No Secrets (besides our recipes) or hiding behind closed curtains. Here is how we make that stuff you love, step by step, while avoiding the annoying details like paperwork and the traceability that goes behind it.
Enjoy the show and as always, feel free to ask us anything along the way... Except the secret recipe(s).
So ignoring the boring numbers and paperwork, let's get straight to the point...
Where's the Beef?
Right here, on this table below us. Our meat supplier Alazard & Roux guarantees French meat raised in the Provence and Alpes regions and they do all the deboning and cutting at their abbatoir just 45 minutes down the street from our establishment. You can't get much fresher and greener than that.
Once we know how much meat we are dealing with, we prepare the spices. Roughly 50g of spice mix is used per kilo of meat.
Freshly crushed and mixed.
New flavors are already planned and will be coming out in the future. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter (bottom of page) or follow us on Facebook to know when.
After this, the meat is sprayed with a vinegar solution, which was prepared at the same time as the spice mix.
The vinegar (with added ingredients to solution) are not only important for the flavor, but as a natural preservative.
Next, we move to where the meat awaits. Very cold rooms in fact, attention when playing with knives when you cannot feel your hands.
That meat is as cold and slippery as a block of ice.
We slice the meat along the grain at about 2-3 cm in thickness. Then vertically into strips of similar width.
After the meat has been sliced and sprayed, we cover the meat in the previously prepared spice mix.
At the same time, we hook the meat in advance to make our lives a bit easier the following day when it comes time to hang the meat to dry.
And that's it for Day 1! You can already smell how great it is going to taste. Good enough to put a smile on even the most hardcore vegan's face.
So we seal off the boxes and place the meat on the shelves to let these beautiful creatures bathe in our mouth-watering marinade (the solution and mix).
After 24 hours, we will move to the next part of the process...
<--- Yeah, that's a selfie. Just for you.
Into the Dryer.
Day 1 being the work, Day 2 is simply hanging the meat. The dryer includes a UV germicide lamp and a fan. We dry the meat at a steady temperature of 25°C, never falling below 20°C or rising above 30°C. We do not want to cook it, just sweat box it.
The trick here is just to keep an eye on the meat. Making sure the meat is drying properly. You don't want the outside to dry too fast, or the inside moisture will not be able to escape.
So, we will just maintain the temperature, watching the outside of the meat, and squeezing the occasional piece to check the readiness of the inside.
Once the meat is dry, we can now call it biltong!
Now, not everybody enjoys sucking a dried stick of meat as they go about their daiily business, so this is why we slice it up into 4-5mm slices for easy bagging and eating.
After the meat is sliced, we clean out the bags with our vinegar solution, hence why you may taste a bit of the vinegar, or feel a bit of dampness when the bag is first opened.
After being weighed and bagged, the biltong is vacuum sealed. Then eventually moves on to the next room where we put the stickers on, stamp it with the origin of beef, lot number, and 'best before' date.
We also cut the notches ourselves and if requested (usually by professionals) we hole punch a slot at the top for easy hanging.
And that's it! The meat is all ready to be sent to its adoring fans and we do our best to keep them from waiting too long. We always keep a few control samples of each lot, not only to be sent for test at the end of three months, but also just for our own reassurance that no problems arise. Generally, our biltong is eaten almost immediately within reception, but we do plan to move our DLUO date to six months in the near future. This will help us provide biltong in more convenient places for you, such as your local marché.
We appreciate you taking the time to learn a bit about the process, and if you have any technical questions for us, we will be happy to follow up on them and provide you with an answer.
Take care and Vive le Biltong.