South African Biltong DIY

Introduction: South African Biltong DIY

About: I love creating and making things. From leather wallets, wooden rings to DIY projects. I also make videos of everything I make, have a look at my YouTube channel.

This is a two part Instructable, this is how to make your own Biltong, click HERE to see my guide on how to make your own Biltong Box.

Biltong is a dried meat, often Beef but can be many other types of game. It originates from South Africa and is similar to American 'Jerky' but isn't usually smoked or as sweet. It would be dried by hanging on trees and the sun and the wind would cure it. Unfortunately as I live in England we have more rain the sun, so I decided to make a DIY Biltong Box so I could enjoy biltong all year round. This is the recipe I then use to make my biltong.

For this you will need;

  • Silverside Beef
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt
  • Black Peppercorns
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Coriander Seeds

Step 1: Make the Cut

I started with around 1.5kg of silverside beef. Using a very sharp knife I cut the beef along the grain. When cutting down for normal steaks usually you are encouraged to cut across the grain. This stops the beef from being chewy, however that is sort of the effect we want from the biltong.

I cut them into slices of around 1cm thick. The thicker you make the longer it will take to dry, and the thinner obviously it will be quicker.

Step 2: Vinegar

I transferred the beef into a plastic container. Then I poured some red wine vinegar into the container and worked the beef into it all to make sure there was vinegar on all the beef. I let this marinate for around half an hour. This helps with the preservation, I made sure not to leave it in too long or else it will start to effect the final flavour too much.

Step 3: Get Spicey

This section you can mix and match as much as you like. The only one you really need to include is the salt. The salt is what kickstarts the drying and preservation.
I started with some sea salt flakes, I crushed them up with my hands. Next I used some black peppercorns and crushed them in my pestle and mortar. I left them fairly course, you can of obviously crush them as fine as you like.

Then I added a small handful of chilli flakes. This will add a kick to the biltong. Finally I added some crushed coriander seeds. This is the what gives it that real traditional South African biltong flavour.

Step 4: Rub & Hang...

I then rubbed all the salt and spices into the beef and made sure it was fully covered. Using small metal hooks I hung each bit of beef into my Biltong Box. If you don't have any hooks you can use paper clips to bend into a hook shape. It needs to dry for around 4-5 days. The longer you leave it, the drier it will get. I like mine a little wet so it is a little bit rare in the middle.

Step 5: Final Photos

Once you're ready just take it down and slice the Biltong as thin or thick as you like it.

It should last a good few weeks if you keep it covered in a sealable bag or tub. I hope you enjoyed this instructables. And remember if you make it make your own, share some photos here!

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18 Discussions

It is actually bottom round aka rump roast. I think brisket is a better cut for this application though.

Thanks, I was curious what silverside beef was too

I think it is! You can use most cuts, but it's worth remembering not to use the most expensive, as when it dries you loose around 60% of the mass! So if you buy like a sirlion or something you'll loose most of it! Hope that helps. If you liked this it would be awesome if you could vote for me in the outdoor food competition! Cheers

Have you made Droëwors or anything else in your Biltong box?


11 months ago

I tend to salt the beef first and leave for 4-5hrs as this removes a lot of moisture. Then I wash in a 50:50 vinegar and warm water mix to remove the salt and help with killing surface bacteria. Then I spice, salt and hang. I prefer mine much better than yours!

1 reply

I tried leaving in salt before and even washing it came out incredibly salty, but then I only tried washing off with just water. Might try washing with water and vinegar as you sudgest!

When I lived in the UK, I would go to Sainbury's and buy anything I could get my hands on, de-boned roasts where my favorite. So Basically you can use any cut, those cuts of meat meat with more marbling of fat makes better biltong, 1cm thick and 50mm wide is good. Always cut with the grain You can marinade the meat in salt and vinegar overnight if you wanted just rise it and then spice it. more you leave it then the less resistant I will become to mold. If your meat get whit spots clean it with a mixture of vinegar and salt as it mold. Biltong should be made slow, because the faster it dries the more tough it seems to get. To wet and slow and the meat will rot.

you could make this in a room with the central heating turned up and a free standing fan circulating air, that's how I used to make it bulk, summer or winter.

1 reply

Thanks for sharing :D Yes you can make it in an open room, unless you have a wife that is a borderline vegetarian. Thats the other benefit keeps it hidden away a little! :D

I love biltong. I tried to make it a few times, but never came out nice. Once even our dog turned its nose up at it! But your recipe is really simple. So maybe I will give it another go! Voted!

1 reply

Oh dear. Not sure when wrong. One thing I found makes a massive difference is how its sliced. I found I was cutting it too thick. But then spent some time cutting super thin and it tastes totally different! Try again and let me know how it goes :D

Thanks for commenting :D it would be really great if you could vote for me in the outdoor food competition! Cheers


11 months ago

You can also use topside or rump. Just make sure when you cut it to go along the grain.

Now thats a useful post thank you