What’s The Difference Between Beef Jerky And Biltong?

Are you a fan of dried meat snacks? Do you find yourself reaching for a bag of beef jerky or biltong when you need a quick protein boost?

While these two snacks may seem similar at first glance, there are actually some key differences between them. From the texture to the production process, each snack has its own unique characteristics.

In this article, we’ll explore the differences between beef jerky and biltong, so you can make an informed decision about which one to choose for your next snack break.

So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of dried meat snacks!

What’s The Difference Between Beef Jerky And Biltong?

The first and most obvious difference between beef jerky and biltong is the texture. While beef jerky is known for its tough, chewy texture, biltong is much softer and crumbly. This is because beef jerky is cooked on a rack at a low temperature to slowly dehydrate and cook the meat, while biltong is cured and marinated for 24 hours and then hung on hooks to air dry for up to a week.

Another key difference between the two snacks is the production process. Beef jerky is typically sliced, marinated with spices and flavorings, then cooked with heat. Biltong, on the other hand, is air dried for up to a week by hanging on hooks. Biltong also uses vinegar as a curing agent and to help keep flies off the meat as it dries.

The taste of the two snacks also differs. Beef jerky has a smoky, steak-like taste, while biltong has a slightly acidic taste from the vinegar and spices used in the curing process. Jerky also tends to have more complicated flavor profiles, with a wide variety of flavors available such as hickory, garlic, sweet, and teriyaki. Biltong, on the other hand, is generally more savory in flavor.

Lastly, the types of meat used in each snack can differ. While beef is the most common meat used in both snacks, jerky can also be made from alligator, chicken, soy, bacon, and even clam. Biltong is typically made from beef but can also be made from exotic game meats such as antelope and ostrich.

What Is Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky is a popular snack made from lean cuts of beef that are sliced into strips and dried to preserve the flavor. The process of making beef jerky involves removing fat and other impurities from the meat, marinating it with various spices and seasonings, and then slowly cooking it at a low temperature to dehydrate and cook the meat. The result is a tough, chewy texture that is packed with flavor. Beef jerky is also a nutrient-dense snack that is high in protein and low in fat, making it an excellent option for those looking for a healthy snack. It is ready-to-eat and requires no additional preparation, making it a convenient snack for on-the-go activities. Beef jerky is not raw but fully cooked and shelf-stable, allowing it to last for months without refrigeration. While beef is the most common meat used in beef jerky, other meats such as turkey, pork, and even exotic game meats can also be used to make this delicious snack. With a wide variety of flavors available, beef jerky is a versatile and tasty snack that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

How Is Beef Jerky Made?

Beef jerky is made through a simple process of slicing, marinating, laying, cooking, and packaging. The first step is to slice the beef thinly, usually between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick with the grain. The meat can be seasoned with spices and flavorings to add extra taste.

The next step is marinating the meat. This involves combining a curing solution of salt, sugar, and other seasonings such as soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce. The meat is then coated in the marinade and left to sit for at least 12 hours or overnight in the refrigerator. This allows the flavors to soak into the meat.

After marinating, the meat is laid out on a wire rack over a baking sheet and cooked at a low temperature of around 175°F for 3-4 hours. This slow cooking process allows the meat to dry out and become dehydrated, which prevents spoilage and extends its shelf life.

Once cooked, the beef jerky is ready to be packaged and stored. It can be stored in an airtight container, Ziploc bag, or glass jar at room temperature for up to a week. To extend its shelf life further, it can be refrigerated or frozen.

What Are The Different Types Of Beef Jerky?

Beef jerky comes in a variety of types, textures, and flavors. The most commonly asked for styles of beef jerky are Old-Fashioned, Traditional, Soft & Tender, and Meat Sticks. Beef jerky also comes in different forms, including whole muscle and chopped & formed. These two versions are created in different ways.

Alligator jerky is a unique type of beef jerky that is made from solid strips of juicy alligator tenderloin. It is known to be low in calories and high in protein. If you are making your own alligator jerky, lightly season the meat and then smoke it for extra flavor before dehydrating it. If you are purchasing this type of jerky from the store, there will be plenty of flavors to pick from.

