What Is Biltong | History, Taste, Where To Buy & More

All meat lovers only want one thing: eat different kinds of meat and enjoy the variation in the flavors. Did you know that apart from regular beef, something called biltong exists in reality? If this is brand new information for you, keep reading as you are about to discover what biltong is and more information related to it. 

What is biltong?

Biltong is air-cured meat prepared with vinegar and unique spices. It is a traditional South African snack that is tender and soft with smoky and meaty flavors. As it is made with vinegar, you can also find the acidic notes. Regarding nutrients, protein, and essential amino acids enrich biltong. 

Biltong is an on-the-go snack that boosts energy while you enjoy the meaty flavors. Different kinds of meat make these delicious snacks, but beef is ubiquitous. Many people may find the flavors of biltong similar to a steak, but trust me, they are not the same. 

You are at the right place if you are curious and want to explore this new kind of meat. Today, we will learn everything about biltong, and I will also share the recipe so that you can make some for yourself, too. So, let’s begin. 

What Is Biltong?

What is biltong 1

Biltong is a traditional South African snack made with meat. The meat is air-cured and infused with vinegar and spices. 

One unique thing about biltong is that it is a very healthy and easy-to-go-with snack. Biltong is made with different meats, but beef is ubiquitous due to its availability and cost. Even if made with meat, it is a little expensive as the beef cut is always the finest. Try biltong to enjoy the meaty flavors with a soft and delicate texture. 

History Of Biltong

History of biltong

It is fascinating to note that during ancient times, meat preservation was prevalent for survival. With human evolution, the definition of survival changed, and then the meat was preserved to enjoy the flavors and satisfy the taste buds. 

As we have already learned, biltong is a traditional snack in South Africa; they used to prepare it during winter only. Simply because winters were less likely to support the growth of any mold and bacteria. People used to cure the meat with salt and hand it to dry. This preservation happened 400 years ago, but the process has changed as we are in this century. 

With the European visitors, the curing process changed as they introduced vinegar and spices for the curing process. And then it was known as biltong, derived from the Dutch words bil (meat) and tong (steak). Many believed that the Dutch discovered this meat-curing process, but it was also noted that Africans were familiar with it and gorged themselves on this delicious snack a long time back. Africans never named it, but the Dutch gave it a name, making the curing process much better and more sophisticated. 

It became a great travel snack item because it lasted long, and the flavors were delicate and meaty. Also, the nutrients played a significant role. The staple food of South Africa then slowly became popular in other parts of the world, and now people enjoy this snack a lot. 

What Part Of Meat Is Used For Biltong?

Biltong is made with different kinds of meat. The most popular is a cut from beef. Usually, any cut of beef will work great to make biltong, but the round part is the perfect one. If we talk about the specifics, then the top round of the beef cut is the most tender. 

What Does Biltong Taste Like?

What does biltong taste like

Biltong has a great meaty taste. As it is air-cured and immersed in vinegar and spices, the acidic notes are very evident. 

Also, it is essential to note that as the biltong is made from the round cut of the meat, it is very tender, soft, and delicate. You will enjoy the tangy and savory flavors. As the process of making biltong involves spices, you will also enjoy aromatic flavors. 

Biltong Price

Biltong price

If we talk about the price, 50 grams of biltong will cost you around $8 to $10. The price may vary from brand to brand, depending on the type of meat and flavors. 

Biltong (50 g)Between $8 to $10 

Why Is Biltong So Expensive?

Why is biltong so expensive

Biltong is made from the finest beef cut, which is a very evident reason for the high price. Also, biltong involves drying, so the cost eventually increases. Therefore, the quality of meat used in making biltong is excellent and worth each penny. 

The manufacturer had to get a good amount of meat, which was dried, resulting in a minimal amount left. I would not mind spending extra for this tender and meaty snack on the go. 

Is Biltong Healthy?

Is Biltong healthy

Yes, biltong is healthy. It is believed that sailors used to munch on these while traveling as it was a power pack snack on the go. Biltong is enriched with proteins and nine essential amino acids. The calories are also low; it is an excellent iron source. It is also infused with magnesium, potassium, and B vitamins. 

Let us have a look at the nutrient content of the biltong: 

Calories80 kcal
Carbs1 grams
Protein 16 grams
Fat2 grams
Iron35% of DV
Sodium 19% of DV

Are There Any Disadvantages Of Eating Biltong?

No, there are no significant disadvantages to eating biltong. However, biltong has low sodium and fats, which can concern certain people with diseases. 

Also, nowadays, biltong is majorly processed, and daily consumption of it can be risky. Therefore, moderation is much needed. Also, check your protein intake, as biltong is super-rich, and you want to stay within the daily requirement. 

Is Biltong The Same As Beef Jerky?

Is Biltong the same as beef jerky

No, it would be wrong to say that biltong is the same as beef jerky. We already know what biltong is, and on the other side, beef jerky is a sliced meat that is well seasoned and cooked in heat.

The overall texture of beef jerky is dry and chewy. When it comes to biltong, it is air-dried and has a soft texture. Let us have a glance at the significant differences between the both. 

Basis Of Differences BiltongBeef Jerky
Cooking MethodDryingHeating
OriginAmericaSouth Africa
FlavoursSalty and meaty with little acidic notesSmoky with a hint of sweetness
TextureSoft and delicateDry and chewy
VarietyBeef, ostrich, kudu and chickenbeef
Nutritional contentProtein, amino acids, ironProtein, zinc, fibre, sodium

Can You Eat Biltong Everyday?

