South African Droëwors

Have you ever had this South African Charcuterie? Droëwors is literally translated to “Dry Sausage” and it’s not only incredibly delicious but it’s also incredibly easy to make.

Preparing the Meat

Getting fresh meat is extremely important when making high quality Droëwors. Try and avoid meat from the big box supermarkets or previously frozen meat. The fresher the better!! The reason is that fresh meat has the fewest amount of contaminants on it. As meat ages more unwanted bacteria begin to grow and this isn’t a good thing for sausage that will be drying at room temperature for several days.

I used beef for my Droëwors but you can use practically any game meat. Venison, rabbit, elk, bison, etc. If you want to use pork and pork fat to make your dried sausage, just make sure to add some curing salt to this recipe. I would add 1 tsp of instacure #1 for every 5 pounds of meat/fat that you have. This breaks down to 1.13 grams of curing salt for every pound of meat that you have (FYI)

As far as fat content goes, this really is a personal preference. I like my Droëwors a little on the fatty side so I tend to have a 30% fat content in my sausage. If you want yours to be a little leaner you can reduce the amount of fat to 20% if you choose. Just remember that FAT=FLAVOR.

Once the meat has been cleaned of any silverskin, sinew, or veins cut it up into pieces that can fit into your grinder. Droëwors is a coarsely ground sausage so I would recommend a 8mm or 10mm plate when you grind. I’ve been using a #12 grinder from the Sausage Maker for most of my medium to small projects and it works like a champ!! If you don’t have a grinder you can chop your meat with a nice sharp knife. Just make sure the pieces aren’t too big.

Spices, Mixing, and Stuffing

The spices for this dried sausage are very simple. Salt, pepper, toasted coriander seed, nutmeg, clove, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce. Coriander plays an important role in this sausage as it not only brings extraordinary flavor to the finished product but it also helps with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. Don’t forget to toast the coriander. It really helps release the oils, aromas, and elevates the flavor. I grind most of my spices with an Extra Large Mortar & Pestle but a food processor or blender both work find.

The addition of vinegar to this sausage helps slightly acidify the meat. Brown vinegar is what’s recommended but malt vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or even red wine vinegar all work as well.

Once all of the spices have been added to your meat it’s time to mix. This sausage isn’t processed the same way other sausage are, it’s a very loose mixture with minimal protein extraction. So mix lightly. With your fingers gently run them through the meat till your spices are well incorporated. The moment your meat and spices are mixed together (the mixture should be loose) refrigerate for 3 hours.

This 3 hour period is a curing period for our meat. The spices, vinegar, and Worcestershire sauce will all penetrate the meat, cure it, and season it. I like to let the meat rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours but overnight is perfectly fine as well.

Once the meat is cured, loosely stuff into 22-24mm sheep casings and prick with a sausage pricker. It’s now time to start drying.

Drying the meat

When it comes time to dry your Droëwors, all you have to do is hang it in a biltong box for 3-5 days. A biltong box is a very simple box that provides a constant flow of warm air over your sausage (think dehydrator but not as aggressive). Here is a video showing how we built ours.

Once your sausage has lost the appropriate amount of weight, it’s ready to eat!! I would start checking for doneness at around day 3. If you like the texture and flavor then it’s finished. The more you let it dry the more of a “chew” your sausage will have and the more concentrated the flavors will be. If you are weighing your sausage then the finished product will have lost at least 50% water weight. I personally like it at 55% – 60% weight loss

If you don’t have a biltong box (I would highly recommend building one), you can always just hang your sausages in a breezy area for several days. By a kitchen window or in your garage are both acceptable places. Just be sure to protect the meat from any insects while they dry.

How to store your Droëwors

The best way to store this sausage is in a vacuum sealed bag. This will keep the sausage from drying out any more than it already is. You can store these in the freezer for an indefinite shelf life, in the refrigerator for a 2-4 month shelf life.

