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Biltong

Discussion in 'Lovely Grub' started by Nice65, May 11, 2018.

  1. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    With a nod to the jerky thread, I’ve loaded the biltong box. Silverside or topside are the best cuts for this. Trim most fat and ALL muscle sheath.

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    Vinegar wash for a half hour, kills surface bugs. Use a long knife to slice the meat into 1cm or 2cm strips. Do this along the grain of the meat so the dried product is cut across it and is tender to eat. The reason for a long knife is to prevent any hacking or sawing, this creates ragged flaps in the meat that can store nasty bacteria. So choose a very sharp carving knife and sweep through in as few cuts as you can.

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    Drain off the vinegar, pat the meat dry, apply your secret recipe. The mix needs to be around 40% salt. Don’t apply it too heavily because the meat shrinks loads and concentrates the rub.

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    For this batch, here is my recipe. Soaked in Worcester sauce for an hour. Wiped. Smoked garlic granules, Chipotle chilli flakes, ground sweet pimento, 40% Maldon sea salt. Either chuck the lot in a bag and shake, or do the rub thing. If it goes in a bag, wipe some off after, it’ll be too salty. Few other things added, but no Coriander this time, a first for me as it’s so much a part of biltong. We’ll see. :)

    Into the box. 80w lightbulb, 240v computer fan, old kitchen cupboard, it’s really a very simple set up that can even be done in the big plastic storage boxes sold cheaply.

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    Back to you in 3-5 days. :)
     
  2. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Thank you very much for your illustrated description. Looks good enough to eat!
    I can see that you took particular care to cut all the meat to an even thickness.
    I like the repurpose of the kitchen cupboard. One more rescue from the river of trash.

    If you stuck a thermometer in there at meat level, what temperature would you see?
    What do you find for drippings over a few days?
     
  3. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    Temp hovers around 23 degrees in English Old Money language. Drippings are lots, I usually line the bottom with old newspaper, but haven’t bothered. The bulb is protected with a bit of ply so no worries about anything getting hot. The meat can lose 4/5ths of its weight over the next few days, most in evaporation, but drippage is big to start with, the salt draws it from the meat. Though it doesn’t look like it from the pics, the box gets a good scrub with hydrogen peroxide once in a while. A far better cleaner than chlorine, and no stink, just oxygen bubbles :)

    It will certainly be good to eat in about 3 days, maybe 4 or 5. 5 days makes for quite a dry and hard biltong, but it keeps for weeks and is excellent camp food, though you’ll need a good beer with it ;). 3 day biltong is a bit softer, nicer to chew on.

    I prefer this method over a dehydrator, it’s slower and draws the moisture more gently from the meat. The thickness means I have a stable product throughout, I’d say in Imperial, about half to inch type thickness, it’s not too scientific. Once dried, I vac pack the slices and keep them refrigerated. I’ll do some more pics so you’ll see just how much shrinkage there is. And to rub you because you live too far away for me to post a chunk :thumbsdown::tongue:
     
    #3 Nice65, May 12, 2018
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  4. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Thanks for the details. 23C is a really cold cure. Keep us posted. We don't get any experience here with biltong,
    our First Nations people have been smoking and drying meaty things for 10,000+ years so we just follow along.

    I use all mince/burger for my little jerky-making efforts. 80% water?. I can believe that. I break it into 4" pieces and freeze it. By then, it can't be 1/8" thick.
    What I discovered was that the freezing really sucks a lot of water out >> ice crystals, which dries it even more.

    A smoke house with 100+ salmon is quite a sight. AND, the fillet shoulders are every bit as thick as your biltong.
    Spring Salmon get almost as far as my place and they are still 30-50 pounds apiece.
    Most salmon runs up the rivers happen in late summer so it's cold by the time the smoke curing is done, it's almost winter.
    I suppose that people just leave everything hanging for the winter in the smoke house. To you and I, it looks like a 1-car garage in a past life.

    The deadly treat is salmon chunked up the size of golf balls.
    Then those are soaked in a brown sugar & maple syrup goop.
    Then they are alder wood smoked for several cold days.
    Two of those and I'm satiated for weeks.
     
  5. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    The smoked salmon chunks sound really good. I’ll keep the thread updated with pics of the finished product, nice knives and slices etc :)

    I’ll get a bit out after 3 days and see how it is, should be chewy and still red in the middle. It doesn’t keep well at this stage, but is a good eat. It’s really just air dried meat, if you wanted to make it just use a similar system to mine. Very low heat, very casual air draw, I’m using a £12 ebay 240v computer fan and an 80w bulb. Easy. Oh, and mesh over any air intakes, steel mesh. No flies, no rodents. ;)

    My garage smells just yummy with chilli and garlic fumes just now, I could hibernate in there for a few days and wake to biltong. The temp here has just dropped again after a couple of the sunny, warm days we casually refer to as summer.
     
    #5 Nice65, May 12, 2018
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
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  6. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Salmon Candy is a terrible thing to resist.
    My smoker BBQ runs altogether too hot for this stuff.
    I'd crack the lid but at the same time, I don't want to lose the smoke for at least 45 minutes.
    I'll cook at anything warmer than -10C so even pouring rain is no challenge.

