It’s been a while. The last time I made Kangaroo Biltong (way back in Round 2) I was far from impressed. It wasn’t bad, but it was almost totally dominated by the chunks of coriander, so it wasnt very good either. Round 3 was a little similar – it was more pleasant overall but still not great – I really liked the spices but they didn’t stand out enough. I kept thinking back to Round 1, where the slight sweetness of the meat left a really pleasant aftertaste that the subsequent Rounds lacked. Which brings us to Round 4…
I’ve kept the key element from Round 2 – coriander, but halved the amount and made it a lot finer (no chunks this time). I also added some of my favourite spices – fennel, cardamom and cinnamon to help get that lovely ‘spiced’ flavour I’ve enjoyed with some store-bought biltong. And I added sugar. I’ve been trying to cut back on carbs, which is why I often leave sweetener out of recipes, or cut back on the amount or use an alternate source (in Round 2 I used coconut sugar instead of brown sugar). Round 1 used maple syrup and there was a subtle sweetness to the jerky that helped make it ‘good’. In Mary Bell’s Just Jerky book (a.k.a “the jerky bible”) almost all the recipes contain sugar in some form, so I suspect this may be the key to jerky success. Therefore, I’m trying out maple syrup again, but you can certainly leave it out if you’re after sugar-free (please post below on how that goes).
- 1 dessert spoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp chilli flakes
- 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
- 1 cardamom pod
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp pink rock salt + extra ground
- 1 dessert spoon organic maple syrup
- 350g kangaroo steaks, thinly sliced into long strips
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Place all the dry ingredients into a mortar and pestle and grind until fine. I did it in stages (coriander first, black pepper, flakes, fennel, salt and cinnamon) as the seeds tend to get a little over excited and jump out of the mortar if you’ve got too much going on in there.
Once ground, mix in the maple syrup (if using).
Place the kangaroo strips into a glass (or other non-reactive) bowl. Sprinkle with ACV and mix well. Spoon on the mortar paste (or powder if no syrup) and mix in with your fingers, ensuring the strips are evenly coated. Cover and place in the refrigerator for at least an hour, ideally overnight. Mine was in there 24 hours. After I took the container out of the fridge, I ground on a little more of the salt (about 3-5 twists worth) and mixed well.
Remove strips from container, and place in food dehydrator (try not to put too many together on the one tray as you need air flow) and let the dehydrator do its thing for at least 6 hours, turning at least once to ensure even drying. I like to move the trays around too but that has more to do with my impatience than any special technique. I ended up cutting some of my ‘roo quite thick (by jerky standards) so some of the pieces I left for 8 hours (I took the thinner ones out at 6) to make sure they’d dried all the way through.
SUPERB! I am loving this jerky. You can taste all the various spices but nothing dominates (I think grinding them quite finely helped), the chilli is mild (you could always add more if you prefer hot) and it has a very subtle sweetness. I will definitely be making this one again!! 🙂