The Word Biltong “Biltong” derives from Dutch words “Bil” meaning buttock and “Tong” meaning strip. This spiced, air-dried snack has sustained the People of Southern Africa since the early days of the Voortrekkers who dried meat during their trek up the African continent. Today Biltong is considered a delicacy and a great, low carbohydrate snack, which is made and consumed around the world.

Previously considered bizarre to eat raw, dried meat, today Biltong is considered a delicacy and a great, low carbohydrate snack, which is made and consumed around the world.

The History of Biltong

Throughout history, humankind has needed to preserve meat. Sailors use to pickle meat in vinegar for the long months they were at sea. The American pioneers use to smoke their meat on route to conquering the West.

In Africa, tribesmen would place strips of meat under the saddles of their horses. The rubbing would tenderize the meat and the salt in the sweat of the animal would preserve it. This method was the origin of the biltong we know today.

The Voortrekkers (“first movers”) – this was the name given to the farmers who in the years from 1835 1840 left the Cape Colony in a movement to the South African interior called the Groot Trek (Great Trek) – wanted to be independent of British rule, speak their own language and govern their own people. The Voortrekkers needed to cure meat for the first leg of their journey, which was over semi-desert and not abundant in game.

The Voortrekkers needed to cure meat for the first leg of their journey, which was over semi-desert and not abundant in game. For this purpose, they made the first biltong using a combination of the salt curing method used by the natives and the pickling method used by the sailors who stopped at the Cape Colony.The recipe developed to incorporate further spices (these were in abundance in the Cape Colony as it was the halfway stop for seafaring merchants moving spices from the East to Europe). The spicing soon evolved into a delicate blend of vinegar, salt, sugar, coriander and many other spices. The Voortrekkers perfected these blends over time and have handed down the best recipes for generations.

The recipe developed to incorporate further spices (these were in abundance in the Cape Colony as it was the halfway stop for seafaring merchants moving spices from the East to Europe). The spicing soon evolved into a delicate blend of vinegar, salt, sugar, coriander and many other spices. The Voortrekkers perfected these blends over time and have handed down the best recipes for generations. Today, due to South Africans relocating to new countries and bringing with them the biltong tradition, biltong has become a very popular snack all over the world.

Today, due to South Africans relocating to new countries and bringing with them the biltong tradition, biltong has become a very popular snack all over the world.