As anyone who has befriended me on Facebook will know, I’ve become a little obsessed with Biltong over the last few months – to the point of actually producing it on a small scale at home. To further my knowledge, and because I’m easily led by a similarly obsessed but more instant-gratification-driven colleague, we ordered numerous packets of different types from Susmans, a leading UK-based purveyor of dried meat goodness.
So far I’ve sampled some stukkies, some Peri Peri beef bilton and some ostrich biltong from their extensive range. All very enjoyable, of course – given that I was motivated by the what-I-now-realise-to-be mediocre mass produced stuff you get in supermarkets – indeed, a few months ago I’d have said it was awesome. I also had a nibble (ooer) on one of my colleagues’ Droerwors (a kind of dried sausage).
I wouldn’t say I’m underwhelmed – but the best of my home-made efforts have been comparable if not better than what I’ve tried so far. I do have a few more to get through though – and if nothing else it’s made me strengthen my resolve to get hold of a good chunk of ostrich meat to try drying myself. All in all, a worthwhile exercise – and one that meant I got to eat lots of meat!
Susmans also do non-vacuum-packed ‘fresher’ variants – I might try that, or I might just stick with what I make myself! The main issue is saltiness, which is probably a product of the need for shelf-life – as I’ve been progressively cutting down on salt in my own efforts after an early attempt stripped almost all the moisture out of the early guinea pigs!