Justin Bonello’s biltong carpaccio

Inspired by his time in the Karoo, Justin Bonello dreamt up this recipe for what he admits could either be “the most expensive biltong you’ve ever made, or be the tastiest carpaccio ever.” Serve in a salad, on top of bruschetta, or in a hearty soup.


equal quantities of salt, white pepper, roughly crushed peppercorns, chopped garlic, brown sugar and dried chilli flakes
loads of toasted, crushed coriander seeds
a splash of red wine vinegar
a splash of Worcestershire sauce
1 kg best quality free-range beef fillet
a biltong box, or a well-ventilated and safe space to hang the meat


First up, mix together equal quantities of the spices in a bowl. If you make too little, you can always make more – it’s all a bit of trial and error, and over time you’ll be able to refine the spice mixture to suit your palate, so remember to write down your recipe! Next, add a generous splash of vinegar and Worcester sauce to the spices and combine. Depending on the size and shape of the fillet, cut the beef lengthways into two or three strips. Put the fillet in a glass bowl, then pour the spicy sauce over it. Make sure all the meat is covered and give the fillet a decent massage for good measure. Cover with cling wrap and leave in the fridge overnight so that the meat can soak up all those lekker flavours.

The next morning, hang the meat in either a biltong box or a cool room to dry out. The idea is not for it to be completely dry, like you would do for normal biltong, but for it to be slightly dry on the outside, while still deliciously moist on the inside. I hung my meat for two days, but this was in the Karoo, and you’ve got to keep in mind that the time it takes to dry depends on the wind, weather, temperature and a whole whack of other things – so make sure to check it daily.

Slice the biltong carpaccio very thinly and serve as part of a salad, by itself as a snack, or on top of bruschetta with beetroot soup. I think this was one of the best inventions I’ve ever conjured up.

Extract republished with permission from Justin Bonello’s Cooked in the Karoo., published by Penguin.

Justin Bonello - Cooked in the Karoo


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