Biltong and beef jerky are nutrient-dense dried meat snacks high in protein and ideal for on-the-go snacking. But that’s where the similarities end.
Biltong is sliced after being cured in vinegar and air-dried whole. Beef jerky is made by slicing beef, marinating it with spices and seasonings, and then cooking it overheating. Biltong is softer, saltier, and thinner than beef jerky, which is drier, smokier, and chewier due to the difference in processing.
For our readers, we’ve put together a comprehensive overview of the two meat snacks.
Both biltong and beef jerky have been around for millennia. Biltong was found in South Africa by Dutch immigrants in the 17th century, who cured their meat with salt, vinegar, and natural spices before hanging it to dry. They needed a reliable food source for their difficult, long-distance excursions over a bright new frontier, and Biltong provided it. Its mythology has risen as more people begin to realize it as the culinary crown jewel. It is unbelievably flavorful, tender, and healthful.
Beef jerky is thought to have originated with the Quechua, an ancient Inca tribe who invented the term ‘ch’arki’ (which has since evolved into ‘jerky’). It translates to “dry flesh.” Jerky is thought to have been prepared by the Quechua as early as the 1500s. When the first Europeans arrived in the New World, they realized that this sturdy, healthy new food source was ideal for travel, and it quickly became the go-to snack, eventually becoming a staple in the United States.
What Ingredients Are Used?
Although beef is mostly used in both Biltong and jerky, biltong beef is generally substantially thicker due to the cut of the flesh and the longer drying time. Meat is usually chopped into one-inch wide strips – sometimes thicker – whereas jerky is usually quite thin.
Biltong is cured using vinegar, salt, and spices, which are combined with the drying process. Jerky is dried as well but without vinegar and salt.
Texture and Taste
Biltong is air-dried organically and slowly for up to a week, resulting in a more tender and juicy product than beef jerky. Biltong can be made with either lean or fatty beef, and the product might be soft or hard, depending on personal choice and how long it has been drying. Fatty meat has a lot more flavor than lean meat.
Jerky is typically heated or smoked, resulting in a dry, lean, and chewy texture. Beef jerky can be produced using whole or minced meat, which has an impact on the texture.
Biltong has a texture that is described as a cross between beef jerky and Italian prosciutto.
The manufacturing procedure
Heat is the fundamental difference between the two processes.
Jerky is sliced very thin and cooked on a rack at a low temperature to dehydrate and cook the meat slowly.
On the other hand, Biltong is cured and marinated for 24 hours before being hung on hooks to dry for up to a week. Before slicing to the required size, it is left in thicker pieces and dries out slowly.
While both biltong and beef jerky are absolutely wonderful, game-changing meat treats that make the world a better place just by existing, and one truly outshines the other in terms of health advantages. When compared to other meats, beef has more zinc, iron, B12, B6, and selenium than the nearest competitor. It’s some really potent stuff.
Both biltong and beef jerky are high in protein (biltong even more so), but which one gives you the upper hand when it comes to your health? Rather than being cooked or dehydrated, biltong’s air-dried curing process uses no heat (thus preserving all of the meat’s minerals, vitamins, proteins, and all nine essential amino acids) and locks in almost all of the meat’s minerals, vitamins, proteins, and all nine essential amino acids (for fat burning, muscle growth, reduced mental fatigue, and much more).
Biltong is particularly great for Keto, Paleo, and Whole30 diets because it has no sugar. Biltong is leaner since it doesn’t use artificial flavors and instead uses all-natural components. The biltong is healthiest choice by a country mile, containing over half of your daily protein needs in a single meal.
Final Words: Is Biltong a healthier alternative to beef jerky?
When it comes to nutritional value, Biltong is fairly similar to beef jerky, and both are nutrient-dense, low-calorie, high-protein, and sodium-dense foods.
Some jerky products use a lot of sugar in their marinade, but Biltong does not. This indicates that Biltong is a healthier choice. When comparing sugar-free beef jerky to Biltong, however, the two are very comparable.