Processing of South African biltong – A review
South Africa has been producing biltong for many years and its popularity is increasing locally and internationally. Biltong is commonly grouped with other dried meat products from around the world, but with its unique production method and expanding economic value, an increase in knowledge on the subject is in high demand. In this paper, biltong processing and quality are reviewed to highlight areas in which knowledge is still lacking. It shows that biltong processing varies resulting in the wide physico-chemical characteristics reported in the literature. However, consumer preference is still an area that lacks scientific data/evidence. Previous research on biltong has focused on the pathogenic microorganisms and not on its spoilage and shelf-life. Moreover, the effects of the various processing methods on the physico-chemical characteristics and resulting microbial stability has not been investigated. Knowledge of these could enable an increase in the quality of biltong.
Keywords: Drying, meat product, microbiology, physico-chemical, salting, shelf-life