In the world of delectable, protein-packed snacks, two names often rise above the rest: beef jerky vs biltong. Both possess a rich history, a legion of devoted fans, and a tantalizing flavor that leaves taste buds begging for more.
But when it comes down to the ultimate snack showdown, which one takes the crown between biltong vs beef jerky? While each has its unique qualities, we believe there's a clear winner. And, that’s beef jerky.
In this head-to-head battle, we'll touch on the critical considerations of these two snack titans. You’ll discover key differences in origins, preparation methods, nutritional facts, taste, and more before we ultimately reveal why we hold beef jerky in higher esteem.
So sit back, let your snack curiosity take the driver's seat, and join us on this culinary journey as we unravel the mystery of beef jerky vs biltong. First, we want to highlight the beef jerky biltong differences.
What’s the Difference Between Beef Jerky and Biltong?
Before we can compare and contrast beef jerky vs biltong side by side, we need to set the stage for the conversation. After all, the different preparation methods for these snacks ultimately lead to one rising above the other.
You may be familiar with beef jerky, but biltong is a relatively new snack. What are its origins, and how is it made? We’re glad you asked.
Below, we’ll offer an overview of both these meat-based snacks to provide you with clarity before we get into the juicy details of what separates them from one another.
An Overview of How Beef Jerky is Made
We recently wrote an entire article on who invented beef jerky and the snack’s extensive history - which dates back to the 1500s. A lot has changed since then, but one thing remains constant: jerky is a delicious, nutritious snack that belongs in everyone’s rotation!
What is beef jerky made out of, though? As you probably already know, the journey of beef jerky begins with a premium cut of lean meat, often from the beef round. This cut is first trimmed of fat, as fat can cause the jerky to spoil faster.
Next, the meat is sliced into thin, uniform pieces. These slices are then marinated in a mixture of spices, salt, and often a bit of sweetener, which not only adds to the beef jerky taste but also helps to preserve the meat. While beef jerky can go bad after opening, these preservatives go a long way in dictating how long beef jerky lasts.
After marinating, the meat slices are drained and then slowly dried at a low temperature in a dehydrator or a smoker. This process can take several hours and requires careful monitoring to ensure the jerky is dried to perfection without being overdone.
The end result is a chewy, flavorful, and protein-rich snack that's easy to store and convenient to enjoy. But, how does it compare to biltong? Let’s take a look at the other half of this conversation…
An Overview of How Biltong is Made
Biltong, on the other hand, hails from South Africa and is prepared a bit differently. Biltong is usually made from larger cuts of beef, which are marinated in a unique blend of vinegar, salt, sugar, and spices. This combination not only imparts flavor but also acts as a curing agent.
Instead of being dried with heat as beef jerky is, the marinated biltong is air-dried in a controlled environment for several days to weeks. This minor variation in production makes a major difference in the end - as we’ll discuss later on. Remember this point when that time comes.
Once dried, the slabs of meat can then be sliced into thin pieces for consumption. The resulting product is thicker and often softer than beef jerky, with a distinct tangy flavor profile from the vinegar marinade.
In essence, while beef jerky and biltong share similarities as dehydrated meat snacks, their distinct preparation methods lead to differences in taste, texture, and overall eating experience. Let’s progress this conversation further by comparing beef jerky vs biltong side by side below.
Biltong vs Beef Jerky: Which is Better?
While many consider biltong and beef jerky as interchangeable snacks that more or less look the same, taste the same, and achieve the same goals, you’re here to find the best snack possible. And only one can earn that title in the biltong vs beef jerky debate.
While each of these has unique flavor profiles worth exploring, one stands alone as the premier choice. And we’re going to help you find out which it is, and why.
So join us below as we put both these meat snacks under a microscope, analyzing which is healthier, which tastes better, and other key considerations to help you feel clear and confident shopping for your next batch of snacks!
Protein and Other Nutritional Facts
When it comes to protein content, both beef jerky vs biltong are excellent sources. However, beef jerky protein tends to be slightly higher. For instance, a 1-ounce serving of beef jerky can provide about 9-14 grams of protein, while the same serving size of biltong usually delivers around 7-10 grams.
As for fat content, it varies based on the specific cut of meat used and the marinating ingredients, but both are generally considered low-fat snacks. However, it's worth noting that because beef jerky is usually made from leaner cuts of meat, it often has slightly less fat than biltong.
This means that beef jerky will also be lower in calories - as more of the content can be attributed to protein than fat. The end result is that healthy beef jerky takes the cake from a nutritional standpoint.
While it’s not much, it certainly adds up in the long run. If you’re worried about gaining weight or meeting some other nutritional goal, these subtle intricacies between biltong vs beef jerky cannot be overlooked. With that said, this is just the first consideration in the beef jerky vs biltong debate - so let’s move on to the next point.
Taste and Texture
In terms of taste, beef jerky offers a wide array of flavors, ranging from sweet to spicy and smoky, thanks to its diverse marinade options. Biltong, on the other hand, has a tangier taste due to the vinegar used in its preparation.
When it comes to texture, beef jerky is typically drier and chewier, while biltong can range from soft and juicy to hard and chewy, depending on how long it's dried. If you prefer a snack with a bit of a bite, beef jerky might be your go-to.
So in the end, it really comes down to personal preference. Do you want something juicier and tangier? Biltong may be a better choice. On the other hand, beef jerky is a bit chewier and want to explore a more diverse range of flavors, it’s the right choice for you.
