What is Jerky and Biltong?

BEEF JERKY is made using selected cuts of lean beef that are marinated, cooked and slowly smoked. It is then sliced and packaged, and sold as a tasty and nutritious snack.


BEEF BILTONG is a similar product, but the main difference being that it’s air dried rather than cooked and smoked.

Both jerky and biltong are highly popular with athletes and anyone looking for an energy boost, as both products are high in protein and relatively low in fat. This also makes jerky and biltong a relatively healthy snack when compared to products such as crisps, biscuits and chocolate, and hence why it’s also so popular as a snack at home or for those on the move and at work.

Jerky has its origins in North America with early settlers observing indigenous people preparing and eating a type of dried meat, which inspired them to develop the food we now know as jerky. Biltong comes from South Africa, and again it was a dried meat the indigenous people produced which the settlers from Europe took a lead from, and went on to develop biltong. Interestingly, the name biltong comes from the Dutch words ‘bil’, meaning rump, and ‘tong’ meaning strip or tongue. The name jerky seems less obvious when its roots are explored, but none the less it comes from the Quechua (an ancient language spoken in the Andes) word ch’arki which simply means ‘dried, salted meat’.

Another reason for jerky and biltong’s popularity is the fact that it’s so convenient to buy and store, as it doesn’t need refrigeration and, certainly for the brands you’ll find on this website, doesn’t need to be eaten straight away, and will keep for up to three days if the packet is resealed.


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