Qatar Biltong vs. Beef Jerky: What's the Difference?

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Biltong QatarQatar biltong and beef jerky are both meat. They are both tasty and convenient snacks. While they may appear similar, these two delicacies have critical flavour, texture, and preparation differences. Learn more about what sets them apart to help you decide which one to try next.

What is Qatar Biltong and Beef Jerky?

Qatar biltong and beef jerky are two types of preserved meat that have been dried, seasoned, and cured for extended shelf life. Biltong originated in South Africa and is typically made with different cuts of beef, whereas beef jerky is a popular snack in North America made from lean cuts of meat. Both are usually marinated with a blend of spices, but the seasoning can differ. While they may seem similar at first glance, some distinct differences set them apart regarding taste and texture.
Qatar biltong is a popular snack in the Middle East, often made with imported beef from countries like Australia and South Africa. It's typically marinated with a blend of spices, including coriander, salt, pepper, and vinegar. The meat is dried in a warm, well-ventilated space for several days until completely dehydrated. The result is a tender, chewy meat snack bursting with flavour. 
On the other hand, beef jerky is usually made from lean cuts of beef sliced thin and dried out over low heat for several hours. The seasoning can vary widely but often includes soy sauce, brown sugar, and garlic powder. The texture of beef jerky can be rigid or leathery, depending on how it was prepared. Despite their differences in taste and texture, both Qatar biltong and beef jerky make great snacks for on-the-go or when you're looking for a hearty protein boost.

Seasoning Profile and Preparation Method

Qatar biltong is a savoury and delicious snack that has become increasingly popular in Qatar and throughout the Middle Eastern region. This dried meat treat starts with quality cuts of beef marinated with a unique blend of spices, ideally under the intense warmth of the sun. The combination of coriander, salt, pepper, and vinegar infuses the beef with an unmistakably spicy flavour profile that locals adore.
The marinated beef is then dried for several days until it reaches optimal chewiness - making it perfect as a snack or protein boost on the go. On the other hand, beef jerky's seasoning profile and preparation method can vary widely depending on regional or personal preferences. Nonetheless, both snacks offer convenient, hearty options when you need something fulfilling to chow down on.

The Process of Making Biltong vs Beef Jerky

The process of making biltong and beef jerky is similar in that they are both cured and dried meats, but there are some differences. Biltong is usually made with thicker cuts of meat, such as rump or silverside, whereas beef jerky is made with leaner cuts, like topside or flank steak.

Marinating Period

Biltong is generally marinated for a shorter time, usually around 24 hours, compared to beef jerky, which can be marinated for up to 48 hours. The spices used in each also differ, with biltong utilising a blend of coriander seeds, pepper, salt, and vinegar. At the same time, beef jerky often incorporates sweeter ingredients like honey or maple syrup.


One of the main differences between biltong and beef jerky is the texture. Biltong is usually thicker and chewier, while beef jerky is often thin and crispy. It is air-dried whole, whereas jerky strips are sliced before drying. Biltong may also contain visible fat, adding flavour and moisture to the meat.

Meat Processing

The process of making biltong is also different from beef jerky. Biltong is typically made from meat strips marinated in vinegar and spices, such as coriander and black pepper. After marinating, excess moisture is removed from the meat with a towel or other cloth. The heart is then hung in a well-ventilated area to dry for several days, which allows it to develop its unique texture and flavour.
As opposed to biltong, beef jerky is usually made with meat sliced thinly before being marinated in a blend of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke and sugar. The heart is then dried in a dehydrator or oven to deficient heat for several hours. Unlike biltong, beef jerky's texture tends to be more challenging and chewy due to its thinness and higher heat during drying. However, both treats are delicious and perfect for snacking on the go!

Differences in Flavor and Texture

Aside from the differences in meat cuts and marination, biltong and beef jerky vary in flavour and texture. Biltong has a slightly tangy taste due to the vinegar used in its marinade, while beef jerky is often sweeter because of the sugary ingredients added to it.
When it comes to texture, biltong tends to be softer and easier to chew compared to beef jerky, which can be more rigid and more leathery because of the longer marination time. Ultimately, whether you prefer the tangy, softer taste of biltong or the sweeter, chewier flavour of beef jerky is a matter of personal preference that depends on your taste buds.

