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5. You can arrange the strips on the grating of your desiccator or an oven cooling rack or hang them in your drying box. 6. The biltong is done when it’s almost black on the outside and has a tight, rubbery consistency inside. It will keep in the refrigerator in an airtight box for up to 2 months, and much longer if frozen in small batches.

Building a drying box Jerky and biltong both require dry heat, as they’d have received in their traditional outdoor preparation. There are commercial desiccators for the process, and people with an Aga often swear by the bottom oven, but a drying box is easy to build and allows much more control over the process. The heat source is one of those horribly old-fashioned and inefficient incandescent light bulbs. They’re not terribly green because of the enormous amount of energy they put out as heat rather than light – though in this case it works to our advantage. This might be the only remaining ethical use for such out-of-date technology. Because not much heat is involved, the enclosure can be something as simple as a cardboard box or something more elaborate in wood or metal if you feel like going into mass production – however you tackle it, though, the principles are the same. You’re just creating a chimney so that the hot dry air can flow up and over the hanging meat. You can use the box for jerky, biltong or droëwors (see page 308), but remember that things like bresaola, ham, salami, etc. need a longer, more gentle process to retain their texture, so don’t be tempted to hurry them along in your box.

03Food DIY CH3.indd 99

07/03/2013 13:39

Tim Hayward - Food DIY  
Tim Hayward - Food DIY  

Over recent years, across much of the world, people have started rejecting shop bought food and are getting into making it themselves. The D...