If you are like most people and only buy a pack of biltong now and then, you definitely don’t need a biltong cutter. However, if you have the hobby of making your own biltong or even run a small business selling dried meat, there are several reasons why you should invest in one.
We have another article that is a thorough guide on how to slice biltong like a professional.
Either way, we get it. Why would you buy a dedicated cutter when you can get the job done with a set of knives? Not to mention that an average cutter costs about $85, while you can get a set of large knives for half the price?
The answer is simple: using a cutter or slicer will make your life better and easier in so many different ways, and we’ll discuss some of them in this article.
5 Reasons You Need A Biltong Cutter
1. It’s so much Easier
To understand how easier it is to use a designated cutter instead of a knife, you must first understand how each method works. If you use a knife, position your dried meat on a clean, flat surface like a cutting board and simply slice through the biltong as you would any other food.
With the most common knives, you typically have a block of wood that resembles a cutting board with an upright block of wood on top. Then you have a large adjustable blade with a handle attached to the block of wood.
To cut the biltong, simply position the part you want to cut directly under the blade and press down on the handle with enough force to cut through it.
This makes things much easier because not only is it sturdier, but it’s also more ergonomic, and you can use the controlled pressure motion of the blade to cut through with minimal effort.
2. It’s Faster and Less Time-Consuming
If we’re honest, using a knife and a board is not as efficient as one would like to think because you spend so much time is spent mounting the biltong to the board and trying to cut the biltong cleanly without hurting yourself.
If you use a slicer, you still have to assemble your dried meat, but since you only have to press the handle once to slice the biltong, you can work much faster.
You can save even more time using an electric slicer or a manual slicer with a slicing blade. (More on this below)
3. It is cleaner
There are always times when your biltong is too dry, making it difficult to cut, or maybe your knife isn’t sharp enough. Whatever the case may be, I’m sure you’ve found yourself sliding your knife back and forth to cut your dried meat.
While this works, it usually leads to quite a mess as small pieces of dried meat fly all over the place. With a single push on the handle of a biltong slicer, you can cut your dried meat into even and neat pieces.
4. It’s more consistent
Obviously, with a slicer, you have better control over the thickness of your slices or chunks. So they all have the same shape and thickness.
5. It’s (so!) much safer
This is perhaps the most important reason for anyone playing with sharp kitchen utensils… Regardless of the type of cutter, the blade is always fixed to the utensil to not move in any other direction.
This makes cutting much safer, as you have less chance of losing control of the blade and potentially injuring yourself.
The 3 Types of Biltong Cutters
There are several different types of dried meat cutters out there, and while they are built for the same purpose, each offers its own unique benefits. Here are three common biltong slicers:
1. The Wooden Hand Cutter
This is the most common type of cutter and is mostly used by the general public. You should opt for it if you are simply a Biltong enthusiast.
The wooden Hand Cutter consists of a wooden board, an upright wooden block attached to it, and a sharp stainless steel blade with a handle extending from the wooden block.
How it works: Using this equipment is honestly a walk in a park. All you have to do is place your dried meat on the board, line with the blade, and press down the handle.
2. The Hand/Manual Biltong Multi Slicer
The Hand Slicer is essentially a wheel-like device with a sharp, disk-shaped blade, a handle, and a biltong catcher. This is the ideal device if you want a consistent size for your slices or pieces.
How it works: To begin, you will need to place the unit on a stable surface such as a countertop, then position the biltong on the edge of the blade and turn the handle to begin cutting. There is a screw on the outside of the handle that allows you to adjust the blade to either thinly slice or chop your biltong.
3. The Electric Biltong Cutter
The electric biltong cutter is very similar to the manual multi-cutter, the only difference being that it has no handle and, as the name implies, it is electric. Small business owners most commonly use it because it can cut large quantities of biltong quickly.
How it works: Despite its somewhat complicated design, the electric cutter is by far the easiest to use. First, you need to mount it on a stand, tabletop, or other stable, flat surface. Next, you turn the device on by pressing a button, and then you begin to feed your dried meat into the mouthpiece, and the machine will do the rest.
Despite its somewhat complicated design, the electric cutter is by far the easiest to use. First, you need to mount it on a stand, tabletop, or other stable, flat surface.
Next, you turn the device on by pressing a button, and then you begin to feed your dried meat into the mouthpiece, and the machine will do the rest.
What to Look for in a Biltong Cutter
Warranty: the first thing you should look for when buying a slicer is the warranty. These devices are quite expensive. To avoid having to replace them soon after you bought them, make sure they have at least a one or a two-year warranty.
Brand: well-known or trusted brands are known to offer quality products and reliable after-sale services. If you choose a trusted brand (not from AliExpress!), the chances of buying low-quality, short-lived products are very low, and it’ll be easier to find replacement parts.
Material: Certain materials are known to be more durable and effective. This means you should opt for a cutter with a stainless steel blade and a cutting block made of strong, durable wood. If you want to buy an electric cutter, the exterior should be chrome-plated.
Adjustable Slice Size: This is honestly a no-brainer because one of the benefits of a biltong cutter is that you can adjust the blade to get the slice size you want.
Blade Sharpener: The more you use your slicer, the duller the blade will become over time. For this reason, you need to buy a slicer that comes with a sharpener. Or at least with the possibility of being able to sharpen it.
Biltong Cutters: Safety Precautions
This guide would not be complete with the following tips and precautions that will help you minimize the risk of accidents and possible harm when using a cutter.
- Whether manual or electric, dried meat cutters are not dishwasher-friendly, safe; they must be washed by hand.
- Avoid using these tools in dark or dim environments.
- Be sure to place your cutter on a flat, level, and even surface. Avoid hot or wet surfaces.
- Check that all parts are properly assembled before operating the tool.
- It is NOT a good idea to start slicing your Biltong after or during a party, although you might think at that moment it’s the right thing to do since you want some biltong. Be smart: slice before that party begins.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with using a butcher knife or even a regular sharp kitchen knife. But a biltong cutter just offers more benefits like ease of use and efficiency and mainly safety. Plus, it’s multi-functional so that you can use it for other foods like frozen meat and even…