Biltong - A Dried Meat That Originated in South Africa
Long story short, Biltong originated in South Africa by the Dutch settlers who arrived in South Africa in the 17th century brought recipes for dried meat from Europe. Being a new colony, this was a way of preserving the meat as ice boxes had not been invented and of course refrigeration came years later and the need to store meat at the time was pressing. The climate was hot, hunting brought home a large mass of meat which had to be preserved in a short space of time.
When the Voortrekkers migrated from the Cape Colony north-eastward, the raw meat was preserved and fully cured from decay and insects with salt and spices, a recipe that has evolved as we know it today.
With the migration of South Africans and Zimbabweans to all corners of the world, biltong has become popular, as a result, in the States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
But let’s get back to South Africa and Zimbabwe and the people there who enjoy it so for every occasion will find an excuse to bring it out. Go to any party, whether a “braai vleis”, a birthday celebration, sundowners or just ‘popping in to see a mate”, biltong is brought out, chopped into slices and offered as a snack.
One of the best times to chew on a stick of biltong is sitting on a large boat with good friends on Lake Kariba (in Zimbabwe) or the Vaal Damn (in South Africa) at the end of a day of hot sun and fishing, freshly showered and slightly stinging from sunburn to watch a typically amazing sunset with a cold beer or brandy and coke or gin and tonic or whiskey and soda and relate the day’s event, chuckling at the amusing goings on that occurred amongst all.Continued on the next page