What is the weight of biltong after drying?

You will lose up to 45-50% and sometimes up to 60% of the volume of 5kg (11lbs) of raw meat. Meaning from 5 kilogram, you will have about 2.5 kg (5.5lbs) left as end result after 3-7 days of drying.

A 100g serving of lean steak normally delivers 25g of protein; however, eating biltong will double your protein intake, as it’s the same steak but dried 50%. So 50 grams of biltong would still contain 25 proteins.

It is important to note that drying the biltong does not affect the protein content or quality or any good nutrients Biltong contains; only water is lost.

How much does biltong lose weight over days?

Raw Drying / Yield Biltong
Raw steak weights Slightly wet (-40%) Dry Biltong (-50% lost) Very dry Biltong (-60% lost)
kg lbs kg lbs kg lbs kg lbs
10 22 6 13 5 11 4 8.8
5 11 3 6.6 2.5 5.5 2 4.4
2 4.4 1.2 2.6 1 2.2 0.8 1.7

* The terms “slightly wet biltong”, “dry biltong,” and “very dry biltong” are subjective and more of a personal interpretation of us

The amount of biltong you can make from 1 kilogram of lean meat depends on the following:

  1. The size of the piece of meat you are using
  2. How much trim fat is left on the meat
  3. Type of meat (beef, venison, pork…)
  4. Whether and which spices have been added to give the finished product its flavor
  5. Duration of drying
  6. Temperature of drying

1. The size of the piece of meat you are using

The size of the meat you use to make biltong is also important. If you don’t have or leave enough fat on the meat, it will be dry and unable to wrap in a biltong wrap.

This can be solved by adding more oil or fat while making the biltong before serving.

2. How much trim fat is left on the meat

If you want to make biltong, you need to trim the meat first. This will remove excess fat or sinew so the meat will dry out properly.

However, if you leave too much fat on the meat, it won’t dry properly, and your biltong will come out tough and chewy, so you need to find a middle ground.

3. Type of meat (beef, venison, pork…)

Biltong is traditionally made with beef. Venison would be another choice for biltong, if only because it’s a less common meat. Pork and mutton are also good options. Biltong is also made from Chicken, Fish (known as bokkkoms), Game like wildebeest and springbok, and Ostrich meat. This influences the drying time significantly, although for more os us in western countries, we’ll stick to beef/steak.

4. Whether and which spices have been added to give the finished product its flavor

Next, the question asks what spices you used to flavor the finished product. The answer depends on which type of meat you use and how much it weighs per kilogram.

If you use a lean cut of meat that weighs less than 1 kg per kilogram, you will probably be able to make one piece of biltong out of one kilogram of meat.

However, if you use fatty cuts or higher-fat meats such as pork belly or steak, you may need more than one kilogram for that single piece to have enough fat to make biltong.

5. Duration of drying

Biltong can be dried in the sun or an oven at a low temperature – obviously, the longer you dry the biltong, the more it will shrink. However, this is part of the fun of creating and experimenting with making your biltong.

6. Temperature used for drying

Biltong is traditionally dehydrated by hanging the meat in the sun or using the sun or room temperature as a dehydrator.

Using a fan such as an electric fan or your oven to dry biltong is also possible.

However, these methods don’t always work well, and you may need to experiment with different temperatures and drying methods to get the perfect biltong.

How much weight do you lose when drying biltong?

As mentioned above, it depends on a wide range of factors: it starts with the basics: it depends on how long you let the meat dry before trimming it and how much fat has been trimmed.

If dried for a couple of hours, you will lose about 12-13% of the weight, yet it’s not biltong.

Over the next 2 days, it will lose about 20-25%.

However, if it is dried for three to 7 days, it will lose 35-50% of the weight, and you can call it “Biltong.”

So it depends on how you consume your biltong: dry, slightly wet, or very dry.

It’s great fun to experiment with this!