Wednesday, September 21, 2011 Home

Biltong

We’ve seen signs advertising biltong everywhere and even bought a little during one of our mega C-Store stops. (We tried it once, mind you.) When our tour guide headed into what appeared to be a sporting goods store with a sign out front announcing “biltong!” we followed him in out of curiosity.

Think sporting goods store crossed with a budget gas station convenience store (C-store) and specialty meat market (the kind of place that will butcher your deer for you in northern Minnesota). But, when you first walk in the door, it is the smell of meat that you notice first. It hits you in the face.

That’s because the meat is still drying. The rack of biltong is slowly turning, a couple nearby fans are positioned to blow on it. Oh sure, there is finished biltong ready for sale in the display case, but I would guess there is always a new batch drying. I would also guess you can get it right off the drying rack if you want.

Biltong is one of the national cuisines of South Africa. It’s similar to American jerky, but it’s a lot moister. Whether that extra moistness is an improvement or not is a matter of personal preference, but generally it was what I would want with me if I were heading off into the desert for a few weeks and needed provisions that could take the heat. Otherwise, it’s probably not going to be on my list.

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