When the power goes out… we make biltong.

blog-6710blog-6741 blog-6766We recently went without electricity for 28 hours straight, followed by an hour on and 6 hours off for another two days.  May not sound like much, but it was 110 degrees Fahrenheit, dusty, dusty, dusty, and miserable outside.  Opening windows was not a reprieve from the heat, and made my littlest guy cough for hours.  Summer in Cairo is not for the weak of heart.

We lost the contents of both our freezers, and refrigerators.  The only milk for the boys was UHT – ghastly stuff, but necessary.  I started cooking every piece of meat I could on our gas stovetop  once everything defrosted.

Before refrigeration, meat was preserved by salting or drying, and the very lovely (and now traditional) result where I grew up was biltong.  Since we had meat, and plenty of motive for wanting to save what we could, we made a bit.  Here’s our process.

Cut meat with the grain into appropriate strips (we do about half an inch) and place in a flat dish.  Cover with about a cup and a half of vinegar, mixed with a quarter cup of worcestershire sauce.  Leave overnight. (In the fridge when its working.)

The next day, dry the biltong as much as possible (I squeeze it gently between two clean dish towels), roll in the spice mix, and hang.  We use a biltong box.

Note: spice mixes are all over the internet.  Ours is a hit and miss mix of a bit of this and that, but always includes abundant salt and coriander.