How do you know when biltong is off?

Biltong,  South Africa’s beloved popular snack, is gaining popularity worldwide for its unique flavor and nutritional benefits, including high protein content and low fat.

However, as with any food product, it’s important to know how to detect if biltong has gone bad.

Eating spoiled biltong (or beef jerky) can cause severe stomach upset or, in extreme cases, food poisoning. Biltong is raw meat that’s only been naturally dried.

We’ll cover the signs and symptoms of spoiled biltong and what to do if you suspect your biltong has gone bad.

We have an essential article on how to store and preserve your biltong too.

Following these 5 simple tips below, you can ensure that your biltong is safe to consume and enjoy its unique flavor and nutritional benefits.

1. Always trust your nose – smell that biltong!

The first step in knowing if your biltong has gone bad is to smell it and take a good big sniff. Cured meat like this should emit a pleasant and savory aroma.

If you detect any strange or unpleasant smell, it is likely that the biltong has gone bad and should be discarded.

2. Check for mold

Check for mold

Mold is a sign that the meat went bad. However, it cannot be very clear when it comes to biltong. Those white spots can also be leftovers from salt left from drying.

Biltong becomes moldy when there is moisture in the air and little circulation. It can also occur after curing if storage conditions are poor.

Wetter biltong suffers more from mold problems than dry cuts.

We have a full article dedicated to detecting biltong mold in-depth.

If you see any signs of mold, discard the biltong immediately.

3. Check the color and discoloration

Check the color and discoloration

The third step you can take is to check the color of the meat. If the biltong is still a bright red-brown color, that’s a good indication. On the other hand, if the meat starts to look slimy or has a strange color – changed to gray or green – it indicates that your biltong is spoiled.

4. Check the texture

Check the texture

Another step in detecting if biltong has gone bad is to check its texture. Biltong is usually quite dry and tough to the touch, so if it feels soft, slimy, or wet, this could indicate it has likely gone bad.

5. Check the expiration date

Whenever you buy biltong, check the expiry date when you buy it in the store or receive it from Amazon.

Biltong should not be consumed after the expiry date, which should be printed on the packaging (although we also bought biltong online without any dates!).

So as a good rule of thumb, before consuming any new biltong, look for signs of spoilage, such as discoloration, an off odor, or a slimy feel or texture. 

Detecting if biltong has gone bad is a relatively straightforward process. First, look for any signs of spoilage, such as discoloration, mold growth, and a pungent smell. If any of these are present, discard the biltong as it is no longer safe to eat.

Be sure to store your biltong correctly and in an airtight container to reduce the chances that it doesn’t go well. 

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