There is something to be said about being polite in today's world.
But that isn't what this blog post is about. In fact, it is our intention to be rather impolite towards an entire product category that has the word "JERK" in it. Can you guess? Are we being too coy?
Listen, we know Americans enjoy beef jerky. It's a $1.6B industry with a healthy growth rate. This "meat snack" market sector is predominantly owned by three major producers and they can be found in quite literally every single convenience store and grocery store on the map. Jerky is fun - it's often sugary and full of the same preservatives and artificial additives one might expect to find in a Twinkie. I personally admit to having a Twinkie addiction as a kid. Twinkies and Ding Dongs, those delicious little hockey puck cakes with the white sugary frosting on the interior. And lest we forget Little Debbies. Oh my, but I digress. The point is simple: fun does not equate to healthy or nutritious.
We have a natural animosity towards jerky over here at Biltong Baron Headquarters. We're constantly lumped into the same category, and it feels an awful lot like ordering a dry aged New York Strip and having someone serve you a hot dog instead. It's offensive. It's violating. It's unacceptable. It compels you to fling that weenie right into the restaurant owner's face and say something to the effect of, "HOW DARE YOU serve me this inferior frankfurter when I asked for a USDA dry-aged premium steak!"
When people ask if our product is basically beef jerky, it hurts our feelings. Sometimes we cry, other times we schedule a follow up with our psychiatrist. It's like telling a Michelin Star chef they are a "good enough cook." Or asking an astronaut if they're basically a pilot. It's like comparing an apple to an orange; a cat to a dog; a rainbow to a soggy storm cloud; a stiletto to a slipper; a diamond to a lump of coal; a glass of Bordeaux to a cup of grape juice concentrate.
Biltong is nothing like beef jerky other than the fact that beef is the only real common denominator. Often compared to Italian prosciutto, biltong is an unadulterated cut of premium meat that air dries in a chamber designed with the ultimate level of sanitization in mind. It's not pumped full of flavorings like liquid smoke or corn syrup, and it's not pieced together to look like an actual slice of steak. Biltong IS an actual slice of steak. Ask an Italian if prosciutto is akin to Spam ham in a can, and you'd be wise to run for the hills because we're pretty sure Mama's wooden marinara spoon will come flying your way.
It's not possible to compare jerky to biltong. Take a bag of each, any brand of each, flip them over and tell us you see the same nutritional profile. Tell us you see the same ingredient list. We dare you. Biltong will always have a crisp, concise ingredient list that is entirely void of anything artificial, any type of sugars*, and any words you can't pronounce**.
Why the astericks, you ask?
* We refuse to use processed ingredients BUT...we keep toying with the idea of possibly using all natural honey or maple syrup in a future recipe. Of course this recipe may add sugars, and we're trying to resist, but you never know. I feel like a Korean short rib-inspired recipe may be on the horizon, and our team is keen to fiddle around with honey as the only ingredient that might add a sweet profile.
** We don't know which words you can and can not pronounce. Some folks may stumble on "ginger" or "turmeric," and that is perfectly okay. The point being that we will never have food additives or preservatives on our ingredient list.
Moving on, gentlemen don't get entangled with jerks. The Biltong Baron refuses to play in the same sandbox with beef jerky brands. We're not snobs or elitists. Rather, we are purists and we want our customers to enjoy a wholesome product that is hand crafted, nutritionally sound, USDA-certified and simply delicious. Ask us if our product is like beef jerky and we forgive you in advance, and we still love you, and the answer is just plain no. Tell us you love jerky and we will pass zero judgement, but we ask that you give biltong a fighting chance. Confess you love BOTH jerky and biltong...well fair enough, we can play nice if it means we get to win you over and have a place in your pantry where you store "grab and go" snacks. Just don't say we are the same as jerky or you'll promptly receive our psychiatrist's bill in the mail, and mind you, he charges a whopper of an hourly rate.
The Biltong Baron