It’s impossible to say one is necessarily better than the other in the beef biltong vs jerky debate from a taste standpoint. As you can see, it all depends on what you’re looking for in a snack. However, the next point - availability - is a bit more black and white…
These days, it’s easier than ever to buy what you want online no matter where you are in the world. And, snacks are no exception to this rule.
Beef jerky is readily available in most supermarkets, convenience stores, and online across the globe. Biltong, while becoming more accessible, is often less readily available outside of South Africa, making beef jerky the more convenient choice for many.
Stay tuned to the end as we’ll let you in on a little secret about where to buy beef jerky that will leave you speechless. For now, let’s look at beef biltong vs beef jerky from a longevity and storage standpoint
Longevity and Storage
Both beef jerky vs biltong have impressive shelf lives due to their drying processes. However, beef jerky, due to its lower moisture content and often vacuum-sealed packaging, typically lasts longer unopened than biltong.
Once opened, both beef jerky and biltong should be consumed within a few days for maximum freshness. Again, this is a wash - but you can learn more about how to tell if beef jerky is bad in our blog. We also have articles on how to store beef jerky after opening, including a guide on freezing beef jerky.
Back to the beef biltong vs beef jerky debate, though. Let’s address dietary restrictions/preferences next…
For those on specific diets like Keto, Paleo, or gluten-free, beef jerky can often be a more suitable choice. It's easier to find beef jerky products with minimal ingredients, no added sugars, and no gluten.
Biltong, due to the use of vinegar in its preparation, may not be suitable for individuals with certain dietary restrictions or sensitivities.
Like many other factors we’ve touched on thus far, this is something you need to consider from your own unique perspective. It may matter, or it may not. But, one thing that matters to everyone is cost - so let’s talk about the final consideration in the beef biltong vs jerky comparison…
When it comes to price, both snacks can vary significantly based on the brand, quality of the meat, and where it's purchased.
However, due to its wider availability and diverse range of options, you may find that beef jerky offers more variety in price points, making it more accessible for different budgets. Biltong is regarded as a more “premium” snack, and as such, you’ll typically pay a higher price for it.
Now, with that said, you can also come across jerky snacks with a hefty cost as well. Why is beef jerky so expensive sometimes? It comes down to small batch production, premium sourcing, and reputation.
Even still, beef jerky is typically the more affordable choice. And at this point, it’s time to bring it all to a close and give you our say on the matter. Which is better, beef jerky or biltong?
So, Which is Better: Biltong vs Beef Jerky?
We've explored the journey of both beef jerky and biltong from their humble beginnings as simple cuts of meat to the flavorful, protein-packed snacks they become in the end. It's clear that both have their unique charm, cultural significance, and enticing flavors that cater to different palates.
However, looking at the bigger picture and taking into account not just taste, but also nutritional benefits, availability, longevity, suitability for different diets, and price, beef jerky seems to have a slight edge.
Its higher protein content, wider flavor variety, excellent shelf-life, and broader availability make it an undeniably versatile snack. Its compatibility with various dietary preferences, from Keto to Paleo and gluten-free, also adds to its appeal. All things considered, it’s no surprise beef jerky is still the people’s favorite - outshining biltong dramatically.
But remember, the best snack for you ultimately depends on your personal preferences, dietary needs, and lifestyle. Whether you're reaching for a post-workout protein boost, a convenient snack on a road trip, or a tasty treat to enjoy during a movie night at home, the best snack is the one that not only satiates your hunger but also brings you joy.
So, while we make a case for the versatile and universally loved beef jerky, we invite you to explore, taste, and make the choice that feels right for you. But, if you are convinced that premium jerky is the snack for you, we’ve got just the thing…
For the Finest Jerky Products Online, Look No Further Than Mahogany Smoked Meats!
Knowing the clear winner in the beef biltong vs beef jerky debate, the only question now is…where should you go to get your hands on the best jerky online? Look no further. At Mahogany Smoked Meats, we’re proud to be known as the premier place to buy beef jerky online.
We source our meats with strict standards for quality and produce our jerky in small batches - the same way we have since our humble beginnings in 1922. A lot has changed since then, but we remain passionate about our commitment to providing you with the best online beef jerky options available.
A big reason we’re still trusted by people around the world for our jerky treats is our unique mahogany smoking process. We’re the only smokehouse in the nation to use this lumber in our process, and the unique flavor profile is what sets us apart from the rest.
With so many different flavors to try, you’ll never get bored with our selection either. And, we have so much more than delicious beef jerky awaiting you in our catalog. Check out our turkey jerky, elk jerky, buffalo jerky, wild boar jerky, and fish jerky while you’re at it!
Wrapping Up Our Conversation on Beef Jerky vs Biltong
At this point, it’s time to bring our conversation on beef jerky vs biltong to a close. We’ve meticulously compared and contrasted these two popular meat snacks to help you determine which one belongs in your pantry if you had to choose just one.
From a nutritional standpoint, beef jerky is the clear winner. Many still prefer its taste to biltong as well. And, it may last longer while adhering to more dietary preferences/restrictions and budgets.
All things considered, it’s no wonder the beef biltong vs beef jerky debate has such as clear winner. So, what are you waiting for? Explore our full selection of smoked meats for sale and experience the difference firsthand!