Biltong vs Jerky
The age-old argument between North America and South Africa.

The age-old argument between North America and South Africa. I guess this is something that comes down to personal taste but in my experience of having the opportunity to try both these products I must say it’s Biltong for me.

Having said all that, Biltong and jerky are both dried meat products but that’s where the comparison stops, infact, both processes are very different and shouldn’t actually be compared. Let’s take a deeper look into the process of making each product and list the difference and why we should never compare the two.


Biltong is an air dried product that’s cured with specific spices, in order for it to be classified as Biltong there needs to be some level of roasted coriander seeds in there. I myself at Sampsons Biltong use roasted coriander seeds in all the flavors, not just the traditional one.

Biltong meat is usually from a beef cut of silverside or topside, generally I prefer the silverside as it usually has a nice piece of fat on it, this meat gets cleaned and cut into big steak looking sizes. It’s then put into a brine of vinegar and spice which is then left for 24 hours in a refrigerator so the spice can be absorbed into the meat to ensure great flavor.  The spice blend for traditional Biltong is roasted coriander seeds that are crushed with black pepper and salt. Once the meat has been marinating for about 24 hours it is then hung on hooks inside a Biltong dryer. A Biltong dryer consists of a big enclosed box with a fan that pulls air out and has air inputs on the sides with mesh over it to ensure no bugs like flies get in. There is also a heating element in the dryer that can regulate the temperature to about 25° Celsius. This is the ambient temperature you want to keep it at. Once the meat has dried (cured) for about 5 to 7 days (depending on your dryer and how wet you like it) you can take the Biltong put and have it ready to consume. There are many different ways to make Biltong this is just my way. I find this to be the best for Sampsons Biltong.


Just like Biltong there are many ways to make jerky, I myself have never made jerky however I have been lucky enough to be able to travel and see the product being made and tasted it. It’s quite different to Biltong, for me it almost had a pepperoni taste, I really enjoyed what I had and I could tell because just like Biltong, once you start you can’t stop. Americans like to throw a whole bunch of different flavours into it but we will look at the traditional jerky recipe. Please note I am finding these recipes online and are not my own.

Jerky has a lot of different spices and even sauces that get added to it, I tried finding the most traditional way of doing it and here’s what I got: lean boneless meat, soy sauce, worcestershire sauce, onion powder, pepper, garlic powder, and liquid smoke.

All of this gets mixed together and either the meat sits (12 hours) or gets dunked and then put into a dehumidifier or even gets smoked (for 2 to 3 days). Some use liquid smoke instead of actually smoking it. When searching and going on forums to find the most traditional jerky recipe, this is the one that came up most.


Next time someone says Jerky is better than Biltong just remember that they are not that comparable and they both have their own thing going on.

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