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Can You Freeze Biltong Meat?

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By Ross Young

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Biltong meat is thinly sliced, dried, cured meat that is popular in South African countries such as Botswana, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. It’s comparable in many respects to beef jerky and is sold in vacuum packs that preserve its flavour.

When opened, biltong is best enjoyed within five days. Is it possible to freeze biltong meat to preserve it for longer? Let’s take a look now.

Because it has been cured and dried, biltong meat can be frozen for up to 12 months. You will need to make sure it’s tightly wrapped and protected from freezer burn to ensure it is nice and tasty when you defrost and eat it. 

Does Biltong Freeze Well? Sometimes

Can You Refreeze Biltong? No

How to Freeze Biltong Meat

Before we explain how to freeze biltong meat, you should be aware that doing so can affect its texture. The freezing process can cause it to toughen, which isn’t a problem for everyone but is off-putting for some.

If you have a pack of unopened, vacuum-packed biltong meat, you can simply place it in the freezer without breaking its seal. This is by far the best way to preserve it in the freezer and will ensure the meat is protected from freezer burn.

However, if you’ve already opened your pack of biltong meat, you can still freeze it by following the steps below: 

  1. Wrap Tightly
    Freezer burn is the single biggest threat to the quality of your biltong meat during the freezing process. As such, you need to make sure it’s wrapped tightly before you freeze it. We’d recommend double wrapping your meat in cling film or tough aluminium foil. 
  2. Place Into a Freezer-Safe Bag
    After you’ve wrapped your biltong meat tightly, place it within a freezer-safe bag. Then, push as much air out of the bag as you can before sealing it. 
  3. Label and Freeze
    Write the date that you purchased the biltong meat, as well as the use-by date on the front of the freezer-safe bag, before transferring it to the freezer. Remember, you can freeze biltong meat for around twelve months. 

3 Tips for Freezing Biltong Meat

Now you know how to freeze it, we’ve got our 3 top tips which we strongly recommend following when freezing biltong to have the best results:

Watch Out For Mould
Once you break the seal on your biltong vacuum pack, you need to watch out for mould that may have formed on its surface. Mould forms when there is moisture and little air circulation, and needless to say, it will make your biltong taste bad. You shouldn’t freeze your biltong if it is showing any signs of going mouldy. 

Keep it Dry
You can extend biltong meat’s shelf-life by keeping it cool and dry. The wetter it becomes, the shorter its lifespan is. Therefore, when storing biltong before freezing it, make sure air can flow around the meat. In South Africa, biltong is often hung to dry in cool dark places to preserve it before eating. 

Use Vacuum Packs
If you plan to refrigerate your biltong, use a vacuum pack. This will protect your biltong from moisture. However, it’s much better to store your biltong at room temperature until you’re ready to enjoy it. 

How Long Can You Freeze Biltong Meat?

You can freeze biltong meat for around twelve months. 

Although the texture of your biltong meat might change slightly, and it may be a little tougher than you like after thawing, it will still retain much of its flavour and taste. So, if you have no issues with your biltong toughening, you can freeze it for up to a year without any issues.

You Can Freeze Biltong Meat for up to 12 Months

How Do You Defrost Biltong Meat?

The process of defrosting biltong needs to be closely monitored, as it can easily spoil. Defrosting it will release a lot of moisture, so you need to make sure it has sufficient airflow, or it will go bad.

You should defrost the biltong at room temperature and open the package. You may also need to daub it with a paper towel to remove any surface moisture during the defrosting process.

Neglecting to do this will ruin your biltong and renders the whole freezing process pointless.

Can You Refreeze Biltong Meat?

You should only freeze biltong meat once. Because moisture severely affects the texture of biltong meat, refreezing it will ruin its texture and may even cause it to go mouldy.

You should only defrost a portion of biltong meat that you know you will be able to eat, or you risk the leftovers going to waste.

Does Biltong Meat Freeze Well?

Freezing biltong meat can cause it to toughen, so you should only freeze it if you have to.

Providing it’s well wrapped, and you pay close attention to the biltong meat during the defrosting process, you shouldn’t encounter any major issues with freezing biltong, and it should be fine to enjoy in the freezer for up to one year after you’ve purchased it. 

Related FAQs

If you’ve still got questions about freezing biltong meat or biltong in general, then these may help:

Does Biltong Go Bad?

Because it is cured, it will have an extensive shelf life which means it’s often not necessary to freeze it as freezing it will not extend its life. Instead, keep it in an airtight container. 

Can You Freeze Droewors?

Droewors can be frozen in much the same way as biltong. The most vital step is to ensure it is stored airtight and avoid moisture getting into the meat which can spoil it. 

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