What is wet biltong?

Yes, wet Biltong is indeed a thing. It is a moist and tender variation of the traditional South African dried meat snack called Biltong. I’ve discovered that wet Biltong is cured and air-dried but not to the extent of its dry counterpart, which gives it a distinctively juicy and flavorful profile.

Wet Biltong’s Origin and Popularity

The concept of wet Biltong emerged as a delicious alternative to traditional Biltong. The shortened drying process maintains the meat’s moisture, resulting in a unique and delectable snack that has gained popularity in South Africa and worldwide.

The differences between wet and dry Biltong

The differences between wet and dry Biltong mainly lie in the texture, moisture content, and drying process.

1. Texture

In my experience, wet Biltong has a more tender and moist texture than dry Biltong. This is due to the shorter drying time, which leaves the meat juicier. On the other hand, dry Biltong is firmer and tougher because it is dried longer.

2. Moisture content

Wet Biltong has a higher moisture content than dry Biltong, giving it a distinctive, succulent taste. Dry Biltong, as the name suggests, has less moisture, resulting in a drier and chewier snack.

3. Drying process

The drying process is a crucial factor distinguishing wet Biltong from dry Biltong. When I make wet Biltong, I air-dry the marinated meat strips for a shorter period, typically between 24 to 72 hours, depending on the desired level of moistness.

In contrast, dry Biltong requires a longer drying time, ranging from several days to a few weeks, depending on the desired firmness and the specific recipe.

These differences in texture, moisture content, and drying process contribute to the unique taste and mouthfeel of wet and dry Biltong, catering to different preferences among Biltong enthusiasts.

Is wet and dry Biltong – the same as hard and soft Biltong?

Yes, wet and dry Biltong can be considered the same as soft and hard Biltong, respectively, as these terms essentially describe the texture of the Biltong.

Wet Biltong (soft Biltong): Wet Biltong has a higher moisture content due to the shorter drying process, resulting in a softer, more tender texture. It is often referred to as soft Biltong because of its succulent, juicy quality.

Dry Biltong (hard Biltong): Dry Biltong, on the other hand, has a lower moisture content and a firmer, tougher texture. It undergoes a longer drying process, producing a drier, harder final product. Thus, it is also known as hard Biltong.

Both wet (soft) and dry (hard) biltong varieties are derived from the same curing and drying process, with the primary difference being the length of the drying time, which determines the moisture content and texture of the final product.

There are differences in storage requirements for wet and dry Biltong.

Storing wet and dry Biltong requires different methods due to their varying moisture content and shelf life.

Here are the differences in storage methods for wet and dry Biltong based on my experience:

1. Shelf life

Wet Biltong, with its higher moisture content, has a shorter shelf life than dry Biltong. It usually lasts for up to a week when stored correctly. Dry Biltong, being less moist, can last several weeks or even months, depending on the specific drying process and storage conditions.

2. Storage temperature

Both wet and dry Biltong should be stored in cool and dry environments, away from direct sunlight. However, due to the higher moisture content of wet Biltong, it is more susceptible to spoilage and should be stored at lower temperatures, preferably in a refrigerator.

3. Storage containers

When storing wet Biltong, I use an airtight container and place it in the refrigerator to maintain its freshness and prevent spoilage. Consuming wet Biltong within a week is important for the best flavor and texture.

For dry Biltong, I store it in a cool, dry place, either in a paper bag or a breathable container that allows air circulation. This helps prevent any condensation and mold growth. Airtight containers can also be used for dry Biltong if kept in a cool, dry environment.

However, I avoid storing dry Biltong in plastic bags, as they can trap moisture and promote mold growth.

In summary, the key differences in storing wet and dry Biltong lie in the shelf life, storage temperature, and the type of storage containers used. Proper storage is essential to maintain the quality, flavor, and freshness of both wet and dry Biltong.


To sum it up, I’ve discovered the following:

  • That wet Biltong is a tasty and nutritious snack, offering a tender and juicy alternative to the drier dry Biltong.
  • The main differences between wet and dry Biltong are their texture, moisture content, and drying process.
  • Wet Biltong, or soft Biltong, can be made from various types of meat and flavors, providing an array of options to suit my taste preferences.
  • As a high-protein, low-fat snack, I appreciate wet Biltong’s numerous health benefits and versatility in various dishes and recipes.
  • Proper storage is essential for maintaining the freshness and quality of wet Biltong, with key factors being shelf life, storage temperature, and container type.

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