Introduction: Biltong Dryer (similar to Jerky)

For my instructable I made a traditional South African biltong dryer. Biltong is dried meat that is preserved through salt and vinegar and is seasoned with coriander, pepper and salt. It is slowly dried using the power of air circulation and heat.


The supplies your going to need for this project are:

Wood dowels

Screen mesh

1" by 1" wood planks

2 hinges

2 latches


1/2" Plywood

Variety of drill bits

Cordless drill

Wood glue


Rubber sealer

Silicone and/or hot glue

Light bulb fixture

Light bulb

Computer fan

Skil saw




1" screws

Safety glasses

90 degrees straight edge ruler

Circular Drill bit that matches the size of your light fixture




Step 1: Biltong Dryer

For the first step you want to cut out your wood pieces to make the size box that you want. I made mine 18 x18x24.

This holds 2 levels of meat. You start by cutting out 3 18" x 24" rectangles from the plywood. Now cut 4 pieces from the 1"x1" plank. Your goal with these 4 pieces is to create a perimeter around 1 rectangle. 2 will be 18" long and 2 will be 22" long. Now we want to screw them in with our 1" screws, but before we do that we want to drill the wholes with a drill bit that is slightly smaller than the center of the screw. Then we want to make counter sink wholes that will let the screw be flat with the surface of the wood.

Step 2:

This will be very similar to the first step. You will want to screw your 2 18" by 24" rectangle plywood pieces to the 1" by 1" wood planks. Then you will want to cut out 6 more wood planks. I did 4 more 18" wood planks and 2 22" wood planks. Then you would want to drill those in. Next you would cut out 2 16" 1" by 1" planks. Now you will want to put those pieces in the open space so that there is a square at the bottom and the top of the box you created and drill in. Next you would want to use the box you created and trace it to make a bottom square and a top square. This will ensure that any deformities will be traced so that there will still be a tight seal on the box. Now you want to cut out the door and for the same reasons as for the top and bottom pieces you need to trace out the door and then cut it DON'T SCREW IN.

Step 3:

For this next part you are going to sand down the door and the surface the door is going to be put on. Your aim is to flatten down the surface and remove any protruding edges. Next you're going to want to take your hinges and find an area that looks comfortable for them to be placed and trace the hinges onto the surface of the box. Next your going to take a chisel and a hammer and tap the chisel around the traced edge to as deep as you think the hinge will sit well. Next you are going to want to chisel at a diagonal angle so that you can pull pieces of wood off the surface. We used a grinder, but you could find other ways to make it flat, we used a grinder to flatten the wood from the area we chiseled the wood from. Next you need to line up the door with where the hinges are placed and drill wholes for the hinges. Then you want to get small 1"x1" wood planks and make them just a little bit bigger than your hinge. You will drill those in so the hinge has something better to hold on to. Next you will screw everything in.

Step 4:

Now you would want to cut a 1"x1" wood plank to 24" and drill it into the door. Next you would want to line up the latches with the hinges and you will want to screw in half of the latch onto the wood plank and the other half onto the plywood. Next you would want to take a handle and screw it onto the 24" woodplank.

Step 5:

For this step you want to trace out your computer fan onto the bottom corner on one of the sides. Next you need to take a jigsaw and cut the hole out so that the computer fan can be screwed onto the plywood and blow air out of the box. Next you're gonna sand out the hole you made with a piece of sand paper. Next you're going to take your circular drill bit and drill out 4 holes, 3 on top and 1 on a bottom corner. Next the 3 holes on top and the computer fan hole should have a screen mash attach so that only air can get through and you will attach this with either silicone or hot glue.

Step 6:

For this step you are going to create holders for the dowels and cut the dowels. To create the dowel holders you will need to draw out on an unused piece of plywood two inch rectangles that are as long as your box goes inwards. Next you will evenly space out 5 drill holes for each dowel. Then you will cut the rectangle through the middle and then you have 4 holders. Now you begin to sand these holders and screw them inside the box. You will put one at the top of the box and one towards the middle. Next you will measure out the space from one end of the box to the other so you know how long you need to cut the dowels. Then hang them onto the dowel holder.

Step 7:

This step we're adding the small parts that will make our biltong box function successfully. First I added furniture pegs on the bottom of the biltong box. Then I added the rubber/foam liner to create an airtight seal for when the door closes. Now I'm going to add my light bulb fixture and computer fan. The light bulb fixture should just fit in tightly to the bottom hole in the corner of the biltong box. And you can screw in the computer fan over on the outside of the biltong box so that air is blowing out of the biltong box.

Step 8:

Find your biltong recipe online. Prepare your meat, hang the meat. It can take between 2 to 5 days to dry depending on the meat's thickness. We cut our meat about 1/2 an inch thick and it took the biltong 2 full days to dry. Now enjoy your biltong. This is a great and tasty way to preserve meat.

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