South African Biltong and Droewors – BBQ/braai snacks you will love!
We love the atmosphere of a braai, and we know you do to! Whatever you use Rooikrans, Kameeldoring or Sekelbos BBQ wood, the fire is going! Family and friends are getting together and it’s time to kick off the meat feast with a couple of BBQ snacks. You say South African biltong and Droewors, we say BBQlicious! 😊
Biltong and Droewors are listed as the top 1 South African snacks to try by the BBC goodfood.
Biltong is a most popular South African meaty snack. Much more than just a snack in South Africa, it is an institution, a bit like Fish and Chips or the Sunday Roast over here.
What does Biltong mean and what is it?
The word biltong comes from the Dutch ‘bil’ meaning ‘rump/buttock’ and ‘tong’ referring to ‘strip/tongue’’. Biltong essentially means dried cured meat strips. The word is originally from the language of Afrikaner people and this snack originated in Southern African countries (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Botswana, and Zambia).
When the Dutch settlers arrived in South Africa, they needed to preserve the meat as the climate was extremely hot. They hung the meat to dry and found out that it had become hard on the outside, and full of flavour on the inside. Biltong was born!
South African biltong is often described as a delicacy. It is a form of cured meat, dried in strips. Though beef biltong is the most common one, biltong can be made of a variety of meat including game meat: kudu, ostrich, springbok, wildebeest, even chicken. The chosen meat is cut into long pieces, flavoured with spices, and dried.
How different is biltong from beef Jerky?
Cured meat is known all over the word – like beef jerky – so what is so special about South African biltong?
#1 difference – Method of production
Jerky meat is sliced into strips, then cooked and dried. The meat gets tough, that is why often the pieces of meat are marinated (sweet-salty mixture) to bring out the flavour and the tenderness.
Biltong meat is dried as a whole piece; after curing, it is all in the air-drying (no cooking step involved). Finally, it is sliced (thin or thick).
Julia Anastasopoulos did a great video, back a few years ago, on how to make biltong, as part of her SuzelleDIY web series. Have a look here 😊
#2 difference – The texture
Jerky is sliced very thinly when the meat is raw. So, the entire surface of the jerky is dried resulting in a chewy texture that jerky fans love.
When it comes to Biltong, the meat is dried as a whole piece, and then sliced to be eaten. Depending on personal preferences, you have the choice between cutting off thick chunks or thin slices. As you can see with the drying process, most of the surface area has not been exposed to air. So, biltong has a much more delicate texture than jerky.
#3 difference – Ingredients and taste
The special blend of spices gives Biltong its unique taste: vinegar, salt, black pepper, ground coriander; some great flavours here that make it delicious! On the other hand, jerky does not use typically vinegar and salt. Flavouring wise, jerky usually contains quite a lot of sugar to give it its BBQ style flavours.
You say healthy snack – we say biltong all along 😊
Biltong is an ideal snack; it is healthy, low in fat and sugar, rich in protein. We found this article written by Natasha Colyer very interesting – ’10 Health Benefits of Biltong You Might Not Know’ .
2. Droewors – South African dried sausage
While Biltong is cut into thin slices, droewors are thin round sausages traditionally prepared with beef and the same blend of South African spices.
Droëwors also originated with the Dutch settlers. The word comes from ‘droe’ – dry and ‘wors’ which means sausage. These thin sticks dry a lot quicker than biltong in warm and dry conditions. It has also a distinct ‘snap’ to it when bent showing it’s unique texture.
Like South African biltong, droëwors is a healthy snack, full of protein.
Are you a biltong or a droewors fan? Or both 😊?
Which one is your favourite? Which one do you enjoy around a braai? Leave us a comment and let us know.
Our 5 year old daughter love biltong! Even our 9 months old baby loves chewing it 😊.
We really enjoy Ben’s biltong (and it doesn’t last long in our household 😊). There is a flavour for everyone: chili, garlic, Jamaican jerk, chutney. We recommend the snapstick.
Ben’s got the biltong & droewors! We’ve got the wood to get your braai going, Kameeldoring, Rooikrans and Sekelbos braai wood – you can shop here