If you’ve been out and about in your supermarket over the last few years, you may have noticed the increase in interest in jerky. Especially, if you peruse the alcohol isle, you’ll be used to the sight of packs of beef jerky.
Dried, salted and flavoured cured meat is a great companion to any drink, be it beer or wines.
However, recently, another contender has appeared on the market, and it’s set to jostle jerky off the hot spot when it comes to meat snacks.
Today we’ll look at biltong and its impact in the food and drink scene.
What Is Biltong
Biltong is a dried, cured meat originating from South Africa. Traditionally made from beef or ostrich, biltong has been a staple in South Africa for generations.
Depending on where you purchase your biltong, you may find that it has been made from venison or a variety of other wild game. As its popularity spreads the varieties have begun to increase.
A Healthy Alternative
Biltong enters into a market segment that is often considered to be quite an unhealthy one.
Often dominated by chips, crisps and other deep fried and heavily salted offerings, the snack food industry does itself no favours with ingredients lists that make your eyes water.
Biltong, on the other hand, avoids all of this.
Traditionally produced by drying meats with a minimum of ingredients, biltong fits in with several healthy diet trends at the moment - has become popular among the ketogenic community.
Low in fat, carbohydrates and without any preservatives, many are extolling the health benefits of this tasty snack. Biltong is a great source of vitamins and minerals, and is an especially rich source of iron.
What's The Difference?
So what is the difference between biltong and the more usual jerky?
Well jerky is usually cooked meat. The cooking and drying process is very often a process that allows producers to add a whole raft of ingredients make make its health profile less than satisfactory.
Jerky is usually cooked and often smoked and is usually soaked in a curing salt mixture that often contains added sugar.
Biltong on the other hand, is cured, often with a salt and vinegar mix and then air dried. This process, and the lack of extra ingredients means that it does have a very different flavour and is often a healthier option.
Whichever snack you choose, know that both jerky and biltong are likely to be quite salty.
If you are following a low sodium diet, then you should eat jerky and biltong in moderation.
If you are concerned about nitrites in your food, then any form of cured meat could be a source that you should monitor carefully.
Many researchers suggest that increased sodium intake can have a detrimental effect on your heart health and stroke risk, so you should take this into account before eating too much of either of these cured meats.
Both jerky and biltong are traditional cured meats, each with a particular flavour profile.
Produced with similar methods, biltong differs from jerky by being completely uncooked, air dried meat.
If you get a chance to try biltong, give it a go.