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What Is The Difference Between Beef Jerky And Biltong?

Before explaining the difference between the two, it’s essential to understand each of them separately and who consumes it and why they are consumed in the first place.

Biltong and Beef Jerky look more or less the same since they’re both made of cured meat. In today’s world, people have shifted to low-carb, keto diets which help them burn calories together. Gone are the days where only high-carb snacks were in demand and hence, manufactured.

Both these steaks, Biltong and Beef Jerky, are low on carb and rich in protein. These also contain essential nutrients like potassium, iron, and magnesium.

The main differences between Biltong and Jerky based on three key parameters.

Taste & Texture

Biltong is air-dried naturally and over some time until a week. This eventually results in a tender and a much juicer option than your Beef Jerky. The meat used to make Biltong could be fatty or lean. How long it is dried for can determine whether the product will be soft to consume or hard. The process of making JerkyJerky is either heating it or smoking it up through a process that then retains around 50 percent of moisture to give it the perfect texture.

This gives it a beautiful, chewy, and crisp texture. The Beef Jerky is made from either whole meat or even minced meat, depending on the texture. What texture you get in Biltong is also known to be a crossover between a Beef Jerky and the Italian prosciutto.


Coming to the ingredients, both kinds of meat snacks make use of a different mix of spices that give various flavors. Jerky usually has a technical recipe than Biltong. Jerky has plenty of flavors to pick from. From onion to garlic to honey to bourbon, there is a never-ending list of flavors that can be used. Biltong, however, uses more traditional flavors. Those include smoky, chutney, and chili.

Jerky uses different animal meats such as chicken, alligator, and sometimes even soy. Biltong is usually made just from beef. However, at times, it uses fancy game meats such as deer and antelope.

Biltong depends a lot on vinegar because it increases the shelf life of the meat. That meat is kept in a margination for one night with a mix of salt, vinegar, black pepper, and Worchester sauce. At times, even other spices, including garlic, onion powder are added to give it an aromatic and different flavor.

Since the Biltong industry has picked up pace in terms of consumption and demand in the market, so has the different spices used to enhance the beef meat flavors. The beef is either topside or, at times, even silverside. The complete taste of the jerky or the Biltong relies heavily on the type of flavoring used. It also depends mainly on curing the meat where vinegar comes into play to add some acidity into Biltong.


Biltong is used with meat pieces that are approximately 2 cm. These are then marinated in brine that contains all the spices and vinegar. Post-marination, it’s dried naturally for a week until it gets cured. Biltong is usually more tender to have than Beef Jerky, as it is softer and chewier. Its high protein depends on how long the drying process is as more concentration tends to thicken the protein contents.

You can make Jerky from either ground or using thin strips of meat. If ground, then you need to press the meat into flat strips. The meat strips are then marinated and dried on a dehydrator rack. It is then smoked or slow-cooked at low temperatures (ranging up to 90°C) in an oven until it is dry. This technique often results in drier and tougher pieces of meat when compared to the Biltong.

Jerky is made from either thin strips or ground strips of meat. If the meat is ground, it’s pressed into flat ones and marinated and subsequently dried in either a dehydrator or smoked through low temperatures through an oven. It is kept for 90 degrees to turn dry. This is the reason why Jerky is often drier and tougher than Biltong. Most companies around the world will either specialise in either Biltong, such as Bigwig Biltong or only Beef Jerky such as Noosa Jerky Co. from Australia.

These were the key differences between Biltong and Beef Jerky. Please make no mistake though, both are incredibly tasty and low-carb, protein-rich snacks that can instantly satiate your hunger!


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