You can also store these in a simple brown paper bag in the refrigerator. Consume within 2 weeks.

These sausages (depending on how long they were dried, do travel well. If you dried your sausage 4-5 days they will be more shelf stable at room temperature than if you dried them for only 3 days.

Enjoy the video and the recipe where I take you through the entire process of making South African Droëwors. If you have any questions let me know..

Here are a few things you might find useful when making this sausage

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4.41 from 5 votes

South African Droëwors

A South African Snack Stick
Prep Time4 hrs
dry time4 d
Total Time4 d 4 hrs
How much do you want to make? 1000 grams

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Toast the coriander and combine with the rest of the dry spices. Grind the spices.
  • Prepare the meat by trimming off any silver skin, arteries, and veins
  • Cut the meat and fat into pieces that are small enough to fit into your grinder.
  • Grind your meat on a course plate 8-10mm or chop your meat by hand ensuring that the pieces are not to big.
  • Add all of the spices as well as the vinegar and Worcestershire sauce to the coarsely ground meat.
  • Gently mix the spices in by simply running your fingers the the meat. You want this mixture to be loose. Once the spices are mixed in, place the meat into a bowl and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.
  • Loosely stuff the meat into a sheep casing and prick out any air pockets that are formed.
  • link the sausage and hang in your biltong box
  • Check for doneness at day 3 by tasting it. If you like the way it tastes and the texture of the sausage then it's finished. If you prefer your Droëwors to be more firm with a better "chew" then let it hang for another day or two..
  • Once your Droëwors has dried to your liking you can vacuum seal them and store in your refrigerator or freezer.

How to dry if you don't have a biltong box

  • Hang your Droëwors in an area with a gently breeze (kitchen by a window or garage). The ideal temperature should be between 70f and 80f (21.2c – 26.6c) and a humidity between 50% and 60%. MAKE SURE YOU PROTECT YOUR SAUSAGE FROM THE INSECTS

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8 thoughts on “South African Droëwors

  1. Jack
    Jack

    5 stars
    Great stuff!

    I’ve been thinking a lot about how to make this feasible in a commercial setting. I think I’d need to add a curing salt because it’s a ground/sausage product. The vinegar may suffice for S. aureus control, as long as the mixture was confirmed pH < 5.3. For salmonella and E. coli I'd probably need to do a thermal process or other 5D kill step. The easy version is 121 minutes at 130F in the sous vide.

    Any thoughts about this? If you make this again soon, could you please grab a pH on the mix and the final product?

    Also do you have a water activity meter? I'm really curious how that drops day by day during drying. I don't have one with me alas.

    Anyway I'll try it as soon as I can get my hands on some gear. If I get to either of these tests before you do, I will post the results.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      I would agree. Depending on where you live the regulations might be different but adding curing salt and a kill step would certainly make it super safe! The ph of the finished product was 4.96 (i just tested some). No water meter yet. Looking at a few but haven’t pulled the trigger..

  2. Johann
    Johann

    5 stars
    Hi Eric – thanks as always for great content. I buy a lot of whole rounds for breaking down into your excellent Biltong recipe. Would top or bottom round be sufficient cuts for this recipe?

    Thanks again!

    Johann.

    1. Eric
      Eric

      Yes. That’s what I typically use when I use beef in a sausage

      1. Johann
        Johann

        Oh, good. Thanks.
        Follow – up question (possibly dumb but I’m new at this). Where it calls for beef fat, if I don’t happen to have brisket fat at the moment, would frozen rendered tallow work? Or would that tend to end up melting and dripping out even at the mild warmth of a Biltong box?

        1. Eric
          Eric

          it will end up melting out in the warmer temps. Might give an unappealing mouth feel

  3. Magnus
    Magnus

    I am quickly becoming a fan of the channel on youtube and this website. I do have a question though. Approx. how much casings does it take for this recipe of 1 kg total (meat plus fat)?

    1. Eric
      Eric

      roughly 24 inches of casing (depending on the size)

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