A little bit of History , and the story of Biltong.
So what is all the Beef about this product called Biltong!
Biltong , is a variety of air cured meat treats that originate from Southern Africa , and traditionally prepared for humans.
The word biltong comes from the Dutch bil (“rump”) and tong (“strip” or “tongue”) , and it is typically made from premium quality, raw fillets of meat which are cut into strips following the grain of the muscle meat, hung to air dry naturally to preserve.
So now you’ve been introduced … come find out a little bit more!
If you’ve never heard of the word Biltong , you may well know the word “Jerky”, but the only connection biltong actually has to beef jerky is that they are both dried meats.
Now be prepared to discover how Biltong is a superior, stand alone product, and why…
Firstly, take the unique marinating process. ByBenji Biltong is marinated for 24 hours in our blend of herbs to infuse and intensify the aroma and flavour. It’s this full on hit of taste sensation that gives your dogs a whole new treat experience. Then there’s the quality of ingredients, every piece made from nothing but pure silverside of beef, so when you combine all this, you start to get a feel as to why our biltong rises above any other beef treat !
We are proudly the UK’s first DEFRA approved manufacture of pet friendly Biltong. It’s important to say that Biltong made for the Human market is cured with far too much salt that is wise for any dogs digestion and therefore ours is a unique and pioneering collection of products in the pet world!
There are many beef treat impostors on the pet treat market , professing to be “Biltong”, so beware, if it’s labelled as dehydrated, oven baked, or produced with direct heat it certainly isn’t the real thing!
What’s the origin of Biltong?
Indigenous peoples of Southern Africa, such as the Khoikhoi, preserved meat by slicing it into strips, curing it with salt, and hanging it up to dry.
After European settlers (Dutch, German, French) arrived in southern Africa in the early 17th century, they improved the curing process by using vinegar, saltpetre and spices including pepper, coriander and cloves…the need for preservation in the new colony was pressing.
Building up herds of livestock took a long time, but with indigenous game in abundance, traditional methods were available to preserve large masses of meat such as found in the eland…in a hot climate, iceboxes and fridges had not been invented yet!
Biltong as it is today , evolved from the dried meat carried by the wagon-travelling Voortrekkers, who needed stocks of durable food as they migrated from the Cape Colony north and north-eastward (away from British rule) into the interior of Southern Africa during the Great Trek.
Traditionally this meat was preserved and hung to be dried for a fortnight after which it would be ready for packing in cloth bags.
This air curing process, was used to preserve all kinds of meat in South Africa. However today biltong is most commonly made from beef, primarily because of its widespread availability and lower cost relative to game.
For the finest cuts fillet or steaks cut from the hip such as topside or silverside. Other cuts can be used, but are not as high in quality. Biltong can also be made from:
- Chicken, simply referred to as ‘chicken biltong.
- Fish in this case, known as bokkoms (shark biltong can also be found in South Africa).
- Sirloin such as kudu and springbok
- Ostrich Meat – (High in Protein)
Loved and craved by South Africans world wide as their go to daily snack, having been teethed and brought up on this most healthy protein product, the question on every dogs lips was surely, when will there be a dog friendly product for the most averous of meat eaters…the canine community!
Often compared but how can you tell Beef Biltong from Beef Jerky?
Biltong differs from Jerky in three distinct ways:
- The meat used in biltong can be much thicker; typically biltong meat is cut in strips approx 1″ (25 mm) wide – but can be thicker. Jerky is normally very thin meat.
- The vinegar, when marinating biltong, together with the drying process of the meat , adds texture and an intensity of flavour and aroma . Jerky is traditionally dried with salt but without vinegar.
- Jerky is often smoked; biltong is never smoked.