The glamorous location of Beverley Hills most likely calls to mind movie stars, mansions and Eddie Murphy as detective Axel Foley. What it probably won’t conjure, for most people, is biltong. But one small South African shop in the Californian city is making the news for just that: biltong, droëwors, and boerewors.
According to Central and Southern Californian television Network KCET, the biggest seller at European Deluxe Sausage Kitchen is the biltong.
“European-style sausages may have been the foundation of the shop when it opened in 1948, but it’s the South African speciality products that keep the brick smoker churning today,” says The LA Times.
Apparently the German butcher and his predecessor started making biltong and boerewors after a request from the South African Consulate General’s office. “The embassy asked for jerky, so I made it . . . simple,” the former owner, 71-year-old Willie Kossbiel, told The LA Times.
Thanks in part to the 30 000-odd South African expats in the LA area, the additions took off. The shop also stocks various jars of peri-peri sauce, chutney and boxes of Nuttikrust biscuits.
While jerky is common in the States, biltong, which both sites helpfully translate as ‘buttock tongue’ (maybe ‘rump strip’ would be more appealing?) is less familiar. Butcher Gary is quick to explain the differences between the two: “Beef jerky is sliced very thin and partially cooked to a certain temperature. We air dry [the biltong] to a certain dryness that is safe to eat, but it’s not cooked. There’s less heat and the flavour is different. We always use the same meat cut, the beef bottom round. It takes about seven days to produce.”
Judging from recent photos, the biltong isn’t all that much more expensive than ours back home. At $20 per lb, it’s around R260 for 450g. So in the event you find yourself in Southern California, at least you know you’ll have plenty of wors and biltong to feast on.