Venison Jerky with an African Flavor

When I was hunting in Africa with my son Jason, we were fed delicious meat snacks called Biltong. It is dried meat that has marinated in special seasoning like our American Jerky.  Below is Impala from our hunt being skinned and prepared for both mounts and for our meals. Some of this meat finds its way to becoming Biltong, a prized South African snack food. Here we will use whitetail venison instead of Impala.


It is akin to Jerky but Afrikaner’s would say that Jerky does not come close to the excellent flavor of Biltong. I expect that I will have venison in my freezer this year as I am hunting down south were the deer are very plentiful. So I want to try and make this Biltong recipe that I received from a friend that grew up in South Africa and now lives and works here. You may want to give it a try….


5 lbs  game meat

venison steaks

red wine vinegar

coarse salt (I use Kosher salt)

whole coriander

black pepper

bicarbonate of soda


For this weight of beef or venison use:


2 tablespoons coarse salt

1/2 cup of coriander (if you have a mortar and pestle, you can crush them slightly)

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 cup brown sugar (I omit this, but I know some people add it)

1 teaspoon bicarb soda (I have made the biltong without this, however it does tend to keep the dried meat a little softer and easier to cut)


Mix the above ingredients thoroughly.


Cut the meat in strips (approx 1 – 1/2 inches thick), diagonally along the grain

place the cut meat in a large glass bowl

sprinkle with the vinegar to wet the meat

sprinkle your made up biltong mix over the meat

thoroughly turn the meat over with this mix, so that all the pieces are properly coated.

cover the dish with clingwrap and place in the refrigerator for approx 24 hours.


At the end of this time, discard any bloody fluid that has leaked out of the meat.


Make a 50/50 mix of the vinegar and water in a bowl.


Rinse the meat in this mixture quickly to get rid of the excess salt.


My friend uses paperclips that I have opened up to hang the meat. A washing stand placed on a shoe tray makes an excellent drying rack. Some folks make a cardboard drying box with a small fan and a 60 watt light bulb. Some hang the meat with string or thread using a large sewing needle. It will take roughly 4 to 6 days to dry hard on the outside and still be somewhat soft on the inside. More or less to your liking. I have a food dehydrator so I am going to use that.

I found a website that goes into great detail for larger quantities of Biltong 


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About Ed Hale

I am an avid hunter with rifle and Bow and have been hunting for more than 50 years. I have taken big game such as whitetail deer, red deer, elk, Moose and African Plains game such as Kudu, Gemsbok, Springbok, Blesbok, and Impala and wrote an ebook entitled African Safari -Rifle and Bow and Arrow on how to prepare for a first safari. Ed is a serious cartridge reloader and ballistics student. He has earned two degrees in science and has written hundreds of outdoor article on hunting with both bow and rifle.