Is it healthy to eat biltong everyday

Yes, you can eat biltong daily, but you must be very careful with the quantity. There are various health benefits of consuming biltong daily.

As it is high in protein and essential amino acids, biltong is a great energy booster. Consuming biltong after post-workout is also beneficial as it stores the energy back. If you like the flavors of biltong, below are the best reasons to finish it daily. 

1. Low in fat and carbs 

Biltong is low in fat and carbs, which means that consuming biltong will only add a few calories to your diet. You can enjoy biltong even if you are on a diet, and Protein, zinc, fiber, sodium ensure you have a delicious snack. 

2. Protein Packed 

We all know that biltong is protein-rich, which is why it is known as one of the healthy snacking options. If you are building muscles, munch on these meaty stripes and ensure to intake 50% of your daily protein requirement in a single serving. 

3. Post Workout Essential

Without any doubt, consuming biltong after heavy workouts has shown excellent results. As biltong is known for boosting energy, eating it after a workout will help you regain it. It’s the best post-workout snack you can try. 

4. Minerals and amino acids 

It would not be false to say that biltong is an excellent source of minerals and amino acids. Biltong is one of those snacks containing all the nine essential amino acids the body requires. With Vitamin B12 and iron, red blood cell production is excellent. The presence of zinc helps in processing the carbs, fats, and protein content. 

Is Biltong Legal In The USA?

Is Biltong legal in USA

Yes, the production and sales of biltong are legal in the USA. No particular law prohibits the display of biltong as long as you have a proper license to do the same. If you bring biltong from South Africa for personal consumption, you must have a valid certificate, says USDA

Also, it is fascinating to note that importing biltong is illegal because of the curing process of the meat. So you must have a proper certificate and follow the rules and regulations to do the same. There is no law opposing the consumption of biltong. So, as long as you get to the USA or can bring it back from South Africa, you can enjoy the meaty flavors anytime and anywhere. 

From Where Can You Buy Biltong?

From where can you buy biltong

If you were worried that you might not get enough to eat, then let me help you out. You can order as many beef biltong as you want from Beef Chief. They deal in various beef biltongs, from traditional biltong to fatty biltong.

The best thing is that they have chipotle biltong that allows vegans to enjoy similar flavorful notes. Around 12 different varieties of biltong are delicious and on-the-go snacks.

Beef Chief aims to provide flavors of beef anywhere and anytime. Apart from biltong, Beef Chief also delivers beef jerky and Droëwors. They also offer sample packs with beef items like biltong, jerky, and Droëwors.

These beef items are made from 100% Aussie grass-fed cattle supervised by Aussie Army Veteran, meaning quality is assured. There are many reward and referral programs for the customers to participate in. You can also select from the value packs and save a good amount on every order. 

Best Biltong Recipe

It is no surprise that you can make biltong at home. As long as you have beef meat and some ingredients, you are good to go. Let us see the ingredients and process of making the best biltong at home. 

Recipe Card

Biltong recipe

Biltong Recipe

Biltong is air-cured meat that is prepared with vinegar and unique spices. Biltong is a traditional South African snack that is tender and soft with smoky and meaty flavors. As it is made with vinegar, you can also find the acidic notes. Regarding nutrients, biltong is enriched with protein and essential amino acids.
5 from 1 vote
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting Time 6 days 6 hours
Course Snack
Cuisine African


  • Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Coriander
  • Black pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Beef
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Honey


  • Cut the thick slices of meat.
  • Rub the salt generously over the meat and let it rest for 3 hours.
  • After wiping off the salt, prepare a wet cure by combining vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, and honey. Rest for another 2 hours.
  • Add baking soda and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
  • Blend the spices after toasting them well.
  • Use paper towels and dry the meat.
  • Rub the spice mix generously on each side of the meat.
  • Hook the thick side of the meat using a paper clip and hang it in a dry and warm environment.
  • Check after 6 to 7 days when almost 40% to 50% of moisture is lost.
  • Enjoy as it is, or you can freeze the biltong after wrapping it in plastic bags.
Keyword Biltong, Biltong Recipe, South African Cured Meat
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


Without any doubt, this meaty and delicate snacking item is a hit. I always look for munching options filled with flavors and nutrients and have a match. Biltong is one of the different meat items that is commonly known by meat lovers. 

Even though you are unaware of this delicious snack, I am sure you know everything about it from now on. Biltong is rich in flavors and has a very soft and delicate texture. People also prefer munching on biltong as it has low fats and carbs and is infused with protein and iron. So, next time you crave beef jerky but are worried about your health – biltong is your go-to snack. I will see you soon with more conversations. Until then, have some beef biltong. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is biltong made from?

Biltong is made from the round cut of the meat. It is mainly made from beef immersed in vinegar, spices, and salt. 

Are biltong and beef jerky the same?

No, biltong and beef jerky are not the same. Beef jerky is a sliced meat well seasoned and cooked in heat. The overall texture of beef jerky is dry and chewy. When it comes to biltong, it is air-dried and has a soft texture. 

What are the flavors of biltong?

Biltong has an evident meaty flavor with light notes of acid. It is also very soft and delicate, with tangy and savory flavors that you can enjoy.

Is biltong banned in the USA? 

No law prohibits any production (with proper licensing) or consumption of biltong within the USA. 

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