It'll always be me and my family behind it. That’s essential. And we want to try and make the best product we can. Especially since our big mission is to build up and spread word on biltong. I want to ensure that we’ll always be the best source of biltong in America. Not just for South Africans missing a bit of home but for anyone who loves this snack.
When I’m craving some biltong? I’d go with Slabs and Droëwors for sure. If you haven’t tried ours yet, I definitely recommend it.
P.S. Fun fact: when I first moved to North America, I played competitive rugby and went to nationals…until I (unfortunately) blew out my shoulder. Luckily for me now, making biltong is not a full-contact sport.