Best biltong 2022: Our favorite high-protein deli snacks
An increasingly popular snack in the UK in recent years, biltong is a form of cured and cured meat originating in South Africa, with the best biltong marrying a deeply meaty flavor and a pleasant, chewy texture. Not only is it a more nutritious on-the-go snack than unhealthy temptations such as chocolate or crisps, biltong also tends to contain less sugar and additives than other jerky options such as jerky. , making it a prime choice for a carnivorous lunch. to taste.
If you have any questions, queries, or just a general curiosity about biltong, our simple buying guide will quickly walk you through the ins and outs of how it’s made, how it tastes, and how it compares to other similar products. Below, you’ll find mini reviews of our favorite biltong, highlighting the comparative strengths of different brands, flavors, and types. So read on and find the perfect meat treat or post-gym snack for you.
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Best biltong: At a glance
How to choose the best biltong for you
What is biltong?
Biltong is a traditional South African snack and involves treating strips of raw meat with salt, spices and sometimes vinegar, before slowly air-drying them over several days.
There are many variations in recipes and methods of preparing biltong depending on region, preference, and level of adherence to tradition. For example, different types of meat can be used, including a range of cuts of beef, chicken, ostrich, kudu or fish. Similarly, different recipes may include vinegar in the preparation phase and if vinegar is used, a recipe may call for grape, balsamic or cider vinegar.
Traditionally, the drying process takes place over a long period of time, using the cool winter air to slowly dry the meat and give it deep flavor, while minimizing the risk of bacterial growth. Commercial biltong, however, is usually treated with nitrates and dried in temperature-controlled chambers or using ovens.
Biltong can also take very different shapes depending on the initial cut, with commercial biltong tending to come in thin, flat pieces, which are cut against the grain of the muscle, while traditional or small batch biltong is more often produced in thick strips. which are cut along the grain of the muscle, giving this variety a chewy, more fibrous texture.
jerky vs biltong
A more recognizable product for British and especially American readers is jerky – more specifically, beef jerky. Jerky differs from biltong in several ways. It is usually made from finer cuts of meat, is cured without vinegar, is often smoked as part of the preparation process, and is much more likely to involve sugar at some stage of production. Therefore, jerky tends to have a smoother texture and a milder, smokier flavor than biltong.
Why do people eat biltong?
As a snack, people enjoy biltong for its spicy, umami flavor, as well as its meaty, fibrous texture. Aside from its delicious taste, biltong is also useful for gym-goers looking for a natural, high-protein snack that’s easy to carry around and eat on the go. Biltong is a particularly attractive option for protein lovers, as its preparation process is conducive to the preservation of natural proteins, compared to other meat processing methods.
Is biltong safe to eat?
While there are many valid health concerns about drying and curing raw beef, they really only apply to hobbyists trying to make biltong at home, which we generally advise against.
When done properly, the drying process makes biltong perfectly safe to eat. Additionally, large-scale commercial producers of biltong will often take extra steps, involving the addition of preservatives and other additives, to ensure the product is safe for consumers.
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The best biltong to buy
1. Jack Links Original Biltong: The best biltong for jerky lovers
Price: £3.25 | Shop now at Ocado
A reliable offering from a well-known brand, Jack Links’ version of the biltong makes a solid introduction to the snack. Anyone who has ever tried their jerky should recognize and appreciate the meaty, slightly spicy flavor, which pleasantly lingers on the tongue. The chunks themselves are admittedly a bit small and quite thin, but the chewy texture of the beef helps differentiate it from its softer, slightly sweeter jerky cousin.
While those looking for a super natural product may find the ingredient list a bit long, there isn’t an overabundance of preservatives and the protein levels are high while the sugar remains low so there’s no much to say. The 70g portion will be an important midday snack, but if you want something a little smaller you can also buy smaller 25g bags.
Key Details – Size: 70g; Protein: 37g; Carbohydrates: 2.2g, of which sugars: 1g
Shop now at Ocado
2. From Our Farm Variety Pack: Best biltong variety pack
Price: £16 | Buy now on Amazon
Low in carbs, high in protein and relying on traceable local Welsh beef, From Our Farm has all the right biltong credentials. It wouldn’t mean anything, of course, if the biltong itself weren’t so up to par. With nice chunky chunks and a good meaty chew, we’re happy to say it’s not. Excellent texture aside, the variety pack listed above does a good job of showcasing its well-executed range of flavors. The original variety has a deeply beefy umami flavor, which is incredibly more indulgent; the tomato and basil pack brings a unique Italian touch; while the fiery chili and turmeric varieties are satisfyingly spicy.
If you’re a real chillihead, however, you might want to skip the variety pack and go straight to delicious and insanely hot. Carolina Grim Reaper biltong (reaper is one of the hottest peppers in the world). This product is the result of a collaboration between From Our Farm and local producers Pembrokeshire Chilli Farm and can be called a true success, bringing tears to the eyes of this seasoned spice veteran.
Key Details – Size: 6x35g; Protein: 19g; Carbohydrates: 0.8g, of which sugars: 0.5g
3. High Protein Bulk Biltong: Best biltong for protein
Price: £8 | Buy now in bulk
If you’re a regular at the gym and like to include as much protein as possible in your diet, you may already be familiar with Bulk, whose powder supplements have previously appeared on our best protein powder lists and better mass gainers. If you’re looking for a protein supplement to add to your shopping cart or just prefer a more substantial snack to a shake, then this high protein biltong is a great option. Its thick, chewy chunks are made from silver cuts of beef and come in three flavors: original, peri-peri, and garlic cracked pepper, the latter being the most highly recommended, not only for its savory flavor but also for its higher flavor. protein content, with 55g of protein per 100g bag.
Key Details – Size: 100g; Protein: 55g; Carbohydrates: 1.5g, of which sugars: 1.5g
Buy now in bulk
4. The Original Biltong Company Piri Piri Biltong Sticks: Best biltong sticks
Price: £16 | Buy now on Amazon
Although these biltong sticks from The Original Biltong Company might be more accurately categorized as droëwors, another traditional South African beef sausage snack, they’re cousin enough that we’re happy to put them on. the list. Made with British and Irish grass-fed beef, these meat sticks have a slightly softer texture than biltong, but still retain a satisfying crispy quality when you break off a piece or take a bite.
Flavor-wise, the original version is seasoned with much the same ingredients as the other biltongs on the list, marrying a slightly spicy herb with a rich, meaty flavor. The Piri Piri version is a fun option for those looking for a bit more spice, with the chilies bringing a unique southern African flavor to the table. In terms of nutrition, this snack has an incredibly simple ingredient list containing only beef, seasonings and a unique preservative, all housed in natural lamb casing. Beyond that, they have the high protein content expected for a biltong-style snack, with some of the lowest carb and sugar content you’re likely to find anywhere.
Key Details – Size: 10x40g; Protein: 23g; Carbohydrates: 0.5g, of which sugars: 0.3g