The History of Biltong

For centuries before settlers arrived at the shores of Southern Africa there were two groups of people that inhabited the land. These groups were the San and Khoikhoi, commonly referred to as the Khoisan.

The Khoisan were a group of skilled hunter/gathers. They were also nomadic farmers that lived at one with nature. This skill and knowledge allowed them to live off the land. Part of their vast knowledge was the preservation of meat. This preservation was done through a curing process that involved using salt and hanging the meat to dry. With the arrival of European settlers, this process was refined by adding vinegar and spices before the meat was hung to dry.

The name “Biltong” was given by Dutch settlers.“Bil” means meat and “tong” means strip. The word Biltong refers to a strip of meat.

This cured form of meat in Biltong form played an important role in travel. It was long-lasting and provided essential protein in a daily diet.

Through the years Biltong has become an integral part of South African culture. It can be found in every supermarket or butchery in every town. Biltong has now spread to many other countries and is now consumed as a high protein snack.