Feasting is our column dedicated to cooking, grilling, eating and discovering what’s on the menu across America and the world.
It’s a sure bet you’ve had beef jerky at least once in your life. Whether it’s homemade, artisanal or just a road trip snack from the nearest truck stop, it comes in all types of flavors and quality levels. But what you may not know about is biltong, the South African version of the traditional nosh. So Ben and Emily of Brooklyn Biltong are here to change that.
In South Africa, biltong is a household name and as ingrained in the culture as burgers and fries are here in America. Growing up, Ben would hang out in his grandfather’s butcher shop – he was a respected hunter and made some of the best biltong in Pretoria, the nation’s capital. When Ben and Emily met in Brooklyn decades later, they realized they shared a great love not only for their new home but for the cultures, traditions and people of South Africa as well. They made their first batch of biltong as a snack for their wedding reception in 2012, and their friends went crazy for it and demanded more. And so Brooklyn Biltong was born.
Biltong is different from jerky in a few different ways. First of all, it’s cut with the grain of the meat for a more tender, steak-like texture that’s easier to bite and chew. Most jerky is dried with heat, but biltong is dried with air to preserve the authentic taste of beef for a more flavorful bite. Biltong is also free of nitrates, gluten, corn syrup and MSG for a healthier snack. To say it’s addictive is an understatement – we couldn’t keep our hand out of the bag when we tried it this week.
When Ben and Emily created Brooklyn Biltong, they wanted it to be more than just a tasty snack. They wanted to give back to their community, so they established “Eat and Feed.” Because it’s a healthy, sustainable, protein-rich product, they give away 10% of their profits in actual biltong to local Brooklyn organizations like Chips who works closely with City Harvest to distribute it to those in need. A delicious product we can stand behind in more ways than one? Consider us lifelong lovers.
To learn more about Brooklyn Biltong and taste their delicious product for yourself, visit them at brooklynbiltong.com.