Biltong is a type of dried, seasoned sliced meat, very much like jerky, but with a more specific method of curing and drying. Whereas jerky is marinated for several hours and often dehydrated in smokers and ovens, biltong is rubbed with salt and vinegar and dried at room temperature for several days, resulting in a more tender, aged flavor.
Jonty Jacobs brand of biltong is made in the USA in a USDA inspected facility. They offer two types of Biltong, this Lean Cut, and a "Traditional Cut", which leaves some of the fat on. Jonty Jacobs also sells its own seasoning blend separately, encouraging you to sprinkle a bit more for additional kick.
Beef, salt, brown sugar, vinegar, flavorings.
The first thing I taste from the surface of these pieces is a vinegar flavor. There's a touch of salt and notes of coriander seed. Seems like some garlic too.
The chewing brings in the natural meat flavors, with more of the surface flavors, but with a light bit of sweet.
For being marketed as biltong, it indeed looks and tastes just like classic biltong, the kind that South Africa is known for. It has that vinegary base with the coriander seed flavoring that seems to define biltong.
Compared to other brands of biltong I've reviewed here, this seems to have a little more of a fatty flavor and texture, even though it's marketed as "Lean Cut". It also a little more saltiness, but still not too salty. It also seems to have some garlic tones, and the touch of sweet also seems to set this apart from other brands.
Overall, the ingredients combine to create the classic biltong flavor, but seems to add in touches that shifts this a little towards jerky, I think due to the bits of garlic and sweet.
The natural meat flavors coming in from the chewing are light against the other ingredients, yet still manage contribute something substantial to the overall taste.
As far as spice is concerned this biltong is mild, generating no heat. The level of saltiness in this feels moderate.
These are slices of whole meat, sliced thin, into bite sized pieces. There's also several tiny bits of meat.
This is a semi-moist chew with a slightly oily surface feel. Chewing is very easy.
The chewing texture starts out feeling soft and pliable, offering no resistance. It chews down easily and quickly down to a soft mass, providing a meaty texture, but not like steak. It feels more like slices of roast beef and/or ham.
Even though this is billed as "Lean Cut", there are still several pieces with significant streaks of fat. For the most part, it's void of stringiness and unchewable tissues, but here and there I still feel small wads of difficult chewing. Otherwise, it's very meaty.
As for clean eating, I get a fine film of oil on my fingertips, but still dry enough to touch my keyboard.
Jonty Jacobs sells this Lean Cut Biltong at a price of $9.99 for a 4oz package. If you bought four packages, the total with shipping and sales tax to Southern California comes to $51.21. That's a price of $3.20 per ounce.
For general meat snacking purposes, at the $3.20 per ounce price, this is a fair value. Compared to other brands of biltong I've reviewed, it's substantially pricey, yet provides a flavor and chewing that's comparable. It is, however, a more unique flavor due to its ingredients, which for some may justify the additional cost.
This Lean Cut of Biltong from Jonty Jacobs offers an addicting flavor very much like the classic biltong you expect from South Africa. It has a lightly tangy vinegar base with a noticeable and enjoyable coriander seasoning. But it seems to go beyond that with touches of sweet and garlic, creating a more unique flavor than what I've found in other biltong brands. It also offers soft, tender chew that produces a light natural meat flavor.
And that addition of garlic and sweet, perhaps, may help ease the transition for jerky lovers to biltong.
I also tried sprinkling some extra Jonty Jacobs seasoning and found it certainly does liven up the flavor, particularly adding more cayenne pepper heat and more garlic tanginess.
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