If you’re looking to try different types of beef jerky or want to get a bit more adventurous with your jerky meat, there are plenty of options available. For those who like a little kick, peppered, spicy or habanero-flavored jerky is a great option. For garlic lovers, garlic black pepper jerky is a must-try. And if your pallet is more on the sweet side, teriyaki or sweet and spicy jerky hits the spot every time.

At Beef Jerky Experience, they have a wide variety of beef jerky flavors and styles. Their Tender Smoked style jerkies are made using a slightly thicker cut of meat and have a sugar-based marinade. The sugar base retains more moisture, which results in a more tender piece of jerky. The Tender Smoked jerkies flavors tend to be sweeter but also have that distinct smoked flavor that so many people love! Their Traditional style jerkies are made using a dehydration process with a gluten-free soy sauce base. Their Traditional jerky flavors tend to have a chewier, drier texture than the Smoked jerkies. Their newest addition to their jerky collection, their Classic style jerkies have a texture between their Smoked and Traditional style jerky.

No matter which part of the sirloin primal you pick, including the tip, you’ve got the makings of fantastic beef jerky. There’s some inner marbling — enough for flavor but not so much that we need to worry about spoilage. Trim away the outer layer of fat, and you’re good to go. The price of sirloin cuts is a bit higher than round cuts but they’re easier to find too. It’s tender and tasty, which is precisely what we want.

What Is Biltong?

Biltong is a form of dried, cured meat that originated in Southern African countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia. The word “biltong” comes from the Dutch words “bil” meaning “buttock” and “tong” meaning “strip” or “tongue”. The meat used to make biltong can vary from beef to game meats such as ostrich or kudu. The cut of meat can also vary, with some biltong being made from fillets of meat cut into strips following the grain of the muscle, while others are made from flat pieces sliced across the grain.

Unlike beef jerky, which is cooked in a dehydrator for 6 to 12 hours, biltong is specifically air dried for up to a week by hanging on hooks. The use of vinegar in biltong is not specifically for taste but as a curing agent and to help keep flies off the meat as it dries. The extra ingredients used in the curing process, along with the weeklong aging process, give biltong a distinct taste that sets it apart from beef jerky. Biltong is an all-natural process of preserving meat that has been used for centuries in Southern Africa and ensures that the beef retains its full flavor, tenderness, and nutritional integrity.

How Is Biltong Made?

Biltong is made by marinating strips of meat in a mixture of vinegar and spices for up to 24 hours. The meat is then hung on hooks in a cool, dry place to air dry for up to a week. The drying process is essential to remove moisture from the meat and prevent the growth of mold. Unlike beef jerky, biltong is never cooked or smoked, but rather air-dried to achieve its unique texture and flavor. Biltong is typically made from cuts of beef such as silverside or topside, but can also be made from game meats such as ostrich or kudu. The exact recipe and process for making biltong can vary based on personal preference and the available tools and ingredients. However, the basic principles of marinating, spicing, and air-drying remain the same. Proper storage of biltong is also important to ensure food safety, with paper bags in the fridge or vacuum-sealed bags being recommended in humid climates.

What Are The Different Types Of Biltong?

There are three main types of biltong: wet, medium, and dry. The wet version is the softest and most moist, while the dry version is harder and has a more crumbly texture. The medium type falls somewhere in between these two extremes.

When it comes to the type of beef used for biltong, brisket is not a popular choice in South Africa. However, if you do choose to use brisket, it’s important to select a lean cut from the skinnier side of the meat that doesn’t have a lot of fat marbling. Another alternative to beef biltong is mushroom biltong, which is made in the same way as traditional biltong using spices, marinade, and drying. Mushrooms have a chewy texture similar to meat and offer their own set of health benefits.

When making your own biltong, it’s recommended to use organic grass-fed beef or lean cuts such as silverside bottom round, sirloin, or top round. These cuts are ideal for cutting into long strips with the grain, which is important for achieving the desired texture. Overall, biltong offers a unique flavor and texture experience compared to beef jerky and can be made with a variety of meats and flavors to suit your taste preferences.