    Most all the broad leaf shrubs and trees have 1" - 1.5" leaves here in the valley bottom.
    A week of warm 20C or better is predicted. It is honestly early summer here at 53N.
    The high altitude melt might begin later this week and we will see the Fraser River up in the bushes.
    All of BC has 150% to 250% of the normal snow pack and that melts in June.
    Downstream from here will be deep water for weeks and they all know it, this time.

    Something about home made food, right?
     
  7. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Rv, as you live in a low humidity area, you can dry your food without a dryer, the oldfashined way!

    Biltong is prepared the way it is ( vinegar, salt, spices, low heat and airflow) because it was adopted from the European way ( salt, cold airflow) to suit the warm climate.

    You can spice the meat ‘biltong style’ but dry it in your airy shed, as long as it is above freezing, and too cold for flies.


    The Norwegian dry cod ( tørr fisk, bacalao) is naturally air dried. No salt, no spices, no acid.
    Cold air ( above freezing) that is dry.
     
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  8. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    The results. And they are yummy results.

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    Eiffel Freshpack Pro. This is a good vac packet, pulls 80 bar rather than the standard 50 bar. Put an empty coke can in a bag, and it crushes it.

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    Now, COMPO TIME!!!

    I started off with nearly 3kg of meat, what is the weight in grams after the process. Closest guess to the gram will have a chunk of salty, meaty goodness sent their way. Open until 6pm tomorrow.
     
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  9. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I am guessing - about 1200 grams if still softish and rubbery.

    (if I should win I do not expect to be sent any, but I would like to choose a British forum member to receive and enjoy it :) )

    Just to add, it looks truly delish! Real food!
     
  10. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I'll say 850g vac-packed at this stage. Pick a Brit foodie here in BcUK for the food.

    Your first picture in #8 has to be the poster shot for an advert.
    I've never seen biltong look so appetizing.

    Besides sliced and eaten, what else would you consider?
    Fine diced into scrambled eggs?
     
  11. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Robson V, all that is needed is the biltong, a couple of pints of a nice Ale, and something watchable on the Tv.......
     
  12. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    I don’t know your limits on knife carry, but the Boker Slack is a little gem of a knife. Inexpensive, very tidy fit and finish. Well worth a look if you like the sodbuster Kneissler type knives, this has a more Navajo blade shape. The lock up on the slipjoint blade is actually quite scary, probably the hardest slippy to close I’ve ever had. Very deft, slim and light, it’s a pleasure to use and carry. Unfortunately it’s a tad over length for legal UK carry. As I live in a very rural area, I’m not sweating it too much and do generally have my “good reason”.

    And it cuts the biltong very nicely :)

    I’m not sure what I’d cook with biltong, a noodle soup that rehydrates it and releases salt, chilli, garlic might work. It must, by its nature, be a moveable feast. On scrambled eggs, probably, it’s quite umami.
     
    #12 Nice65, May 14, 2018
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
  13. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I'd like to shave a piece of that with my favorite 6" cleaver and chill some
    "Swamp Donkey" dark ale from the Three Ranges brewery down the road.
    I'm sure you all know what a Swamp Donkey is. A face only a mother could love.
     
  14. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I had to look up in the Urbandictionary what a Swamp Donkey is - and we do not have those in Europe!

    Our Beer Goggles make sure of that!

    :)

    I am not sure if I would cook or even warm up a such excellent product as your Biltong. Thinly sliced, lots of it, big smile!
     
  15. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Alces alces. Circumpolar in the Boreal Forest Biome = Taiga.
    The best research ever done on Alces reproductive activity is Scandinavian.
    Not bar brats, those are the pigs of lower Third Avenue.

    I wonder if warming either biltong or jerky would bring out any of the curing aromas.
     
  16. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    So, I’ll lend a clue, it is lower than both Janne or RV have guessed.

    C’mon guys, I’ll just send it to Fenna otherwise. :D
     
  17. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    I think Mr Fenna would appreciate it!

    He seems to do some amazing work with his young 'clients'

    I vote for him receiving the meat, no matter who wins!.

    I know that beef is just over 70% water. I figured that you went down to about 30-35%.

    Of course, the lower %, the longer keeping.
     
  18. Nice65

    Nice65 Full Member

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    It loses a lot, hence the price of it. Think 4/5ths weight loss. I ought to consider rubbing my tummy in spicy salt and climbing in for a few days. :)

    John always gets a chunk everytime I make it anyway. We wouldn’t want to overfeed him. :lmao:

    That weirdo Nobby on the Isle of Wight might be a candidate, him and his lads are entertaining, the boys would like it I reckon. :geek::wacky:
     
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  19. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    So you go down to about 10% water? I will try that next time, see how I like it. I usually stop at a higher humidity level.

    There is a Same way where they dry Rudolf until bone dry. Travel food. Unusual these days with snowscooter technology.
    That meat they whittle down and place in the coffee to soften.
     
  20. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    My head said go for 600g but I can't now, I've already voted in the honorable spirit of this thing.
    I've learned a lot in this thread. A new and different foodie thing I should try.

    Isn't quite 4PM here and I'm so hungry I could eat the distal end of a skunk.
    I don't suppose you have skunks? Hit one on the highway.
    3-4 years and the smell mostly goes away.

    Do believe that me and the cat will be having shrimp tonight.
     

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