We get asked why our jerky and biltong sometimes costs that little bit more than other snacks. Have you looked at the cost of beef per kilo recently? Well it’s not cheap and that’s because we have high animal welfare standards in the UK, Ireland and Europe and that means it does cost you that little bit more.
The cattle we source are mainly grass-fed and are out in pastures for a large part of their life. All cattle raised in the UK and Europe have their feed topped up in the winter when all animals are in need of a little extra nutrition to get them through a northern European winter.
This top up feed includes root vegetables such as carrots and turnip, plus some grain. A main staple of their diet is silage, which you’ll see being prepared in the fields throughout the summer and is usually wrapped in black plastic. Most cattle are housed within cattle sheds during the winter as this keeps them warm and dry as cattle do not find it easy to walk in water logged and muddy fields. These sheds are well ventilated and allow farmers to ensure that the cattle are happy throughout the winter.
We have worked with our suppliers for many years and they know exactly the quality of silverside that we are looking for and sometimes like all the best products it costs that little bit extra. This gives us the reassurance that when you get your packet of jerky or biltong, the beef we use is to the same high standard that you have come to expect.
We never compromise and you know that if you are not entirely happy with a packet we will always respond and investigate why. That’s the beauty of using natural products, no two beef silverside is exactly the same. Just like no two apples are completely identical.
Not only does the beef cost a little bit more but the methods of making jerky and biltong are also very hands on.
For jerky, the team of butcher’s hand trim each silverside to ensure that there is no excess fat and it is as lean as it can be. While this is happening, we are hand mixing the marinade to ensure that each ingredient is exact and that little bit extra attention to detail is involved.
The sliced silverside is then hand mixed into the marinade before being left for 24 hours to soak up all the flavour. Our team then lay each slice out by hand onto the baking trays before the beef is slowly cooked and smoked in the oven. After cooking each tray is taken out by hand and the jerky removed by hand before it is packed.
For our biltong, it is slightly different once the beef has been trimmed by the butchers it is then sliced and rolled in the marinade before being hung by hand in our unique drying room.
During the time in the drying room we have a team of people who check, by hand and sight whether the biltong is ready to harvest. This skill is handed on from team member to team member as it does include many variables, such as temperature both inside and outside the factory, the thickness of the beef and how much is hanging in the room at any one time. This means that our team use their individual skill to ensure that the biltong is picked at the optimum time to pack.
So, the next time you buy a packet just think that you are contributing to the high welfare of the cattle and that they are well looked after all year round.