Biltong is a popular South African snack food made from cured meat usually beef, game, or ostrich. It’s so popular among meat-loving South Africans that it’s practically a food group. While it’s often compared to beef jerky the two are not quite the same. Preparation, taste, and texture are different. Biltong is dried whereas beef jerky is smoked and the biltong curing process uses vinegar or red wine as one of its base ingredients.
Where it comes from
When Jan Van Rieebeeck’s Dutch settlers arrived at the Cape in the 17th century they brought with them recipes for drying meat. The new colony climate was hot. There were no freezers and large quantities of fresh meat had to be preserved as quickly as possible. They began experimenting, tweaking the odd spice here and there, and the genuine article, as we know it today was born.
Historical survival food
The word “biltong” is a South African term inspired by Dutch “bil” which means rump and “tong” which means strip or tongue. In the 1830s Afrikaans and Dutch pioneers, mainly farmers, took to ox drawn wagons and trekked inland. They became known as Voortrekkers which, directly translated, means “those who pull ahead”. Their Great Trek is well documented in various historical accounts. Their journey was arduous. Biltong was a crucial source of protein. Essentially it was a survival food.
Biltong Dip Recipe
Recipe by: GOLD Restaurant
Serves: 6 – 8
Difficulty: Quick and easy
Preparation: 5 minutes
T = tablespoon
t = teaspoon
- 250 g cream cheese
- 50 g finely sliced/shaved biltong
- ¼ t Tabasco sauce
- 1 T fresh cream
- Combine ingredients and mix until you have a smooth consistency.
- Best served with crisps or crudités.
- At Gold Restaurant we serve ours with delicious, fresh baked pot breads.