Whiskey-cured smokey biltong recipe
I’ve been making biltong for a few years now. It took me quite a while to get the initial basic recipe right. Knowing how long to soak the meat, when to stop the drying process and the amount of spice to add are all components that need to work together, in order to get great biltong.
Once I had the recipe down to a fine art, and was getting consistently delicious biltong, I experimented and that is when this whiskey-cured biltong was born.
Note: For the below, I use a dehydrator. I’ve tried both a dehydrator and a biltong box and prefer the former. It’s easier to control, faster and the end results are very similar (in my opinion).
- Half a silverside joint (about £25 worth/1.5kg ish) – you can obviously get a smaller piece but adjust the recipe accordingly.
- 100ml Apple vinegar
- 50ml Whiskey
- 30ml liquid smoke (adjust to taste)
- 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
- Freddy Hirsch Kalahari Biltong Spice (Amazon stock)
- Ground black pepper
- Non-metallic roasting dish (flat bottomed)
- Dehydrator (I recommend this one) or biltong box
- Kitchen towel
If you plan on cutting the biltong up into bite-sized pieces then I cut the silverside into ‘steaks’, like you would carve for a roast, about an inch thick. Then cut those in half so that you have 2 strips which you can easily slice once dried.
If you plan on leaving the biltong as larger pieces to chew, then cut along the grain. This makes it easier to tear off and avoid broken teeth.
Mix the vinegar, whiskey, liquid smoke and Worcester sauce in a bowl.
Coat the strips of silverside in the liquid mixture thoroughly, and let drip for a few seconds to get rid of excess.
Roll the silverside in the spice until covered and then place it in a large flat-bottomed container (I use a large roasting dish).
Once you have a complete layer of meat in the roasting dish, grind over some black pepper, before starting another layer placed in the opposite direction. Repeat until all the meat is in the dish.
Cover with cling film tightly and place in the fridge for 12-18 hours. If you can, turn over the dish every few hours to ensure the top layers are soaked in the liquid evenly, the clingfilm should stop any leaks.
Take the meat out of the fridge, remove each bit of silverside and dab with a kitchen towel to reduce moisture.
Lightly sprinkle again with the spice.
Place in dehydrator at 35 degrees for 36 – 72 hours (it will take longer if hung in a biltong box), depending on how ‘wet’ you like your biltong. I prefer it dried for 48 hours, there’s still some pink but pretty dry.
Cut into your preferred slice thickness with a sharp knife or biltong cutter.
- Once sliced, Biltong freezes very well and takes no time at all to thaw.
- Feel free to add crushed toasted coriander seeds
- Add dried chilli flakes (chipotle flakes are awesome in this) to the spice mix to heat up the recipe
- If you don’t get uniform-sized slices of silverside at the start, don’t worry, it just means that you’ll have a variety of dryness in the finished biltong (just make sure it’s not raw).
- Experiment with the whiskey. Irish and Speyside work well, as does the more smokey Islay. Bourbon is OK, but you need a CS in my opinion.