What Makes Biltong the Better Snack Choice?
Snacking has always been a part of people’s daily lives. A survey showed that around 25% of respondents snacked multiple times daily, while at least 33% snack at least once a day.
However, these numbers increased during the pandemic. Many revealed that they snacked more than usual while staying at home amidst the coronavirus outbreak.
And what are the most common food items that people snacked on during this time?
Chips, cookies and fruit are among the top snacks that were consumed. But meat-based snacks, like biltong, have also increased in popularity.
This form of dried meat may be less popular than jerky. But it certainly is better in many aspects.
Here are some things you need to know about it and why many people love it.
Biltong and jerky are processed differently.
These two cured meat items have always been compared. But while they are similar, being dried meat pieces, they are also very different.
The South African dried steak is traditionally marinated as a whole piece in vinegar and several spices, making it flavourful. Then, it is hung and air-dried for up to a week. After the drying process, it is cut up into smaller pieces.
On the other hand, American jerky is slow-cooked in low temperatures and dehydrated for eight hours to produce dried meat. As a result, it has a signature smoky taste and is drier than its South African counterpart.
Biltong is easier to eat.
Since it is naturally air-dried and usually cured into medium dryness as a whole piece of meat, this snack comes out softer than dehydrated jerky. However, the middle part of the meat remains slightly moist and tender. It may even be described as fluffy in texture and is, therefore, more enjoyable to chew and eat.
While biltong is softer, jerky is tougher and chewier.
Little to no sugar is added.
Vinegar is the main ingredient used to cure this South African snack staple. Adding some spices, such as black pepper, coriander and salt, completes the traditional recipe.
However, modern takes on this cured meat include some sugar, honey, and many added spices for more flavour. But in its basic form, biltong is sugarless. It has a signature vinegary taste and is savoury and meaty, unlike jerky, which has a bit of sweetness.
It is has a better nutritional value than other snacks.
Everyday snack items like chips and cookies are packed full of sugar and sodium. As a result, they are detrimental to your health, especially when eaten on the regular.
On the other hand, cured meat has a healthier composition, making it the better option when snacking.
Generally, an ounce of biltong, which is considered one serving, is equivalent to:
- 80 kilocalories
- 1 gram carbohydrates
- 16 grams protein
- 2 grams fat
- 35% of daily iron requirement
- 19% of daily sodium requirement
These values will depend on the specific ingredients used. But it is safe to safe that this snack is healthier than others.
There are many reasons why people snack. Unfortunately, most snacks are high in saturated fats, sugar and sodium, making them very unhealthy.
Thankfully, there are better alternatives to junk food that people can snack on. Biltong, for one, is a high protein and low carb snack that’s also rich in iron. The best thing about it is that it tastes great – better than jerky, that is.
So, which would you choose: the tasty, healthy option or health hazard snack?
Alison Lurie is a farmer of words in the field of creativity. She is an experienced independent content writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. She is a multi-niche content chef who loves cooking new things.