Biltong vs Beef Jerky: Everything You Need to Know

What is biltong? And what is the difference between biltong and beef jerky? If those are questions you have, you're at the right place! This article will explain in detail the difference between the traditional South African snack known as biltong and American beef jerky. We'll start with the basic questions and even go into what biltong taste like and what biltong is made out of. I know you're hungry, so let's get into it!  

What is biltong?

Biltong is the term that describes air dried beef in South Africa. It's a combination of two old dutch words - Bil and Tong. Bil means meat or rump. Tong means strip. So it's a strip of meat. In a nutshell it is strips of raw meat, marinated in vinegar and spices over night and then hanged in circulating air for 5 to 10 days. The end result is a delicious cured piece of meat that is eatable and shelf stable for a months.

What is beef jerky?

Jerky is a South American term originally written as Chirkie and meaning burned meat. Traditional American beef jerky is raw meat, marinated and dried in a dehydrator with heat.

What is the difference between biltong and beef jerky?

The big difference between biltong and beef jerky is the way it is prepared. The biggest step that differs in preparation is - beef jerky gets dried predominantly by heat and biltong gets dried predominantly by low air circulation. Biltong also does not have a lot of added corn syrups and is usually sugar free. Beef jerky on the other hand does have added sugars.

Is biltong beef jerky?

No biltong is not beef jerky although it is similar enough to use the terms interchangeably when describing them to newcomers. "After my weight lifting session I grab a bag of biltong. It's the perfect blend of protein to feed my muscles and spices to tickle my taste buds." - Suzi from

Biltong vs Jerky

Alrighty, I hope you're following along well. Is your mouth watering yet for a meaty snack? Now that we have the foundation established of the difference between biltong and beef jerky. Let's get into how biltong and beef jerky is made and what they taste like! Let the drooling begin..

What is biltong made of?

Biltong is mostly made out of beef. That is the main ingredient. On top of that salt and vinegar will always be used. Besides that, all kinds of spices can be added for unique flavors. Biltong can also be made out of ostrich or turkey or bacon but it's not as common as beef.

How do you make biltong? How is biltong made?

Biltong is made by cutting the best raw meat into strips, marinating it for a few hours and then drying it by air for a set amount of days.

What's the best traditional biltong recipe?

The best traditional bitlong recipes will have coriander as a predominant flavor. Allspice is also very common and so is black pepper.

What does biltong taste like?

Biltong tastes like a well seasoned steak. It's dried beef in its purest form. "With every bite of biltong, I feel a new manly hair sprout from my chest. This bag of meat makes me run faster, jump higher, and smell more manly. Hear me roar." - John from  

How do you make beef jerky? Is it cooked?

Beef jerky is made by cutting beef into thin pieces, marinating them and then dehydrating them with heat for a few hours.

What animal is beef jerky made of?

Mainly beef.

What is inside of beef jerky?

Beef as well as a lot of artificial flavorings, corn syrups and sugars.

What does beef jerky taste like?

Beef jerky should taste like beef and sometimes it does but in general it tastes more like candy because of all its sweet coatings.  

Who invented beef jerky and biltong?

These delicious meaty snacks were invented on opposite sides of the planet. Jerky is a popular snack in the USA. And biltong was invented in South Africa, but is growing rapidly in popularity in the States. Biltong fits perfectly into high protein, low sugar diets such as paleo and whole30.

Who invented beef jerky?

Beef jerky has been popularized in America.

Who invented biltong?

Biltong originated in South Africa. It has been popular for hundreds of years because it lasts a long time, is high in protein and the perfect on the go snack.  

Where can you buy biltong?

Next time you're looking for a high protein snack with no artificial ingredients, choose biltong. And make sure to stock up too, you'll devour it like the lion you are! You can get biltong here or at your local World Market store.
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