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This biltong recipe honors the traditional method of meat preservation, resulting in a savory, spiced, and slightly tangy dried meat snack.


4 lb beef (preferably silverside or topside, cut into strips)
1 c vinegar (apple cider vinegar)
2 T salt (coarse salt)
1 T nutmeg (optional, freshly grated)
2 t pepper (or to taste, black pepper, coarsely ground)
1⁄2 t baking soda (optional, to tenderize)


Trim any excess fat off the meat and cut it into consistent strips, about 2 cm thick.

Briefly dip the meat strips into the vinegar to coat them.

To make the curing mix, combine the salt, sugar, crushed coriander, and black pepper.

Rub the curing mix thoroughly into each piece of meat.

Place the meat in a non-reactive container, cover, and let it marinate in the refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

Hang the meat strips on hooks or a drying rack in a well-ventilated area, away from direct sunlight. A fan can be used to improve air circulation.

Allow the meat to dry for 3 days to 3 weeks, checking periodically for the desired level of dryness.

Once dried to your preference, store the biltong in a cool, dry place, in a paper bag or cloth.

Total time
30 minutes
Cooking time
Preparation time
4 servings


Serve biltong thinly sliced as a snack on its own, or as part of a charcuterie board with cheese, crackers, and pickles.


Add other spices to the mix as desired, like ground clove or ground coriander. Some exotic spices such as Indian ajwain also go well with biltong.

Game biltong: Substitute beef with game meat for a wilder flavor.

Spicy biltong: Add chili flakes or cayenne pepper to the curing mix for a spicy kick.

Herb biltong: Incorporate dried herbs such as thyme or oregano for a herby note.


This recipe is a starting point, and making biltong is often a personal journey. Many South Africans have their family recipes passed down through generations, each with its unique twist. 

South African cuisine

meat, snack, appetizer
marinate, cure, dry
South African food recipes
Food in Africa