fbpx
Free UK Delivery On Orders Over £50

6 differences between Biltong and Jerky


THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BILTONG AND JERKY

 

Raging Bull Snacks selection of biltong flavours

  • A brief history of biltong
  • A brief history of jerky
  • How is biltong made?
  • How is Jerky made?
  • A summary of the differences between biltong and jerky
  • What are the health benefits of Biltong?
  • What are the health benefits of Jerky?
  • How to make Biltong at home
  • How to make Jerky at home

SHOP HERE

 

Dried meat snacks have been enjoyed for centuries. Not only can they be stored for long periods of time (very important in the days before refrigeration) but they can also provide an important source of nutrition. Two of the most popular dried meat snacks are biltong and jerky. While both are delicious and enjoyed in many parts of the world there are some very important differences between the two snacks. We are going to explore those differences from their origins and history to their preparation, taste and texture.

 

A brief history of biltong

Biltong has a very long history in South Africa where it was first used as a way to preserve meat during long hunting expeditions. The first recorded use of biltong as a snack can be traced back to the 17th century, when Dutch settlers in South Africa began using the technique to preserve meat during voyages to the East Indies. Indeed the word “biltong” is derived from the Dutch words “bil,” meaning rump, and “tong,” meaning strip or tongue.

 

The traditional method of making biltong involved hanging cuts of meat in the sun to dry but over time the process was refined. Preparation evolved to include marinades of spices and vinegar which not only added flavour but also helped to preserve or “cure” the meat, vital in the days before refrigeration. Biltong techniques and recipes were passed down from generation to generation and it became a staple snack in South Africa. In recent years there has seen a huge surge in popularity in many other countries particularly in Europe and more recently in America. It is now possible to buy biltong in the UK in most supermarkets and buy biltong on line.

A map showing where South Africa is in Africa

A brief history of jerky

There is evidence to suggest the ancient civilisations of the Inca and Aztec Empires dried meat to preserve it for later use. The word jerky is derived from the Quechua word ch’arki which means “dry salted meat”. The Quechuan peoples lived primarily in the Peruvian Andes.

 

The practice of drying meat was later adopted by Native Americans tribes and early settlers in North America who needed a portable food source that would last for long periods of time without refrigeration. The early explorers and settlers in North America used it as an important source of protein during long journeys and in the 19th century jerky became a staple food for cowboys and pioneers. Over the years jerky gradually became a staple snack throughout the Americas. The rise of healthy snacking and a desire for high protein snacks has seen Jerky and indeed biltong’s popularity grow rapidly in many countries in recent years. While previously only available in specialist shops it is now possible to buy jerky in the UK in most major supermarkets as well as buy jerky on line.

A map showing where the Peruvian Andes is

 

How is biltong made?

Biltong is typically made from meat of a high quality. For instance, at Raging Bull Snacks, we use prime cuts of grass fed silverside beef. The meat is cut into strips and marinated in vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices. Recipes and combinations can vary greatly and it’s not unusual in South Africa for family recipes to be passed down through the generations. Once marinated the meat is hung to dry for several days, preferably in a dry humid environment. This will be naturally achieved in some countries (think Southern Africa for example) otherwise fans and heating can replicate the drying process. It is a versatile snack that allows for many different flavours depending on taste. At Raging Bull Snacks for example, along with our more traditional tasting Original Biltong we also make Chilli Biltong and Teriyaki Biltong. To learn more visit “What Is Biltong? 10 Facts About Biltong”.

what is biltong

SHOP HERE

 

How is Jerky made?

Jerky can be made from a variety of different meats, including beef, turkey and pork but more exotic types can also be used. In recent years plant-based Jerky has been developed for those seeking a vegetarian option. When it comes to meat jerky then the better the quality of meat, the better the jerky. At Raging Bull Snacks for instance, we again only use prime cuts of grass feed silverside beef.

 

Once the meat is selected it is sliced into thin strips and marinated. The marinade really depends on personal tastes and could, for example, include combinations of soy sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, garlick powder, honey, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar and cayenne pepper. There are many different flavours of jerky available on the market. For instance, a search of the internet displays flavours such as coconut jerky, bacon jerky, soy jerky, whiskey jerky, clam jerky and even cactus jerky. At Raging Bull Snacks we keep it a bit more traditional by selling Peppered Beef Jerky, Sweet Hot Beef Jerky and Original Beef Jerky.

