Dried meats are a staple in many diets around the world. From smoked jerky, the trusty American gas station fare, to South America’s dried llama and alpaca snack Ch’arki, what was historically born out of a lack of refrigeration for meats is now a beloved snack. As any South African will attest, the natural snack food of the rainbow nation is biltong—a dried meat that is cured in open air (without heat) with vinegar—and is never smoked. Looking for a fix in the NYC area, we came across Brooklyn Biltong. Co-founder Ben van den Heever grew up in the capital city of Pretoria where his grandfather, a renowned butcher and hunter, produced some of the city’s most sought-after biltong. “We knew biltong was popular among South Africans in America, but we were driven by the challenge to connect our fellow countrymen with a new food,” van den Heeve says. “It was almost sad to think how much they’re missing out on this versatile, tasty beef snack.”
Biltong is considerably softer and leaner than American style jerky because it is dried in larger pieces then cut. The result is a more steak-like taste that showcases the natural flavor of the meat. Brooklyn Biltong is available in stores around the NYC area as well as online where a four-ounce bag sells for $10.
Image courtesy of Brooklyn Biltong