Why I Sometimes Prefer a Food Dehydrator Over Traditional Biltong Drying or a Biltong Box

Traditionally, biltong was dried by hanging it in a cool and dry space with good ventilation, but nowadays, modern technology has introduced more efficient ways of drying biltong.

One of these methods is using a food dehydrator or a biltong box.

What is a Food Dehydrator?

Like most of us, I wasn’t familiar with many cooking appliances. A food dehydrator is an electrical appliance that removes moisture from food items, typically or mostly for fruits and vegetables but also: meats. It works by circulating hot air through the food, drying it out.

This drying method is faster and more efficient than traditional methods, allowing for better control of the drying process.

Advantages of Using a Food Dehydrator for Biltong Drying


One of the main advantages of using a food dehydrator is its convenience. Unlike traditional biltong drying methods, a food dehydrator does not require a lot of space or special conditions. All you need to do is place the meat in the dehydrator and let it dry.

This means you can make biltong any time of the year, regardless of the weather!


Another advantage of using a food dehydrator is that it provides consistent results. Traditional biltong drying methods rely on the weather conditions and the environment in which the meat is hung.

With a food dehydrator, you can set the temperature and the drying time, ensuring that your biltong is dried evenly and consistently every time.


Using a food dehydrator for biltong drying also provides a more hygienic option. Traditional biltong drying methods involve hanging the meat in a cool and dry space, which can be a breeding ground for bacteria and other contaminants.

On the other hand, a food dehydrator is designed to dry food quickly and efficiently, reducing the risk of contamination.


Finally, and maybe most important: using a food dehydrator for biltong drying saves time. Traditional biltong drying methods can take up to a week to dry the meat properly.

With a food dehydrator, the process can be completed in as little as 24 hours, depending on the thickness of the meat.

Disadvantages of Using a Food Dehydrator for Biltong Drying

While there are many advantages to using a food dehydrator for biltong drying, there are also some disadvantages.


Food dehydrators can be expensive, and the initial investment may be prohibitive for some people. However, it is important to remember that a food dehydrator is a long-term investment and can be used for drying other food items besides biltong.

Although, technically, you can let biltong just air-dry (and the process to make it would be free), now there’s a start-up cost involved.


Traditional biltong drying methods often result in a unique flavor that is difficult to replicate with a food dehydrator.

While a food dehydrator can produce excellent biltong, it may lack the authentic flavor that some people prefer.


Using a food dehydrator requires electricity, which may not be available in some locations or during power outages. This means that traditional biltong drying methods may be more reliable in certain situations.


While traditional biltong drying methods are still popular, there are many advantages to using a food dehydrator for biltong drying. Food dehydrators offer convenience, consistency, hygiene, and time-saving benefits.

However, it is important to consider the initial cost, the potential lack of authentic flavor, and the need for electricity when deciding whether to use a food dehydrator or traditional methods for drying biltong.

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