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South African Food Traditions

Growing up in South Africa, I learnt the principles of traditions. One of them was making biltong. When winter approached my Father would go to our local butcher and strike a deal to buy a hind quarter of a cow. This is the area where silverside and other cuts of meat that my mom liked came from.

He would get the butcher to prepare the meat. We would always go early on a Saturday morning to fetch the meat. My father would reverse into the parking in front of the butchers and open the boot and the staff would load the boot full of meat.

Driving home we had to have the windows open due to the smell of meat in the car.
Once we got home, Mom would process the meat and Dad and I would make biltong with the silverside.

The process was always the same, Get the white plastic bowls and biltong spices out from the cupboard.

We would stand the plastic bowls on the table and lay the meat in each one. It would be my job to get the bottle of cider vinegar and spray the meat to coat all sides.

Dad would then measure the spices and sprinkle them over the biltong, we would then turn the meat over and do the same on the other side.

We would then cover the meat with clingfilm and put it in the fridge for the night.

Sunday morning before the church was hanging time. We used to get up early, take the meat out the fridge and we would go into the garage.

We would insert plastic hooks through the biltong and hang them from the rafters.

It would take about 6 days for the biltong to cure and dry completely. You could judge the process by how much the biltong shrunk, you could also check for mould when the biltong turns white to make sure all was ok.

When the biltong was ready, we would remove all the pieces from the rafters. We would always have a tasting session to test to see if we completed the job successfully.

Once Dad was happy we would take the biltong inside and store it for when the rugby was on.

I make biltong in the same way although the quantity has changed, the process stays the same.
I make much smaller quantities as my drying machine is small and cannot take more than a kilogram of drying at a time.

I buy my spices from Amazon and they are perfect for making a batch of biltong quickly for the weekend when you need it.

My kids love it as I have introduced them to making biltong and they get just as excited as I did back then when it comes to the tasting sessions. 


  1. nice blog. here;s my blog plz look once,

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog I am glad that you loved. Thanks to you that I found you and getting to know about South African food. Loved reading this post.

  3. Ooh Biltong is a new recipe for me. Thanks for sharing.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Thanks for your nice comment on my website! Your blog is really interesting and I'm excited about learning even more about South African food in the future.
    You told me that you love making muffins on weekends. That's awesome!
    Maybe you would like to send me some of your recipes. If I find some that would suit as recipe on my website I will upload it and refer to your blog.
    So, if you are interested just contact me through the contact form on my website or write a mail to

  6. Biltong is a new term for me. Interesting.

    I hope it's as tasty as it sounds. have a nice day.

  7. Sounds great for a snack here in Oxford, Georgia especially for College Football season. I may have to give it a shot and make some myself.

  8. It is nice to learn about a new are of cooking. What a lovely story to go with it!

  9. Great article ...Thanks for your great information, the contents are quite interesting. I will be waiting for your next post.


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