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There are two key stages to biltong – curing and flavouring. It’s essential to understand which vinegar is best for biltong and which vinegar to avoid.
The curing process makes the meat safe to eat but also plays a big part in flavouring and tenderising your meat. Making it super delicious, it will have you reaching for more.
A good biltong taste should be well balanced. The pH of biltong should range between 4.8 and 5.9, not that you need to measure it but if 7 is neutral then it should be just slightly on the acidic side. But does this really matter??
Can you use white vinegar for Biltong?
No. There are two types of white vinegar, regular white vinegar should absolutely not be used for biltong. White wine vinegar can be used but it is not the best option for making biltong. When thinking about which vinegar is best for biltong you need to understand the different vinegar characteristics.
The most basic regular white vinegar (or distilled vinegar) is made of acetic acid diluted in distilled water. Its flavour is very simple, essentially it’s just sour. Concentrations range from 5–7% acetic acid. Not to be confused with white wine vinegar which is made by allowing white wine to turn to vinegar. It has a much more mature and complex flavour profile.
Malt vinegar, cider vinegar and red wine vinegar
Any of these three can be used to make biltong and if you want to be a proper biltong nerd you should definitely experiment with all of them. ?
SO, which vinegar is best for biltong….there’s only one way to find out. Let’s see how they stack up.
Malt vinegar is a vinegar made from malted grains of barley. With its typically light-brown colour, it has a distinctive malt flavour. Great with fish and chips, not as great with biltong.
Although some biltong recipes use malt vinegar, we don’t think it’s the best vinegar to use. But if it’s all you have it will do the job just fine.
Apple cider vinegar.
Apple cider vinegar has various health properties, including antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. Evidence also suggests it may offer health benefits, such as aiding weight loss, reducing cholesterol, lowering blood sugar levels, and improving the symptoms of diabetes.
Unfortunately adding it to your biltong probably won’t magically make the pounds fall off, but it will add fantastic taste benefits. Apple cider vinegar is tart, with a subtle apple flavour and a pleasant clean finish. It leaves a dry, almost woody flavour.
Red wine vinegar.
Red wine vinegar is a great choice for making biltong. It also contains trace amounts of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and vitamin C, making a good case for upping your vinegar intake.
We love Aspall classic red wine vinegar, but it’s no real contest which vinegar is best for biltong. Fermented predominantly from Tempranillo grapes, Aspall Red Wine Vinegar has the great Rioja region running through its veins, both in its peppery nose and its hints of oak.
Which vinegar is best for Biltong, our TOP 3 picks
Which vinegar is best for biltong? It has to be red wine vinegar. The others are great runner ups, but here’s our quick summary and top 3 picks – in our order of amazeballness!
- Red wine vinegar, a clear winner because beef and red wine are a match made in heaven.
- Apple cider vinegar, a great runner up with subtle wood, dry, fruitiness also works really well especially with game meat.
- Malt vinegar, with subtle beer notes while not our top choice still adds great flavour. Especially if you don’t have anything else in your cupboard.
The number 1 rule: DO NOT USE REGULAR WHITE VINEGAR
It won’t ruin your biltong, but it has no flavour depth. It may also make your biltong too acidic and sour tasting.
I hope this helps you run with which vinegar is best for biltong, please leave your questions or comments below especially if you discover any new and awesome tips!