If you’re a fan of jerky, chances are you’ve come across biltong beef, the cousin of jerky. Both are dried meat snacks packed with minerals and vitamins, making them convenient protein-rich options on the go. However, beyond these similarities, biltong and jerky diverge significantly in several aspects, including preparation, flavor, texture, variety, and cooking methods. Let’s delve into the six key distinctions between biltong and jerky.
What Makes Biltong Unique?
Jerky is thinly sliced meat marinated in spices and cooked with heat, resulting in a dry and chewy texture. In contrast, biltong is shredded meat cured in vinegar and air-dried, offering a softer and saltier experience. Biltong’s distinct appearance also sets it apart from jerky. The preparation of biltong demands more time, making jerky the go-to choice for meat-loving cooks.
Ingredients and Preservation Methods
Both jerky and biltong undergo a preservation process, allowing them to last for extended periods. While both use salt, pepper, and spices to maintain a dried consistency, jerky relies on cooking and heat for preservation. On the other hand, biltong employs a “no-heat” method, leveraging vinegar and spices to preserve the meat. Biltong is bathed in these ingredients before undergoing an extensive drying period.
Cooking Methods and Their Impact
The cooking methods employed for biltong and jerky differ significantly, leading to variations in taste and texture. Jerky is cooked slowly over low heat for hours, ensuring thorough cooking and dehydration. Biltong, however, employs a “no-heat” style. After the preservation process, the meat strands are hung and dried for nearly two weeks. Amazingly, this method doesn’t foster bacterial growth, and properly prepared biltong is entirely safe to consume, despite some packaging labeling it as raw.
Flavor Profiles That Set Them Apart
Your preference for jerky or biltong hinges on your favorite flavor profiles. If you enjoy smoky meats that retain their flavor when dried, jerky might be right up your alley. However, if you savor vinegar and hints of zest in your meat, biltong’s savory and vinegar-heavy profile might be more appealing. The natural flavor of the meat can sometimes be overpowered by biltong’s saltiness. Nevertheless, both options are flavorful and tantalizing when paired with the right spices.
Textural Contrasts You Can’t Ignore
Among the six differences, the most apparent lies in texture. Anyone who has tried both biltong and jerky can attest to the stark dissimilarity in texture. Biltong is soft, with a “fluffy” or even “airy” quality. On the other hand, jerky is chewy, akin to a steak, and has a drier surface. Biltong is typically served in smaller shreds, enhancing its distinct eating experience.
Variety: A World of Choices
In theory, both biltong and jerky can be made from a wide array of meats. However, beef is the most commonly used meat for biltong, while jerky is often crafted from more exotic cuts. Jerky’s cooking process adapts well to various animals, ensuring consistent quality and taste. At our online jerky store, you can find jerkies made from poultry, big game, camels, alligators, and even kangaroos! Each cut boasts its own unique flavor and texture, ensuring quality with every bite. While some companies do create biltong from exotic animals, it remains relatively uncommon, with beef being the primary choice. Classic beef flavor is delightful, but the variety offered by jerky is hard to beat.
Nutritional Factors to Consider
When it comes to nutritional makeup, jerky and biltong exhibit similarities. Both are rich in proteins, omega-3s, iron, zinc, B-vitamins, and other essential minerals. Jerky, in particular, has gained recognition as a superfood, known to alleviate stress and support mental health. The primary nutritional disparities between the two lie in fat and sodium content. Jerky contains slightly more sodium, typically around 30 milligrams more than biltong. However, both options can be part of a balanced diet. Biltong contains more fat, approximately twice as much as jerky. It’s worth noting that biltong generally contains less sugar, although this variation depends on the cooking process and is mostly negligible.
The Ultimate Verdict: The Choice is Yours
At Lee’s Market, we proudly stand by our love for jerky and offer a delectable array of products. However, there is no definitive winner in the battle between jerky and biltong. Both options cater to specific preferences, with biltong providing a unique eating experience and less sugar compared to jerky. Jerky, on the other hand, offers unparalleled variety, classic taste, and textures that result from the slow cooking process. With the right blend of spices, any snack can be elevated to new heights, and that’s what jerky offers.
If you’re leaning towards jerky, explore our wide range of beef, poultry, big-game, and exotic jerkies. Our collection includes unique spices and seasonings for a divine jerky experience. Brace yourself for delightful combinations of sweet and spicy ingredients that yield truly exceptional cuts of jerky.
Would you like to try some delicious jerky? Visit Rowdy Hog Smokin BBQ for a wide selection of excellent jerky options.