Betsy’s Boerewors – Edmonton, AB

Betsy’s Boerewors
6928 104 Street NW
Edmonton, AB T6H 2L7
(780) 988-5050

While traveling around Southern Africa, things like meat were often in short supply. After all, animals that are generally food inefficient, from a food mass consumed to food mass produced ratio, are a luxury in many of the impoverished areas. I, being an unapologetic carnivore, would have a tough time without a daily dose of protein. Thankfully, I had stocked up on a great selection of biltong before leaving SA – marinated, air dried strips of meat that came from a variety of animals – kudu, springbok, oryx, beef, ostrich, and other exotic animals. Unlike jerky, biltong is cured in vinegar, seasoned, and air dried. Many people who aren’t familiar with it are a bit taken a back at first, but it really grows on you. After leaving South Africa, I had particular cravings for several charcuterie items – predominantly chillibites, and biltong. Lucky for me, my best friend noticed a South African deli called Betsy’s Boerewors had opened up on Calgary Trail, and quickly investigated. Sure enough, they had all of our favorites, though with an Alberta twist – their products are mostly beef.

Betsy’s Boerewors are a family-run South African deli, and based on the number of ex-pat South African’s who shop there, they are either the best game in town, or the only game in town. They are very friendly, with samples of all their products to try. Very proud of their product and their heritage, they carry all your standard South African deli items – from boerewors and droewors, to biltong, chillibites, and pies. Boerwors are essentially fresh sausage. Their boerewors are fresh minced meat, well-seasoned, and loaded with a good amount of fat. Their garlic wors are even better – big garlic flavour. Both the droewors, which are cured and dried sausage sticks, and the aforementioned biltong are loaded with coriander flavour. However, the Chillibites are my favorites. Sticks of fatty, chilli seasoned beef that have been air dried – essentially edge strips of well marbled biltong that have been dried into the best pure beef version of a hot rod you’ve ever had. There is melt in your mouth striations of beef fat that attack your taste buds with bursts of beef essence, while your jaw gets a serious workout from the tough, with the grain beef cut, and some acidity and spice from the vinegar and chilli. These are one of the best snacks you can possibly have – no additives, great flavour, and preserved for easy consumption. Not that they last long. In parts around the world, they use biltong and chillibites for teething children. An expensive hobby to develop young for sure!

Other than charcuterie type items, they also serve a variety of pies, and accompaniments. Im not 100% sure if it is the British influence in Southern Africa, but many countries all serve versions of meat pie. Likely originally to disguise meat that was slightly off, staples like peppered steak, chicken and mushroom pies, curry chicken, and cornish pasties were commonly available, and generally quite excellent. The pies at Betsy’s are even better – as they use top quality ingredients, and they come in a sizeable portion for $4 – $4.50. These sizeable morsels are especially good right out of the oven, so keep your eyes open.

I’m not sure things like biltong and chillibites are for everyone. Definitely quite firm (though Biltong comes in moist, semi dry, and dry versions), the vinegary taste is definitely slightly different from the jerkys and other preserved meats we have here in North America. But I love it, and find them quite addictive. Most people I have introduced them to feel the same way. If you’re feeling a bit adventurous, stop in, try a sample or two, and be prepared for a new flavour experience.

Betsy's Boerewors on Urbanspoon

21 thoughts on “Betsy’s Boerewors – Edmonton, AB

  1. Im sorry rene – im not 100% sure. They arent always open ,that’s for sure. I know they are closed Sundays. Possibly closed Mondays, but i cannot verify that. They are open something like 10am-5pm on the other days. That’s just a best guess on my part. Hope that helps a little bit.

  2. Pingback: Words of Wind - Sphere of Influence - Biltong | Words of Wind

  3. That’s what that place is!! I’ve been driving past for months and always wondered what it was. Never had a chance to go in.

  4. Definitely go in and say hello. Betsy will give you a free taste, and you’ll find it tough to leave without buying biltong, chili bites, and meats pies!

  5. Sorry I did not read it earlier. But I have been to Betsy’s quite a few times and can just recommend her with all my heart. All you’ve written above is as it is. Biltong in our family is called “Lion meat” as my youger son thought Betsy is getting her meat from South Africa…
    Her shop is now open on Mondays and she closes at 4 pm as far as I know.

  6. Just wanted to say I stopped in there yesterday, and your ‘post’ here is printed out and proudly displayed inside by the counter! Brought a smile to my face.

  7. I’m with Wren- we go past that every day and did not have a clue what it was (when you’re whipping down Calgary Trail in rush hour, who knows).
    The pie looks amazing- we may have to stop if we’re by there in time!

    • Definitely do. I’ve been on a big value kick lately, and I can tell you, they are phenomenal value. You won’t regret it 🙂

  8. We went on the way home from dog training today- Saturday is the only day we will make it I think.
    We tried two little pies, the curry pasty and got the meat and egg casserole thing that we will probably have for dinner tomorrow night.
    We got a little bottle of chutney that sadly broke on the way home. It looked and smelled good. Will have to try it next time.

  9. I just wanted to say that I’m a born and raised Canadian, who got the opportunity to go to South Africa for 10 weeks…upon returning I had the biggest craving for Biltong….and Besty’s Boerewors did a really great job at fulfilling that craving!! I LOVE THIS PLACE!!

  10. excellent! I tried biltong for the first time this summer while visiting SA, and I’m so excited there’s a place to get good stuff in Edmonton!! I hope they have kudu 😀

    • Sadly, no Kudu. I asked, and they laughed at me. I wanted Oryx too! They do have rusks now though…in case you are missing out on any teeth breaking adventures!

  11. The new South Edmonton Boere Butchery opening soon in the Mall; full range of SA style cut’s, Biltong& Boerewors and local Alberta Karoo Lam Braai Tjops!

    See you soon!

  12. Biltong is great stuff, but if you are buying it or making it you need to make sure it’s good quality. Some really old recipies ask for “saltpetre” which has been shown to be bad for human health and should be avoided.

  13. To all expats out there, Betsy’s South African Deli has great biltong and boerewors. They also had great boerewors rolls with a touch of tomato and onion source on Saturday.

  14. Andrew I am thrilled with your shop and all the new products you and Yvonne are selling. You mustt have gained a lot of new customers since I was last there. All the best for the future, Dad.

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