I was on the gritty Southend high street about eight years ago when I came across a South African selling some kind of dried meat. Biltong read his sign. Having never liked American-style jerky, I was about to move on when I noticed his free samples. I’ve never been one to pass up free samples, so I had a taste. Oh my, I was glad I did. It was delicious.
Like a lot of street vendors, he disappeared after a couple of months. Rumour was that he moved back to South Africa. I managed to find a local “mom-and-pop” business that made their own, but it was not as good. Keeping my eye open at the supermarket, I did spot some brands in the snack aisle. Again, they were never as good as that first experience. Some of them were kind of “chemically” in flavour probably from the preservatives.
Then a couple of weeks ago it occurred to me that there is this thing called “Amazon” and maybe, it had more varieties worth exploring. Surprise, surprise, there are all kinds of companies hocking their biltong wares there. I even came across one that had tried in the past, but was not very happy with all the ingredients:
And then I found Smally’s Biltong and looked at the ingredients: grass fed British beef, roasted coriander, rock salt, black cracked pepper, apple cider vinegar and potassium sorbate. The only question mark was the potassium sorbate. As preservatives go, this one appears to be okay.
How does Smally’s taste? It is as close to the South African street vendor’s as I think I’ll ever find. It is delicious and about as keto as it comes. It’s all meat for crying out loud. This is a great product in my opinion, and I’m glad I stumbled across it. The only downside is that it’s pretty expensive. Beef isn’t cheap, and I’m guessing the drying process means you need pretty big ovens. Despite the price, this is my new go-to snack.