Thursday, September 18, 2008

Big Bird Jerky - Ostrich Biltong - Teriyaki

Big Bird Jerky - Ostrich Biltong - TeriyakiBig Bird Jerky is a brand of Stehly Ranch and Feeding Co., of Chowchilla, CA. They're behind this line of Ostrich Biltong which I've seen around in many places here in Southern California.

Biltong is of course, an African version of jerky. It can be made from any meat, and can involve any variety of seasonings. The difference is largely in the cure, where biltong relies on vinegar, jerky tends to rely on salt. Coriander is a popular spice used in biltong, yet is not often used in jerky. Salt is often used in biltong, but mainly as a taste as opposed to a preservative. Biltong is typically cut into very thick strips, whereas jerky is largely sliced into slabs.

In looking at the ingredients list for brand of biltong, I don't really see vinegar mentioned, except as included within in the soy sauce. Moreover, I don't see coriander either. It appears to be standard ostrich jerky, but advertised as "biltong" perhaps to help Stehly Ranch corner the biltong market.


Ostrich, teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, honey, pineapple juice, water, black pepper, liquid smoke, garlic, powder ginger.


There's a slight sweetness that hits my tongue immediately, and then the teriyaki flavoring comes on soon after that. Going into the chew, I get a taste of the natural meat flavors, and a slight bit of saltiness.

For being a teriyaki variety, this has a mild teriyaki taste. There's enough of it there to definitely be called teriyaki, but not overpowering. Moreover, it's clearly teriyaki as opposed to being soy sauce with sugar added.

The natural meat flavors of the ostrich are there, but not very strong either. It's mild tasting meat flavor. Ostrich generally tastes very much like beef, but is much more lean. You're largely eating ostrich for its leanness.

As for the other seasonings mentioned in the ingredients list, they too are very subtle. I don't really taste any of the black pepper. I don't really notice much of the garlic. The ginger is noticeable, mostly as a component of the teriyaki.

This biltong is largely bland. The dominant taste in this is the teriyaki sauce from the surface of these pieces. Moving into the chew, the teriyaki gives way, and I can actually taste more of the ginger. But the taste that dominates the chew is the natural meat flavors. Still, all of the flavors are mild; you're not getting anything here that knocks you on your butt.

Meat Consistency

These appear to be slices of whole meat, sliced thin to medium, and in small to medium sized pieces.

This is largely a dry biltong, with a sticky layering of teriyaki sauce. Tearing a piece apart takes a bit of elbow grease, but isn't really all that bad. Chewing is a little tough. But overall, I don't find this consistency to get in the way of enjoying the flavors.

Some of these pieces, mainly the thinner sliced ones, have a rubbery-like flexibility.

I don't see any bits of fat, tendon, gristle, or connective tissue. It's just pure meat.

Overall, it's a good meat consistency.

Big Bird Jerky - Ostrich Biltong - Teriyaki

Big Bird Jerky - Ostrich Biltong - Teriyaki
Product Value

I paid $5.99 for this 2 ounce package at a roadside fruit stand just south of Valley Center, CA. That works out to a price of $3.00 per ounce, making this very expensive.

For that price, this has a poor value. First, the natural meat flavors are weak, I don't get a strong taste. It's largely bland on taste. And most importantly, this doesn't taste like biltong. It's just plain ostrich jerky.

As a teriyaki variety, it's also a poor value, because while this product does give out a decent teriyaki taste, paying $3.00 per ounce just to get a teriyaki fix is still way too expensive.


I'm giving this a fair rating.

This ostrich biltong is not really biltong at all, but ostrich jerky. This doesn't appear to have been cured through vinegar, just salted and dehydrated. Had they advertised this as jerky, I might have given it a higher rating.

Moreover, it doesn't offer much on taste. I can get a decent taste of teriyaki and some taste of the natural meat flavors, but it's still largely a bland snack. That takes a lot away from its snackability.

However, it's not bad by any means. Just not anything exciting, and not anything resembling biltong.

A good wheat beer, or hefeweizen, might pair well with the sweetness of the teriyaki flavor.

Rating: Fair

Where to buy:
  • Good luck finding it!


  1. Ive had this jerky before in North County California going into Ramona. There is a stand outside that sells this jerky and others including many fruits and vegetables. I have to disagree with your rating. This ostrich jerky is absolutely AMAZING! I am a big beef jerky fan but this ostrach jerky is DELICIOUS! Unfortunately I live on Hawaii now and have to have my mom send it to me from California.

  2. I got some at Alien Fresh Jerky store in Bakersfield CA.

  3. I hate to tell you this but Biltong and Jerky are two totally different products, Biltong has been around in South Africa for the last 300 years, Salt is the main ingredient for Biltong and no heat is involved in the curing whereas Jerky is heavily flavored and heat is involved in the process, what you are getting in CA is Ostrich Jerky, and not Ostrich Biltong which is not available in the US. It would be illegal to advertise this as Ostrich Biltong as USDA would consider this as adulterated branding and non compliant.