What better way to celebrate South Africa's rich heritage than with its most popular national snack - Biltong. This dried meat product is actually rather simple to make at home and you need minimal equipment if you are just starting. You can definitely invest in some tools (such as a Biltong Box) if you decide to start making it regularly, but I made a small batch of the basic Biltong with items I had lying around the kitchen. Other than the beef of course, you'll need coriander seed, malt vinegar and something to hang your Biltong from to dry. Having a small fan or a room with a ceiling fan would be pretty helpful for this step. When your Biltong is done, slice it thin across the grain and enjoy! The taste is much nicer than beef jerky (in my opinion) so it surely won't last long before it's gone. If you want to store it longer than a few days
1) Begin by cutting the beef into flat strips about 2 cm thick along the grain. It is important to cut along the grain for these strips so that the meat won't rip when you hang it, and so that you can cut thinly against the grain when you eat it.
2) Next toast the coriander seeds whole in a dry pan until aromatic, and coarsely grind them in a mortar and pestle.
3) Place your meat into a plastic container (such as a food storage container with a lid) pour in the vinegar and coat all the pieces of the meat evenly. You want to make sure you coat every last bit of meat as this step will ensure that no bacteria or other harmful stuff can grow on your drying meat.
4) Mix all the remaining ingredients evenly and sprinkle into the container over all sides of all the pieces of meat. Pat down the spice mix as evenly as you can on all sides of the meat so that as much of it as possible is on the sides of the meat and not the bottom of the container.
5) Cover the container and set into the fridge for at least 12 hours (I left mine in for 16 and it was fine). But remember, the longer you leave it in the fridge in the cure, the saltier it will get.
6) Remove from the plastic container and pat dry with kitchen paper while trying to leave as much of the spices sticking to the side of the meat as possible.
7) Hang the meat on very thoroughly cleaned plastic or stainless steel hooks somewhere where there is steady airflow. (I ended up placing the meat on a table in a room with a ceiling fan and left the fan on for the whole drying process). Important: You do not want there to be a strong wind blowing across the meat as this will make the outside dry too fast and form a crust which will prevent the inside from drying properly. You just want the air to be moving around the meat slowly but constantly.
8) Feel the meat every now and then (only after washing your hands thoroughly with soap) and when the meat is completely hard it is ready. The thinner strips that I cut that were about as thick as a pencil when dried took about 3 days, and the thickest one (pictured in the photo) took about 8 days.
9) Note: If at any stage in the process you notice mold or a bad smell emanating from the meat, just discard it. You may read about ways to remove it on other sites but I say don't risk it. It should smell like raw beef in the beginning, then like coriander after the outside is dried. If you follow the instructions well and take good care to have constant airflow you shouldn't run into this issue anyway.