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Thread: Biltong Machine

  1. #1
    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    Biltong Machine

    I love Biltong more than my wife.......does

    This is my biltong machine I made some years back which stands in my office. When I receive clients I often give them a piece, it makes them happy.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I bought an old Akai hi fi/record player at a second hand store and removed the units. I cut out two vents at the back, covering the wholes with car speaker covers. I installed 2 microwave vans and two light connectors at the bottom. I also installed a small light just below the vans. I made a rack at the top that slides in and out so you can hang the biltong. The whole inside is painted black, double coat. I have a whole array of switches at the back of the machine which switch on and off each individual electrical component. I even have a sensor on the door that switches off the vans when you open it. The small light just below the vans can be set to come on when the door opens or I can set it to stay on.

    I mostly use the light fittings at the bottom when I make biltong in the summer to control humidity, and/or speed up the drying process.

    With my machine I make big pieces, thin chilly bites, dry wors and even dried fruit. The machine dries the biltong quickly, but you can set it on one van with the lights off if you prefer to dry it over a longer period. I am getting hungry writing this.

    I use C grade, the fat is yellow and flavourful, as opposed to A grade which has white fat with little flavour. I also prefer natural fed beef (grass fed). They mission around eating natural grasses which produces superior meat. Grain fed beef is bland compared to grass fed beef. You can use Topside, Silverside or Rump. I prefer Topside and Rump because it has more fat.

    I do make my own spice on the odd occasion, however I usually purchase my spice from EG Meat Supply in Kokstad. They mix it in the shop and it is truly the best. I do add a bit of brown sugar though. Other good spice mixes to get is Crown and Freddy Hurst. I also add a bit of brown sugar to these mixes.

    I cut the meat into 2½ cm thick pieces. You must cut them thick because they shrink dramatically from the moisture loss. Remove visible sinew. You can cut thin if that’s how you like it. I sprinkle the spice on then I place the pieces in a big dish. I pour brown vinegar into the dish and mix it all up, turning the pieces as often as possible. Then I leave the dish over night (6hours minimum) If it’s a sunny day I will often hang them in the sun for a few hours before I put them in the machine. In my machine the pieces are ready between 3-6 days, depending how I set up the fans and lights. Thin pieces for chilli bites only take 2 days.

    I should be making another batch soon and I will post the photo’s to make you hungry. Dammit, now I’m hungry.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

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    Platinum Member sterne.law@gmail.com's Avatar
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    Nice machine.
    Correct on C grade, it is the better grade for biltong.
    What temperature control have you got?


    Why not try a smoker next, Ill drop you some droe wors and cabonnossi recipes in exchange for a monthly delivery.
    Anthony Sterne

    www.acumenholdings.co.za
    DISCLAIMER The above is merely a comment in discussion form and an open public arena. It does not constitute a legal opinion or professional advice in any manner or form.

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    tec0 (13-Jan-14)

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    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    I don’t have temp control, don’t think I need it, but what do you have in mind regarding temp control?

    My mate smokes trout...good stuff. Perhaps I should try a smoker next.

    Deal, drop me some dry wors and cabonnossie recipes and I will give you some biltong.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

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    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    Wow I love making biltong and go to meat world near me they cut the Silverside perfectly so you just spice up and soak in Vinegar and worcester sauce overnight.
    I got the mellerware machine as a gift a year ago. I will ask about c grade next time.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    I have just got back from 2 big butcheries in town and they don’t sell C grade at all.... What the F? I always struggle to get C grade in PMB. The blockmen told me I will have to go to the dark sections to get it, I don’t mind doing that but those butcheries are dodge. In Kokstad, Matat or almost any small town your butcher will always keep C grade. I usually get my cousin to drop meat off for me whenever he travels here.

    Does anybody know where I can get C grade in or near PMB?
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    I have been making biltong for a good long time now. My original dryer was stolen but I got one "ready made" from Builder's Warehouse for about R300... Two things you must know “it is a bitch to assemble” and take extra care to use a low watt light-bulb otherwise it will melt... Also note it is flimsy but it works.

    C grade is the only way to make proper biltong and for those of you that don't know PLEASE don't put your biltong in the freezer it is not good....
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    Platinum Member pmbguy's Avatar
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    I agree, one should never freeze biltong.

    Biltong must also breathe, vacuum sealed biltong tastes shitty.
    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change. – Charles Darwin

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    Diamond Member tec0's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pmbguy View Post
    I agree, one should never freeze biltong.

    Biltong must also breathe, vacuum sealed biltong tastes shitty.
    So true, if you transport biltong use a brown paper bag "only" nothing else will do...
    peace is a state of mind
    Disclaimer: everything written by me can be considered as fictional.

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    All this talk of biltong got me thinking, so I am busy making a biltong machine.

    I have spoken to a few of the "experts" well people who already make their own biltong. One person indicated that he only uses a fan to extract moisture but no lamp, others have indicated that they don't use a fan but rather use the light to generate heat which in turn pulls in air and releases it out a vent at the top.

    So do I need a light and fan or both?

    What I have done with my experimental unit...I have 3 x lampholders each with a 15 watt lamp (which can be upgraded to 40 - 60 - or 100 watt) and 4 switches one for each lampholder and 1 for the fan, so I have choices.

    what is the secret to the best biltong a little heat and a lot of airflow or a little heat and little airflow or just airflow?

    Another question...do you think it would make a difference if the dryer is made of wood or glass or metal. With some things it just taste better with a specific property like the difference between a gas braai and a good old wood braai.

    I have absolutely no idea about biltong dryers so any advice is good.

  11. #10
    Moderator IanF's Avatar
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    I made some biltong in December. My bulb had blown after 3 days it was still wet just the fan bought another 15 watt bulb and that did the trick. But it was very wet then. I must try no bulb in winter when we are dry.
    My box is perspex and plastic so no idea about the wood.
    Only stress when you can change the outcome!

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