So you might have tasted it and loved it, but are now wondering what exactly it is. Well we love that you've asked, and are happy to answer.
Its origin is Dutch. Two parts to the word:
BIL + TONG = BILTONG
BIL meaning 'bil', literally translated as 'buttock', referring to the preferred cut of meat.
TONG meaning, yup you guessed it, 'tongue' referring to the shape of the cut meat, a long strip.
A long time ago, even before Columbus stumbled across the Americas, South Africa (and most of southern Africa) had its fair share of explorers, hunters and pioneers. And animals were plentiful. So they had to preserve this meat with what they had available. Which ended up being salt, vinegar and when they could find it, a modest amount of spice in the form of coriander and black pepper. The meat was marinated in this mixture, and then strung up to dry. They might not have fully realized it at the time, but as simple as the process seems, it is genius. The salt and vinegar in combination with the slow drying out is a potent germ and bacteria killer, which the USDA inspected mark on all our packs confirms. And the simplicity of the coriander and black pepper adds the perfect savory note.
This method has been passed on through generations and has connected many cultures. And it is this same method and list of ingredients we use to bring you our TXBiltong. Just that, nothing added.
No need to fix something that ain't broken.