Beef Jerky VS Biltong

Question: What is the Difference between Biltong and Jerky?

People are snacking more than ever. 

Gone are the days however of low-quality, unhealthy, and flavorless snacks. Today's consumers want wholesome and tasty options. Snacking is one of the main reasons beef jerky has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Jerky delivers on the key attributes of a perfect snack - portable, high in protein, and tasty!

But consumers are also hungry for new and innovative snacks that bring a diversity of flavors to the table. This is one of the reasons that many new and interesting snack products have entered the market.

One such entrant to the domestic market is biltong. 

Beef Jerky Vs Biltong

We're big fans of biltong here at People's Choice Beef Jerky and welcome it as a delicious newcomer to the domestic meat snack scene. Biltong delivers on convenience, health, and taste; all attributes celebrated by beef jerky. While we don't make biltong at People's Choice Beef Jerky, we highly recommend it to all meat lovers out there! It's definitely worth a try if you enjoy savory meat snacks.  

Many people believe that biltong is the South African version of beef jerky, which is partly true. While beef jerky and biltong share many qualities, biltong is its own snack with a unique set of ingredients, process, and history.  

Let's dive into this delicious international meat snack. 

Beef Jerky Vs Biltong

Biltong is a cured and dried meat that comes from South Africa and other countries from the Southern part of the African continent. The most common ingredients of biltong include meat (usually beef), black pepper, coriander, salt, and vinegar. Biltong is often air-dried for a long period of time. While beef is the primary protein source, biltong can be made from a variety of meats including some exotic animals. People commonly describe the texture of biltong as somewhere between traditional beef jerky and Italian prosciutto.  

Biltong and beef jerky are very similar. They are both seasoned, dried meats. There are, however, a few key differences between biltong and beef jerky. The three primary differences between biltong and jerky are the ingredients, process, and texture. 

The first main difference between biltong and beef jerky relates to the ingredients. Both meat snacks utilize a blend of savory spices to generate robust flavor. Biltong, however, relies heavily on vinegar as a method of preservation; the meat is cured by an extended soaking period in a bath of vinegar and other spices. This contributes more to the texture than the flavor, but the subtle twang is definitely there.   


The second main difference between biltong and beef jerky relates to the process. Biltong is prepared with a lack of heat. Where beef jerky is slow-cooked at low temperatures to dehydrate and cook the meat, biltong is air dried. To make biltong, large chunks of meat, typically silverside or topside cuts, are air dried for up to a week and then trimmed to the desired texture.  

The last difference is texture. Beef jerky is commonly sliced into strips before the cooking and drying process; biltong is air dried and then sliced into bite-sized pieces. Due to the drying and slicing process, most biltong is softer and fluffier in texture whereas beef jerky has more of a steak-like chew. 

People's Choice Old Fashioned Beef Jerky

There are some clear differences between biltong and beef jerky. Some of these differences include the process, ingredients, flavor, and texture. Despite these differences, biltong and beef jerky are both great options for healthy, on-the-go snacking. If you're a beef jerky lover, and especially a People's Choice Beef Jerky lover, we highly recommend giving biltong a shot (and visa versa). 

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