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 Traditional cut, which leaves more of the fat on, and a "Lean Cut", which we reviewed last week. 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 light vinegar flavor with a saltiness and a touch of sweet. I can also pick up a bit of garlic.
The chewing brings in the natural meat flavors, with perhaps a more defined vinegar flavor and sweetness.
For being marketed as "Traditional Cut", said to offer more of the meat's natural flavor, this does seem to fit the billing. For one, it's more oily to the touch compared to their Lean Cut, and it does have a more "beefy" flavor, more specifically a little more oily in flavor, bringing in some more of the aging.
Otherwise, the flavors that seem to define this biltong is much like with the Lean Cut, having that classic South African style biltong taste that starts with a vinegar base with coriander seasoning, but adding a touch of garlic and sweet. But this Traditional Cut brings in more of an oily flavor, imparting a "beefier" taste overall, which tends to compete against the vinegar and coriander base.
The ingredients combine to create an addicting, snackable flavor that reminds me of eating slices of salami, but less salty and spicy, and more of a beef flavor. The vinegar and coriander still seem dominate the palate, as traditional biltong does, yet throws in a noticeable 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 an 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.
In this Traditional Cut, there are several pieces with significant streaks of fat, just as the company claims. For the most part, it's void of stringiness and unchewable tissues, but here and there I still feel small wads of difficult chewing.
As for clean eating, I get a fair amount of oil on my fingertips, enough to lick and wipe before touching the keyboard.
Jonty Jacobs sells this Traditional 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 Traditional Cut of Biltong from Jonty Jacobs is much like the Lean Cut, but with a more beefy flavor stemming from the additional streaks of fat. It still has the vinegar and coriander taste as in the Lean Cut, as well as the touches of garlic and sweet, but is not as well pronounced due to the higher fatty/beefy character. The Lean Cut is cleaner and sharper in flavor, while this Traditional Cut is more beefy and oily.
Compared to other brands of biltong I've reviewed, this is first "fatty" biltong I've come across. While the extra fat does bring out more of the natural qualities of beef, it also dulls the vinegar, coriander, and other flavorings. In the end, neither is any better or worse, it's just matter of preference. Personally, I like the Lean Cut for the cleaner, sharper taste.
Sprinkling some extra Jonty Jacobs biltong seasoning really helps with this Traditional Cut.
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