Making Chilli sticks

Getting the basics right

Chilli sicks are a  snack  made in South African cooking and charcuterie with Chillies. In essence, Chiili sticks are thin slices of meat that are marinated, coated in spices (including Chilli flakes) and then dried. They are very similar to American beef jerky. Nothing is more straightforward to make and such a  treat to eat.

Chilli sticks , however, need a suitable climate to be made successfully. Chilli sticks  need to be dried in a cool,South African cooking with Chillies. Chilli sticks dry environment with good air circulation ( even a light breeze if possible). Unless you live somewhere that meets those conditions, I have no doubt that a biltong box is the only  way to make Biltong or Chilli sticks.  It makes things  so much easier. After you have marinated  and added the salt to the meat you are ready to start the drying process . You simply hang the meat strips up in the biltong  box, and it does all the work for you. A low wattage light bulb and a   fan help to dehydrate the meat. All you are left to do is check after a day or so. If your Chilli sticks have dried to your preferred level of dryness,  there you are. Perfect  Chilli sticks. All the guesswork (and stress) has been taken care of . The only thing to do is vacuum seal the sticks in plastic . This is to ensure that  they don't dry out any more and stay fresh.

From here your life will never be the same. Your friends will be suddenly visiting more often and not be happy unless you offer them some .  Be warned,  Chilli sticks are highly addictive !


To make about 600  to 700 grams of Chilli sticks, you will need the following ingredients South African recipes. Spices for potjiekos

  • Silverside – one kilogram
  • Coarse salt – two tablespoons
  • Cider vinegar -  75ml
  • Worcester sauce – two tablespoons
  • Dried  coriander -  ¼  of a cup
  • Black peppercorns – two teaspoons
  • Brown sugar - one tablespoon
  • Chilli flakes – one tablespoon

It is always preferable to use meat that has some fat on it. This fat is really delicious when the meat has dried. Always use the freshest meat you can get.

  1. Cut  the meat into slices 6  to 12 inches in length and about half an inch thick.
  2. Mix the Worcester sauce and the vinegar.  Pour about a quarter of the mixture into  a flat dish.  Stack a layer of meat on top of this  . Now pour some more of the vinegar/ sauce mixture over that. Continue in this fashion until all the meat has been placed in the dish. Finish with the last of the mixture
  3. Cover with cling film and place in the refrigerator for an hour.
  4. Remove from the refrigerator. Take the meat out of the dish. Now beginning with the layer that was  previously on top, start stacking the beef in the container again. In this way, you ensure that meat will be marinaded equally in the vinegar / Worcester sauce mixture.  Cover with cling film and place in the refrigerator for a further hour.
  5. Place the coriander seeds in a frying pan. Toast on low heat until they are starting to  become fragrant.
  6. Remove from  the heat  and allow the seeds  to cool down.
  7. Place the black peppercorns and toasted coriander seeds into a grinder. Grind coarsely
  8. Mix the salt with the ground spices, the Chilli flakes  and the sugar.
  9. Using a teaspoon sprinkle the marinated pieces on both sides with salt/spice/suger mix.
  10. Place back in the refrigerator for two hours.
  11. Brush of any excess salt and spices.
  12. Hang the meat in a biltong box to cure

As soon as the meat is hard to the touch, the Chilli sticks are ready. You should be able to break the sticks when bending them.  The time it will take will depend on the biltong box that you use, but this shouldn't take more  than a day or two. Once you have decided that the Chilli sticks are to your taste, take them out of the box and vacuum seal them in plastic.  This step is entirely optional, though. Chilli sticks have a habit of  rapidly disappearing!


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South African Chillies