Who doesn't like dried meat, really? I mean sure, you get your vegetarians, fruitarians... Whatever, but of all the omnivores great and small, a meat loving human consumes more than them all. And while an amazing eye fillet, or delectable duck breast never goes astray, there are many times when nothing is more fitting then some jerky or other form of dried meat. Now, I don't know about you, but unfortunately my jerky experience is largely limited to the slightly oily and rather suspicious looking hunks of semi-dried meat substance that you purchase at petrol stations or liquor stores.
But there is something so much more than that - in fact, there is a society very near to our own that has elevated dried meat to a near spiritual level. And while you may think I mean Argentinians and their penchant for BBQ (a good guess), what I am actually referring to is South Africans and their obsession with biltong - a form of dried meat.
"We eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner mate," says the owner and founder of Safari Biltong, "and for snacks in between - can never get enough of the stuff." Shit, I think to myself, that's the kind of meat eating attitude I can get on-board with. So, I sat down to try all the forms of dried meat on offer, to both explain to those (like me) who were ignorant of this customary South African snack, and also just tell you what I think.
Whilst common for 24/7 consumption, it holds a special place in drinking/sports game watching - and their new store on New North Road, a few miles from Eden Park is conveniently situated on the walking trail for games - and it's not a bad idea to stop by grab yourself some sticks, strips or chips.
Biltong - it doesn't come more classic than this in terms of dried meat - long strips of dried beef made over for to five days, comes in large hunks, chips or strips. Taste wise it's classic, refined and delicious.
Chilli Biltong - boom, why not add some spice to that badboy? Same as above, but with more of a punch. Good stuff, and the spice adds another reason to wash down some more chilled beers. You know, for your own good.
Cabanossi - ok this one i actually did know - just like the fancy butcheries from when i was a good. Long, thin sausages made from beef and pork. They've got a much fuller flavour, are hearty and rich and I ate several.
Droewors - these are a darker sausage, smokey and flavoursome - lamb and beef. Well worth a sample.
Now I can't speak for other specialty dried meat stores, but Safari Biltong was for me both tasty as hell and a new experience. I've never been to South Africa, hell, maybe now I don't need to, but the store is defiently worth checking out the next time you need a snack, are having the boys round for drinks or just need something to sink your teeth into.