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  • Writer's pictureStruan Bourquin

BBQ Snacks That Don't Suck: South African Drywors (Droëwors)

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

High in protein, low in carbs and fat, this South African favourite is possibly the best savoury snack you could imagine. Basically a sausage version of the legendary Biltong. Great for a pre-barbecue snack (who doesn't want a meaty snack before a meaty main) or any other social gathering. Drywors is to South Africans what soppressata is to Italians, chorizo is to Spaniards, or even what beef jerky is to Americans, just better! There are a few hacks below to make it super easy to make!

Drywors droewors

The History of Drywors:


Before we delve into the kitchen, let's take a historical interlude. Droewors, meaning "dry sausage" in Afrikaans, has been a beloved snack in South Africa for generations. Visualise the sun-soaked savannas of Southern Africa, where early pioneers needed a method to preserve meat for lengthy cross-country expeditions. And thus, drywors was birthed - a tantalising amalgamation of salt, spices, and air-drying that encapsulated the spirit of the region. Over time, it progressed from a practical solution to a cherished indulgence relished during gatherings, festivities, and moments of solitary gratification.


In the recipe below, I'll provide you with a quick, easy version that will save you from slaving in the kitchen for hours.


South African Drywors Recipe

Easy Hack: you can either grind lean beef or simply buy lean beef mince (5% fat). If you use store-bought mince, get it from a quality butcher/store and ensure it isn't vacuum-packed. It needs to be loosely packed so that you can ensure your spice mix is evenly distributed.

Special Equipment:


Kitchenaid fitted with meat grinder and stuffing attachment
  1. A meat grinder: if you aren't using the hack above. I use a meat grinder attachment that fits onto my KitchenAid.

  2. A sausage stuffer: this you can't avoid, you'll need a stuffer in order to get the meat into the casings. I have a set of nozzles that fit my meat grinder, but you can buy a relatively low-cost alternative which probably will do as good a job.



Ingredients


Another hack: By far the simplest, and often most cost-effective way to ensure you have stellar drywors every time, is to buy a drywors spice mix (see links below). It has everything you need to avoid having to buy jars of spices that you only need a fraction of, that you may otherwise not use very often.


But the ingredients list isn't too exotic, and you very well may have all you need at home.


Per 1kg of meat -

  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (avoid iodised table salt)

  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, lightly pan roasted and crushed (or use powder in a pickle)

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon allspice

  • ¼ teaspoon cloves

  • 30 ml malt vinegar

  • 30 ml Worcestershire sauce (replace with more vinegar if needed)

  • 19 - 22mm collagen casings


Directions


  1. Place your ground meat into a sheet pan and spread evenly.

  2. Sprinkle spices across the surface of the meat.

  3. Evenly spread the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce over the meat.

  4. Using your hands and a spatula, gently turn and toss to evenly distribute the spices and liquids.

  5. Place the collagen casings onto the nozzle of your sausage stuffer and start to fill the casings with the seasoned meat.

  6. Don't fill the casings too tightly.

  7. Pick any air bubbles that may appear to ensure even drying.


Drying


Hang the drywors in a warm well-ventilated area for approximately 3-4 days.


To my wife's dismay, I simply hang my drywors from the rafters in my garden shed using meat hooks (or paperclips bent into an "S"), with the door wide open to allow ample ventilation. Because the sausage needs to dry out, ventilation is critical. You can even face a fan to blow directly onto the hanging sausage to keep the drying process going on a still day. Aim to make your drywors when the weather is forecast to be a minimum 20ºC for a few days.


During cooler months, I hang my drywors in the oven with only the fan running, no heat produced by the oven at all, with the oven door left open slightly to let the air escape.


And within 3 days, you should have a delicious savoury snack, enjoy!



Links to ingredients/equipment:



Please note: while this post isn't sponsored, it does include affiliate links which help to keep us going when you make a purchase through any of these links, at no cost to you.

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