Difference Between Jerky and Biltong

Jerky vs Biltong

Biltong is dried and cured meat that is considered a delicacy in South Africa. It can be prepared with the meat of beef or any other game. It is sold in convenience stores, in South Africa, alongside candy bars and is extremely popular. Many Americans, when they visit South Africa, get confused with biltong as it looks similar to their Jerky. However, despite the fact that both are dried meats, there are differences between jerky and biltong that will be highlighted in this article.


Biltong is sliced and cured meat that has been dried to remove all moisture and supposed to be eaten like a snack. It is a traditional delicacy of South Africa and is made from beef or any other meat that is hung for many days after covering it with spices. It is not cooked, but only air dried for a week or so or by keeping it inside a box that is known as biltong box.

Biltong originated in the first place as a method to preserve meat. Preservation helped people to travel to long distances with their own source of food. Biltong is prepared with cuts of meat that follow the grain of the meat. These pieces are washed in vinegar and then hung dried after application of spices. Once dried, biltong is relished as a snack and carried by hunters, campers, and sports lovers to stadiums. Biltong tastes great just taken along with beer.


Jerky is a form of dried meat that is trimmed to remove all fat and then dried in the air to remove all moisture. Dehydration of meat that takes place helps in preservation. The meat is washed with vinegar and salt is applied so that bacteria do not soil the meat. These days’ jerky makers smoke the marinated and dried meat to make it more flavorful. Sometimes jerky is made sweet by the use of sugar in place of salt after marinating. After it has sufficiently dried, one can eat the jerky with nothing else required to accompany it.

What is the difference between Jerky and Biltong?

• Jerky is cooked at low temperature with smoke whereas biltong is uncooked.

• Both are dehydrated, but biltong retains some moisture and is, therefore, considered more flavorful, whereas jerky is totally dry.

• Biltong is much thicker than jerky and sometimes can replace whole meal.

• Jerky can be made without washing with vinegar, whereas biltong preparation requires marinating with vinegar.

• Biltong is more popular in South Africa, whereas jerky is more common in US

• Biltong is also used as a teething aid for toddlers.

• boxes are often used to make biltong.