Once marinated, the meat needs to be dried. This can be done in an oven, dehydrator or smoker. It is important to dry the meat at a low temperature until its firm and chewy. To learn more visit “What Is Jerky? 10 Facts About Jerky”.

what is jerky

A summary of the differences between biltong and jerky

As discussed above, although jerky and biltong share some similarities, they differ in origin, preparation and taste. We know because at Raging Bull Snacks we make both biltong and Jerky!

 

Origin:

Biltong originated in South Africa. Jerky has its roots in North America.

 

Meat:

Biltong has traditionally been made from beef and game meat. Jerky on the other hand can be made from a variety of different meats including beef, pork, turkey etc.

 

Preparation:

Biltong is made by first marinating the meat in a mixture of vinegar and spices to cure it. It is then hung whole, air-dryed for several days to de-hydrate and then sliced. Jerky is sliced, marinated with spices and flavourings and then cooked at low temperatures to dehydrate and cook the meat. The absence of heat in the preparation of biltong is one of the key distinguishing features between the two snacks.

 

Texture and taste:

Biltong tends to have a softer and saltier taste due to the way it is marinated while jerky can be drier, smokier and more chewy. Jerky’s preparation also allows for much more varied flavours to be created.

Raging Bull Meat snacks jerky

SHOP HERE

 

What are the health benefits of Biltong?

Biltong, as well as being absolutely delicious, is low in carbs and high in protein. As the meat is cured and not cooked it retains all of its great nutrients and vitamins. The beef biltong we craft at Raging Bull Snacks contains nearly 60g of protein per 100g of meat. In addition, there is only 0.6g of sugar and less than 3g of carbohydrates in our biltong. Meat is also a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium. Experts say the best snack pre and post workout is a combination of protein and carbohydrates which makes biltong a great snack option for those looking to build muscle. Biltong is also a very popular snack amongst people following low-carb diets such as Keto. Whether you want a healthier snack to keep you going at the gym or just need something healthier to get you through the day without resorting to crisps, biscuits or chocolates then biltong is a good solution. If you would like to understand more about proteins and carbohydrates scroll down to the bottom of the blog. It goes without saying that when it comes to matters of your health you should always consult a medical professional. To understand more about proteins and carbohydrates visit “6 Health Benefits Of Eating Biltong”.

**Please note that this blog does not contain any medical advice. When it comes to matters of your health and diet you should always consult a medical professional**

 

Raging Bull Snacks biltong variety box

SHOP HERE

What are the health benefits of Jerky?

Jerky is also high in protein. Raging Bull Snacks Jerky for instance contains 39g of protein per 100g of meat. It is why Jerky is very popular with sportsman and why Raging Bull Snacks Jerky is in demand from teams that have for instance rowed the Atlantic Ocean, trekked across the Arctic or compete in bodybuilding. Meat is also a natural source of vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium. If lean cuts of meat are used such as sirloin or round steak then jerky is also generally low in fat which makes it a possible option for those seeking a low-fat diet. And finally, depending on the ingredients used in the marinade, Jerky can also be a low calorie snack.It goes without saying that when it comes to matters of your health you should always consult a medical professional. To understand more about proteins visit this blog.

**Please note that this blog does not contain any medical advice. When it comes to matters of your health and diet you should always consult a medical professional**

 

 

Raging Bull Snacks Jerky range

SHOP HERE

 

How to make Biltong at home

If you don’t want to buy biltong on line, below is just one recipe for making your own. There are many different recipes on the web and through a bit of trial and error you will soon discover a favourite taste.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pounds of beef (sirloin or flank steak)
  • 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of coarse sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon of coriander seeds
  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

Instructions:

Cut the beef into thin strips, about 1/4 inch thick.

Mix together the red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, mix together the salt, coriander seeds, black pepper, brown sugar, and bicarbonate of soda.

Dip each strip of beef into the vinegar and Worcestershire mixture, then coat it in the spice mixture.

Hang the strips in a biltong box or equivalent. Make sure there is enough space between each strip so that they do not touch. Dry the biltong, for 3-5 days. The biltong is ready when it is completely dry but still slightly soft to the touch.

make biltong at home

 

How to make Jerky at home

If you don’t’ want to buy jerky on line there are many recipes for making it at home. Here is a one simple one to try;

 

Ingredients:

1 pound of lean meat (beef, turkey, or deer)

1/4 cup of soy sauce

1/4 cup of Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

1 teaspoon of black pepper

1 teaspoon of onion powder

1 teaspoon of garlic powder

 

Instructions:

Trim the meat of any fat and cut it into thin strips, about 1/8 inch thick.

