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Mexican Carne Seca

South Africa's favorite meat snack
Prep Time1 hr
dry time2 d
Total Time2 d 1 hr


  • 2270 g cleaned bottom round or top round trimmed and cut into 2mm - 3mm thick slices - against the grain
  • 45.4 g kosher salt


Prepare the meat

  • Start by using a leaner cut of meat. Remove the fat cap and clean up any gristle, arteries, or silver skin that might be on the meat.
  • partially freeze your meat to make it easier to slice
  • Once partially frozen, slice your meat very thinly against the grain. Try to keep your slices 1/8 of an inch (3mm) or slightly smaller. A deli slicer comes in real handy for this part.

Weigh the meat

  • Once all your meat is sliced, place it on a scale to weigh it. Record the weight.
  • You can enter the weight of your meat into this recipe under the box "how much do you want to make" and it will automatically calculate how much salt you need or you can just multiply the weight of your meat by 2%. That's how much salt we are adding.
  • I like to add my salt a little at a time as I mix between additions. This just ensures that the meat is salted evenly.
  • Once the meat is salted cover and place in your refrigerator to cure for 1-4 hours.

Drying the meat

  • After the meat has finished curing, it's time to start drying. I like using a dehydrator for this step. If you plan on using a dehydrator, set the temp to 105f and check it after 18 hours. Depending on the thickness of your slices it should be done or close to being done at that time.
  • If you plan on using a biltong box to dry your meat then it might take 48-72 hours to completely dry the meat. Just check the meat half way through the drying process to make sure it's drying evenly. If there are areas that are very moist rearrange the meat so that it can dry more uniformly.
  • After the meat is completely dries (should tear easily and form white fibrous creases when it's bent) then your carne seca is finished. Store in a cool dark place in an air tight container. This does not need refrigeration.