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.
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 2Ĺ cm thick pieces. You must cut them thick because they shrink dramatically from the moisture loss. Remove visible sinew. You can cut thin if thatís 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 itís 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 photoís to make you hungry. Dammit, now Iím hungry.