When it comes to a dehydrator vs biltong box dryer, you may want to know which is best and how to dry biltong fast. Don’t be fooled, fast isn’t always better and super dry isn’t always super fly. If you haven’t tried making biltong yet, you should! Check out our Authentic DIY Biltong Recipe.
What are the disadvantages of drying food fast?
Naturally dried food does not taste the same as fresh food. If done well it enhances the flavour of what you’re drying, but done badly can be tough and chewy. Sometimes leftover moisture can cause mould in dried foods that are not stored properly.
So when it comes to the food dehydrator vs biltong box which is truly better?
How to dry biltong fast
If you want to know how to dry biltong fast, there’s only one tool for the job a Dehydrator.
A food dehydrator is a really useful kitchen appliance used to dehydrate food (remove moisture/water content). They comprise of a built-in fan and a low amount of heat, together this creates warm airflow. This hot air reduces the amount of water, reducing the moisture and drying the food in the process. It’s commonly used for fruits, veggies, meats and fish.
Using a food dehydrator helps you with how to dry biltong fast because it can operate at quite high temperatures 30°C to 90°C emulating an oven at it’s highest. While this can be handy for drying some foods fast, this does not work well for biltong. Anything over 50°C and you are slow cooking, you DO NOT WANT THIS!
Food dehydrators can give you great results, sometimes even better than a biltong box dryer but it’s really important you set your biltong to the correct temperature…
IMPORTANT: Set tempreture at 30°C to 40°C (MAX)
Learning how to dry biltong fast, the most important rule is that biltong is not fast food and you need to be patient. Whatever you do, don’t nuke your lovely meat on the max temperature. Drying in a food dehydrator will be quicker than a biltong box dryer, but it will still take patience.
Biltong box dryer
A biltong box dryer the more authentic and original way of drying biltong. Growing up in South Africa we used to hang biltong to dry outside in 30°C sunny heat or sometimes in a cardboard box to keep the flies away.
You can easily simulate ‘african heat’ by using or making a biltong box dryer.
It works in a similar way to the food dehydrator but is less intense. A light bulb (or heat lamp) heats up the box and a fan blows air around the box, the air flows over the meat and out of the holes at the top.
This removes the moisture from the meat drying it in a graduate way.
Asking the food dehydrator vs biltong box question here, slower is better.
Dehydrator vs biltong box
When it comes to the dehydrator vs biltong box, there is no stand out winner. Unless you want to know how to dry biltong fast. In that case it’s a food dehydrator.
Both the food dehydrator and the biltong box produced great biltong. The dehydrator is absolutely quicker taking around 2 days to 3 days at 30°C to 40°C and is better if you need of a quick fix. The biltong box is slower taking around 3 days to 7 days with a temperature of around 20°C to 35°C, because the temperature isn’t always as regulated as the food dehydrator is can be harder to know when your biltong is done. (TIP: Give is a gentle squeeze if it’s firm with a little bounce back it’s good to go.)
However, the dehydrator is definitely better for smaller and thinner pieces (0.5 to 1cm max) of meat and does not work well for larger thicker slabs of meat because this restricts the airflow between layers.
For larger slabs of meat (1cm to 2cm) the biltong box is far better because it accommodates larger pieces allowing for better airflow between the meat and with thicker pieces you tend to end up with a more moist biltong at the end.
From my taste perspective, in the food dehydrator vs biltong box battle. I like the larger pieces from the biltong box, this is how we make our Lekker Bru biltong….because it’s Kiff!