Dried Meat Snacks

If you're a fan of dried meat snacks, you've likely tried both biltong and beef jerky before. While the two have some similarities, they also have distinct differences that set them apart. One of the most notable differences is in their flavour and texture profiles. Biltong has a more subtle flavour with a slightly tangy taste due to its vinegar-based marinade.
On the other hand, beef jerky is often sweeter because of added sugar and can sometimes have a smoky or savoury taste from added spices or seasonings. In terms of texture, biltong tends to be softer and easier to chew, while beef jerky can be more rigid and leathery due to its longer marination time. Therefore, when choosing between these two dried meat snacks, you must consider your preferences regarding taste and texture.
One thing to note about biltong is that it is traditionally made with game meat, such as venison or ostrich, rather than beef. This can also contribute to its unique flavour profile. Additionally, because biltong is air-dried rather than smoked like wide beef jerky varieties, it has a different texture that some people find more appealing. However, others may prefer the chewier, more substantial bite of beef jerky. Ultimately, both snacks have distinct qualities and offer a satisfying protein boost on the go or when snacking at home.

Biltong 100gNutritional Content Comparison

Regarding nutritional content, biltong and beef jerky have similar protein content per serving size. However, biltong is generally lower in sodium and sugar than beef jerky. This makes biltong a better option for those monitoring their salt and sugar intake. Biltong is also made with higher-quality meat cuts, making it a more nutrient-dense choice. Ultimately, both snacks can fit into a healthy diet in moderation, but picking biltong over beef jerky may be a wise choice if you're looking to cut down on sodium or sugar.

Nutritional Content in Snacks

When it comes to snacking, it's essential to consider the nutritional content of your options. Biltong and beef jerky are popular for those who love dried meat snacks. While both have a similar amount of protein per serving size, their nutritional profile has some notable differences. Biltong tends to have lower sodium and sugar levels than beef jerky, making it a better option for people monitoring these nutrient intakes. Biltong is generally made with higher-quality meat cuts, making it more nutrient-dense. Both snacks can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a healthy diet.

Considering Protein Content

Biltong is definitely worth considering if you're looking for a snack that's high in protein and low in sodium and sugar. A typical serving of biltong contains around 30 grams of protein, equivalent to about five ounces of chicken breast. In comparison, beef jerky tends to have slightly less protein per serving. 

Which One to Choose: Qatar Biltong or Beef Jerky?

Qatar biltong and beef jerky are both delicious but have some crucial differences. Biltong is air-dried meat originating in Southern Africa, while beef jerky is smoked or dehydrated meat from North America. Biltong may be the best choice if you're looking for a snack with lower sodium and sugar content and higher-quality meat. On the other hand, beef jerky could be your snack if you prefer a smokier taste and more texture. Ultimately, choosing between these two preserved types of meat is up to personal preference.

Comparison and Contrast

Qatar biltong and beef jerky may seem similar. Yet, they have some notable differences in taste, texture, and preservation. Biltong is made by air-drying strips of meat, typically from beef or game like ostrich or venison. Beef jerky is either smoked or dehydrated. Because biltong does not require high heat or direct smoke exposure during the drying process, it tends to have a more natural flavour. Yet it has less sodium and sugar than traditional beef jerky.
However, some people may prefer the smokier taste that comes with beef jerky. Another factor to consider is texture. Biltong has a softer, chewier consistency, whereas beef jerky can be more rigid and fibrous. Regardless of personal preference, both snacks are excellent protein sources and perfect for on-the-go snacking.


Qatar biltong and beef jerky are popular snacks from dried, seasoned meat. While they may seem similar at first glance, there are some key differences to consider when choosing between them. 
One of the most significant differences is in the preparation process. Beef jerky is typically marinated in a mixture of spices and salt before being smoked or dehydrated. At the same time, Qatar biltong is air-dried and coated with vinegar and spices. This gives each snack a distinct flavour profile. It may appeal more to specific taste preferences. Qatar biltong is known for its chewier texture than beef jerky's often challenging and fibrous consistency. Ultimately, whether you choose Qatar biltong or beef jerky comes down to personal preference for flavour and texture.