Mix together the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, black pepper, onion powder, and garlic powder in a large bowl.

Add the meat strips to the bowl and toss them in the marinade until they are fully coated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or overnight for best results.

Preheat your oven to 175°F (80°C) or the lowest temperature possible.

Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and place a wire rack on top.

Remove the meat from the marinade and pat it dry with paper towels.

Place the meat strips on the wire rack, making sure they do not overlap.

Bake the meat in the oven for 4-6 hours, or until it is fully dried and slightly chewy. Check the meat periodically and rotate the baking sheet if necessary to ensure even drying.

Once the jerky is done, remove it from the oven and allow it to cool completely before storing it in an airtight container.

 

SHOP HERE
Biltong Great Taste Awards

 

References and further reading;

    1. Biltong Association of South Africa
    2. Biltong USA Trade Association
    3. Biltong: The South African Snack Taking the World by Storm” (Food & Wine, 2020)
    4. “A Guide to Biltong: South Africa’s Delicious Dried Meat Snack” (Eater, 2021)
    5. “The History and Health Benefits of Biltong” (BBC, 2019)
    6. “Biltong: The South African Snack You Need to Try” (Men’s Health, 2020)
    7. “Dietary protein – its role in satiety, energetics, weight loss and health” by J.A. Douglas, published in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2012.
    8. “The effects of high protein diets on thermogenesis, satiety and weight loss: a critical review” by A. Astrup et al., published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2004.
    9. “Protein and muscle health during aging: benefits and concerns related to animal-based protein” by A. Santesso et al., published in Frontiers in Nutrition in 2019.
    10. “Protein intake and its role in weight management” by K.M. Hill et al., published in the International Journal of Obesity in 2015.
    11. “Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Interventions for the Treatment of Overweight and Obesity in Adults” by J.O. Hill et al., published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013.
    12. “Zinc in Human Health: Effect of Zinc on Immune Cells” by F. Wessels and M. Rink, published in Molecular Medicine in 1998.
    13. “The Biological Role of Zinc in the Skin” by K.M. Alam et al., published in Nutrients in 2020.
    14. “Zinc and reproduction: effects of zinc deficiency on prenatal and early postnatal development” by M.A. Wuehler and L.M. Olin, published in Birth Defects Research Part B: Developmental and Reproductive Toxicology in 2010.
    15. “The Role of Zinc in Mood Disorders” by S.M. Swardfager et al., published in Psychiatric Clinics of North America in 2013.
    16. “Zinc Lozenges and the Common Cold: A Meta-Analysis Comparing Zinc Acetate and Zinc Gluconate, and the Role of Zinc Dosage” by H. Hemilä and E. Chalker, published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine in 2017.
    17. “Vitamin B12 and health” by J. Watanabe et al., published in Clinical Calcium in 2014.
    18. “Vitamin B12: essential nutrient with complex interactions on several metabolic pathways” by A. Pawlak et al., published in Journal of the American Dietetic Association in 2013.
    19. “Vitamin B12: Vital for Health, Critical for Vegetarians” by R. Mangels, published in Vegetarian Nutrition Update in 2013.
    20. “Vitamin B12 and bone health” by K.L. Tucker et al., published in Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in 2013.
    21. “Vitamin B12 status and rate of brain volume loss in community-dwelling elderly” by A. Vogiatzoglou et al., published in Neurology in 2008.
    22. “Nutritional composition of biltong: A traditional Southern African meat snack” by A. Bester et al., published in Meat Science in 2016.
    23. “Biltong – the nutrition and health benefits of this traditional South African snack” by K. Silvis, published in The South African Journal of Natural Medicine in 2018.
    24. “A nutritional and microbiological comparison between beef jerky and biltong” by J.L. Bosman et al., published in Food Control in 2020.
    25. “The Role of Dried Meat in a Balanced Diet” by C. Ncube et al., published in Foods in 2021.
    26. “Biltong: A traditional South African meat snack with a multitude of applications” by L. Mabasa et al., published in South African Journal of Science in 2021.

 

In addition these journals can be consulted:

      1. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
      2. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
      3. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
      4. The British Journal of Nutrition
      5. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

 

Raging Bull Biltong are online sellers of beef biltong and beef jerky.

FOR ALL OF LIFE's ADVENTURES

THE Biltong of choice for British Army Force Atlantic & ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION

Follow us @ragingbullbiltong

linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram