A brief history of biltong
Biltong is a very important part of SA culture. We’ve been making it since before we started writing things down. Meat preservation has been key to survival since ancient times, when the indigenous people of our country sliced their meat, cured it using salt and hung it up to dry.
Then, the Dutch arrived. Building up herds of livestock took a long time and brought challenges, but the settlers took advantage of the abundance of game in South Africa. The traditional methods of meat curing were applied to large animals such as eland, kudu and wildebeest.
They introduced new spices such as cloves, coriander, and pepper, and the dried meat that they made took a step closer to becoming the biltong we’re familiar with today. This happened when the Voortrekkers migrated from the Cape and travelled north-east. They desperately needed food that would provide nutrition without going off.
The biltong-making skills have been passed down through the generations, from the Great Trek to today. We have used technology to make the process faster and more efficient, but the best biltong is still made using traditional biltong spice combinations and techniques.