Biltong

If you’re like me, you probably like to chew on something throughout the day. I’m someone who has been chewing mastic gum for years, which has greatly strengthened my muscles of mastication and also helped treat my IBS-related indigestion issues. Recently, however, I heard about the dried, cured meat biltong. Rich in vitamins, it is a South African specialty meat which is air-dried sometimes for weeks at a time. Best of all, it’s chewable, tasty, and surprisingly really good.

If you’re someone who wants to both give your jaw a workout and also does (or wants to do) plenty of physical exercise, try biltong. The dried meat is packed with protein, plus the process of chewing and eating it is quite addicting. It’s also perfect if you’re on a keto or paleo diet.

The Health Benefits of Biltong

Biltong is an incredibly lean meat with very few carbs. Generally, a 28g serving (1 oz) contains just 3% or so of actual fat. Over 50% of biltong is protein which means a 28g serving has 16g of protein—that’s 34% of the recommended daily intake!

  • Rich in iron and vitamin B12. Both are key to muscle growth and red blood cell production.
  • Packed with zinc! Zinc is responsible for creating the enzymes necessary for processing the foods we eat.
  • A healthy source of creatine. Creatine is necessary for muscle to produce energy during workouts.

Because it is air-dried, all the proteins are kept intact. This means that biltong is something of a superfood if you’re looking to stay fit.

What’s It Taste Like?

Biltong has been described as tasting something like the “lovechild of jerky and prosciutto.” The meats are generally left to hang for days covered in allspice, salt, black pepper, vinegar, and/or coriander. The spice mixture is supposed to be light.

Many people have described the taste of it as ‘addicting,’ sort of like how potato chips are.

Chew ‘till Your Heart’s Content

We’ve written quite a bit about how chewing mastic or Falim gum is effective for strengthening your masseter muscles. Although these are still good options, you may prefer biltong as an alternative. Not only is it packed with nutrients, but you can chew each bite for a long while.

Reddit user u/Branheelturn put it well in his comment on the South African snack.

“I’ve recently bought this South African snack after being dissatisfied with Falim gum being too soft and elastic after 5-10 minutes of chewing. I’ve found some Biltong instead and have been chewing it instead. The toughness is perfect, also small bits of flesh/fast don’t degrade away so you can chew on one small piece for a very long time. They are high in protein, medium fat content and no carbs which great. The taste is unique. I would describe it as a vinegary/rustic taste (which I do not like but goes away after eating a few pieces). It’s quite salty and isn’t unsatiating like chicken breast or food low in fat.”

There’s a reason biltong is commonly given to children who have issues with mastication in South Africa. It’ll certainly give your jaw a workout regardless of your age.

Try Biltong, You’ll Love It

So, now you know biltong has virtually no carbs, is packed with protein, and is satisfyingly chewable—it’s something of a ‘superfood.’ Luckily, quality biltong is quite easy to order online nowadays since it does not spoil easily.

Ayoba-Yo (made with grass-fed beef)

Ayoba-Yo’s authentic biltong made from grass-fed beef definitely tops our list as one of the best. Highly-rated online, it comes in two flavors: traditional and spicy.

Kalahari

Kalahari is another great brand which has received rave reviews. They claim that “you’ll never go back to jerky” after trying. It comes in original, spicy peri peri, garlic, and a variety pack.

Brooklyn Biltong

I’ve also heard good things about Brooklyn Biltong. Their story began with the owner’s grandfather, a butcher from South Africa known for his mouthwatering recipes. The New York-based company only sells Whole30 Approved biltong. This means that they refuse to add sugar or additives to their products. They also donate 10% of their profits to The Homeless Bus in NYC. Make sure to try one of their 2 oz bags of Original Biltong or Peri Peri.

Biltong by Safari

Biltong by Safari has been called “authentic” and the “real deal.” It comes in a 1kg bag and rubbed with pepper and coriander with light salt. Good stuff!

Stryve Biltong Variety Packs

Another protein-rich option is Stryve’s variety packs. Boasting 16 grams of protein per serving, these meats are cured for 21 days. The variety 4-pack contains zesty garlic, smoked, peri peri, and teriyaki flavors. Personally, Stryve’s spicy peri peri biltong is the best which has a whopping 64 grams of protein per pouch.

Biltong has only recently become more popular outside of South Africa. Once the media and fitness-minded community start picking up on this healthy snack, there’ll be no turning back: it is, in short, the real deal.

What do you think is the best biltong on the market right now? Comment below.

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