We’re Harry and Jack, the brothers behind Ember. And as you might have guessed by now, we’re pretty passionate about biltong (not sure what biltong is? Check out our what is biltong blog) and have tons of biltong recipes we would love to share with you. We want to share top-quality, homegrown meat snacks with you - and also show you how versatile they can be in the kitchen. A bit like us, really.
Gone are the days of biltong being beef jerky’s lesser-known cousin. In fact, we have even done a biltong vs beef jerky guide for those of you interested in the differences. If you’ve tucked into one of our meat snacks (if not, get yourself to our online shop), you’ll know that biltong - when it’s done right - is about as tasty as meat can get. We love everything from an old school, traditional biltong recipe, basic biltong recipe to newer variations & dishes from many cultures.
Our snacks are made with the finest cuts of raw meat from British and Irish cows. We use all-natural ingredients (no funny business) to make our high-grade charcuterie, while our biltong is made with protein-rich, lean strips of silverside beef, rubbed with the best herbs and all the spices we can get our hands on, and hung to dry. The drying process is not a quick process - but good things come to those who wait, right?
Now, onto what you can do with our biltong. Of course, chowing down on the whole packet in one is tempting. And we’re all for that. But we want you to know there’s also a whole lot of delicious stuff you can do with Ember biltong and has great results. We’ve been collecting a few recipes from chefs, homecooks and the woman who fuelled our childhood with hearty food - our mum. It turns out there’s more to biltong than meets the eye. Or mouth, as the case may be.
A word from Mum on why cooking with biltong is the best:
"Good biltong is a great addition to so many recipes. It adds a lovely rich flavour and a nice protein lift. It's really easy just to chuck in a quiche or sprinkle over a salad. The Ember Chilli flavour even adds a nice kick if you want to spice up an already great recipe."
The deep, rich umami flavours of biltong lend themselves perfectly to a whole load of great biltong recipes, from protein-rich breakfast dishes (that’s right, biltong for breakfast) to traditional South African stews, pasta dishes and pastries. It turns out biltong is a fried egg’s best friend, and goes very nicely on top of fluffy pancakes. You can make a rich, hearty version of a chilli con carne using biltong, scatter chopped pieces onto a salad, crisp it up to go on top of soup, and - our personal favourite - use it as a crispy, meaty pizza topping. Mum’s biltong recipe for flan is one for a dinner party with friends, and our biltong recipe for scrambled eggs with creamy French beans is a hangover saviour. We’ve even got a biltong recipe for a biltong-laced scotch egg for you. Trust us, once you try it, a classic scotchy will never taste the same again. Our lean, good quality meat has around 15g of proper protein per pack, so you can feel good about throwing it in to just about any biltong recipe you can like. It’ll add texture, salt and meaty depth to most dishes, and might just become your new cupboard essential next to the spice mix. Think of it as bacon’s worldlier, more refined older sibling. With far less fat, far more protein and all the flavours of good, old fashioned British and Irish farms.
Great Biltong Recipe
The South African Biltong is one of the best dishes you should try out. If you've ever tried Biltong, then you most definitely will agree with me. Here we will discuss the beef biltong recipe; the method and spice mix haven't been changed much for hundreds of years so that you will taste the original thing.
Various types of meat are used to produce Biltong, ranging from beef to game meats such as ostrich or kudu. The cutting methods also vary, from fillets of meat to meat strips.
Traditional Biltong is cured in salt and vinegar and coated with crushed coriander seeds and pepper. However, avoid putting too much salt as it can leave a burning sensation. On the other hand, vinegar does a great job of sterilising the cure meat without mountains of salt.
With dry Biltong, the purpose is to concentrate the flavour of the beef by removing moisture. A good combination of airflow and the cool temperature is the key to excellent biltong making. Avoid heat when making Biltong as it does not make better Biltong. When drying Biltong, the process should be slow to avoid cooking it; most biltong makers use a biltong box for the drying process to create good air circulation.
When drying the Biltong, the airflow should be just enough to draw away moisture and not fast to avoid over-drying. You require a good steady stream of air running past the meat, but not too strong.
Biltong Main Ingredients
You can choose to either stick to the main ingredients when preparing your Biltong, or you can try and add different types of spices and ingredients. However, some home biltong makers think adding more spices and other ingredients makes the biltong taste even better, but you lose the original unique flavour in reality. The main ingredients of an authentic biltong recipe include vinegar, salt, coriander, black pepper, brown sugar, and bicarbonate of soda. We shall take a look at these ingredients in detail below.
Vinegar: Brown vinegar has been used to make Biltong traditionally; this is because of the strong flavour it has. Some people use apple cider vinegar, and it's okay too. However, if you want to achieve the best flavour, brown sugar is best; apple cider vinegar comes second.
Salt: Sea salt is a fantastic flavour enhancer, and it helps preserve the meat too. On top of that, it destroys bacteria outside the meat and allows the drying process. However, make sure you use the right amount of salt.
Coriander: This is the spice enhancer that makes the biltong flavour so tasty. Toast the coriander seed to have the oils for flavour and because the oil helps fight off bacteria.
Black Pepper: Black pepper makes beef taste like heaven. However, don't put it too much. Roughly have 1/4 pepper to 3/4 coriander seed for good balance.
Brown Sugar: This caramel and molasses flavour adds complexity to the Biltong without masking it. It helps by balancing the saltiness well.
Bicarbonate of soda: Some biltong recipes will include bicarbonate of soda, this might sound a bit odd, but it had proven scientific reasoning that slows the contraction of the proteins and leaves the final product dry, but less hard. However, make sure you keep the quantity very low because of its unpleasant taste.