Is biltong African jerky? I am a Michelin chef, born on an African farm so here, I will answer this question.

What is it like to live on a farm:?

Like a lot of biltong lovers, I was introduced to this culinary treasure as a child, and the addiction has stuck

In my youth I used to run away from home fairly often, to my uncles “Hofnies” farm in Hoedspruit, located, in the very remote area bordering the Kruger National Park, in South Africa’s Northern Transvaal. My uncle was always overjoyed to see me and never divulged my whereabouts to my parents, who resorted to filing several missing person reports with the police

See: about Patrick

My uncle was a raw and uncouth South African farmer, living without electricity on a vast and remote sugar cane and tomato plantation, He once tossed an entire litter of kittens deep into the sugar cane plantation when their meowing annoyed him,

He was also very prone to poaching game, deep within the boundaries of the Kruger Park, a highly risky endeavor. If caught by the “fauna flora” police, one faced confiscation of the vehicle, all of its contents, including obviously, rifles and ammunition. Then directly to jail plus a hefty fine. So not to be taken lightly!

I often accompanied my uncle “Hofnie” on these dead of night missions, together with my uncles even more uncouth and barbaric brother “Poon”, a huge fat bear of a man.

In order to minimize detection, the hunting would be conducted with a powerful spotlight, shined into the bush from the Land Rover. A rifle would have been far too risky, the sound of the shot echoing through the silence of the night, would attract attention. My job was to man the spotlight and keep tabs on headlights of any approaching vehicles.

One would then, suddenly see the reflection of a sea of shining eyes of resting antelope. Poon would disembark, sneak up to the buck, armed with a crowbar, tackle one with his bare hands, and beat it to death.

Bear in mind that this beast does not render easily, it kicks and fights. Poon often sustained severe injuries.
But such it was!

There is mitigation for these seemingly, barbaric and risky excursions, for this was for food, not fun. No morsel of that animal went to waste. These were not rhino horn or elephant tusk poachers for greed of money

Then began the process of biltong.

Strips of the best cuts would be marinated in vinegar, then doused with coarse salt, black pepper and crushed coriander seeds, then hung up to dry in the open air, in a netted enclosure

Biltong vs beef jerky

Although Biltong would be the winner in the eyes of a South African, I think it would be useful to set the record straight once and for all! Jerky and Biltong are different, but what is the difference?

Biltong and Jerky are similar in that they are both dried meats, the taste and the production process is different. Biltong originates from South Africa , whereas Jerky originates from North and South America.

Biltong is traditionally marinated in vinegar and spices that add extra flavor to the meat. While jerky often has a dry and smoky taste. This is the key difference;

Biltong is hung and air dried, while jerky is cooked over low heat smoke.

Biltong has the tender, thin texture of prosciutto and is nothing like the jaw-tiring dryness of regular beef jerky.

Once you have tried biltong you will never go back to jerky!

Biltong recipes?

There are many. Personally I have never tried any of them. I have tasted the best of the best, on the African farm.
Simple, no fuss no fancy equipment.

Secret? You cannot try yourself at home to replicate the ideal conditions of that farm, much as you cannot replicate the conditions of a region where the finest grapes are grown.

There are many commercial producers that replicate ideal conditions, with a quality product, so “don’t try it at home” unless you think you can rival Hofnie and Poon.
So just buy!

Biltong African Jerky? I don’t think so!

Original biltong here

Foot note: Very good grated over a salad or pasta!

Please feel free to mail me for any help or advice.

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