Being a child of the UK, my native snack foods are mostly of the potato-crisp and chocolate-bar variety. I’ve only sampled jerky and biltong on the odd occasion at festivals and have been aware that I’m probably missing out on something, so I was keen to get stuck in when invited to try the products of local producer D.Jays Gourmet.

Started by a husband and wife team over 20 years ago supplying friends and family, D.Jays Gourmet has grown to become Australia’s leading supplier of packaged jerky and biltong. Operating from the same WA factory for over 16 years, its product range also includes Boerewors, a South African sausage.

D.Jays Gourmet kindly provided me with samples of traditional & mild pepper soft biltong and traditional, chilli & smokey beef jerky varieties.

I was aware that both products are traditional ways of preserving meat, but what’s the difference between biltong and jerky?

Biltong has its origins in South Africa, and the meat is air-dried after being doused in vinegar and rubbed with spices and salt. Biltong is dried after slicing for between one and ten days, depending on the desired dryness and thickness of the meat.

Jerky has its origins in North and South America, and the word “Jerky” is derived from the native American word “Charqui” which literally means ‘to burn meat’. Jerky is sliced before drying, which takes only one to two days, and the end-result is generally drier than biltong.

Side by side – biltong on the left and jerky on the right – you can see there’s quite a difference.

So how did I find D.Jay Gourmet’s jerky and biltong? For a start, much nicer than other varieties I had tried before. My preference was for the chilli (no surprise there) and I was pleased to find all of it much less salty than I was expecting. I also got used to the texture quickly, and found myself going back for seconds.

As for biltong vs jerky…texturally I preferred the biltong, which is moister and less chewy than the jerky, although I preferred the overall flavour of the jerky – particularly when it came to the chilli – which is definitely more about the taste of the spices than the meat itself.

The D.Jays Gourmet factory is located in Malaga and not too far from my home, so I dropped in with my camera to say hello.

The friendly staff were more than happy to feed me their products, but unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures in the factory itself due to the proprietary techniques in use.

D.Jays Gourmet ship their products all over Australia, and  you can buy their products by weight if you visit the factory. There are also some varieties only available on-site, including a special “marble” biltong that I sampled, which was made from meat with a higher fat content than other varieties.

I also tried the extra-hot chilli jerky which was my favourite of all 🙂

If you’re a fan of biltong and jerky – or if you’re like me and new to the whole experience – then D.Jays Gourmet is the place to start.

Available at retailers at retailers including Caltex service stations, BWS liquor stores and IGA supermarkets, all D.Jays Gourmet products are high in protein and low in fat so there’s no excuse not to give them a go. If you’re in WA, you can visit their Malaga factory on weekdays.

Check out the D.Jays Gourmet website for more information, or to purchase products from their online shop.

D.Jays Gourmet
22 Midas Road, Malaga WA 6090
(08) 9248 8277

Shop opening hours
Mon-wed 7:30am-4:30pm
Thu-Fri 7:30am-3:30pm