How to make your own bil­tong

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Afew days ago, I bought my­self a food-de­hy­dra­tion ma­chine. As soon as it ar­rived, I wanted to smack my­self – why no one else had come up with the idea be­fore was be­yond me. It’s just a seethrough box made of rather cheap-feel­ing plas­tic with a minia­ture fan and a socket for a 40W elec­tric globe. That’s it – noth­ing more to it.

You don’t need a de­hy­dra­tor to make bil­tong – old school bil­tong is dried in cool, dry rooms with a con­stant sup­ply of cool air.

Car garages work best, as they’re mostly con­crete rooms and airy. A small, en­closed room that has no damp and that has a con­stant air sup­ply (a fan or air conditioner) will work just as well. You need to avoid flies and fun­gus. By fol­low­ing a few easy steps, you’ll elim­i­nate the chance of both, but you need to avoid them com­pletely. Flies can mess up your bil­tong stash and leave you in tears.

I’ve seen some peo­ple hang their dry­ing bil­tong on in­door por­ta­ble wash­ing lines and di­rect a room fan at the meat. The dry­ing method you choose – and the amount of meat you’d like to dry – is up to you.

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