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History of South African biltong in the United States


Biltong originated in South Africa and for many years was used as a food survival technique for long trips. The cured meat has been a favorite among the people of South Africa for over 400 years now. 

History of South African biltong in the United States

Biltong’s influence in South Africa

Biltong is unique to South Africa, both for its taste and preparation methods. Originally used a survival technique, where the meat was cured with salt and vinegar, hung to dry and then packaged in cloth bags for long journeys during the wintertime. With the introduction of refrigeration, the traditional use of biltong is no longer necessary, however it still remains as popular as ever due to its unmatchable taste. Biltong is a staple of South African food culture and has begun to influence the rest of the world.

Biltong’s influence in the rest of the world

The popularity of biltong has spread to many other countries including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and India. Biltong is also widely produced in South African expatriate communities in a variety of places including Germany and South Korea.

In the United States biltong is still relatively rare, as beef jerky remains the more notable and therefore more popular dried meat snack.

Biltong’s influence in the United States

Although still not quite as popular as beef jerky, biltong has been having resurgence within the United States in the last few years. Part of this resurgence comes from South African immigrants who have brought their history and local culture with them.

On the other hand, many North Americans have also taken it upon themselves to spread the love for this South African food. While biltong is not very common in grocery stores or convenience stores – the same places that beef jerky is most commonly found – it is rising in popularity among family-owned businesses that make it themselves and sell it online or at farmers’ markets.

Today, biltong continues to grow in popularity, as more and more people try it for the first time. If you haven’t tried it yet, head over to our online South African Biltong store to find out what you’re missing!