Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/24/2007
Publication Date: 11/23/2007
Citation: Huezo, R., Northcutt, J.K., Smith, D.P., Fletcher, D.L. 2007. Effect of chilling method and post-mortem aging time on broiler breast fillet quality. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 16:537-545. Interpretive Summary: A study was conducted to determine the effects of poultry chilling method (dry air or immersion) and post-mortem carcass aging time on broiler breast fillet quality. Broiler carcasses were obtained from a local processing plant and chilled by cold-air blast or immersion in an ice water bath. After chilling, carcasses were held in a cold room for different time periods before cut-up and deboning. The pH of breast fillets was similar when fillets were aged for the same length of time on the carcasses. Method of chilling has no effect on raw breast fillet color; however, aging time on the carcass had an effect on fillet lightness. Tenderness of immersion chilled fillets removed immediately after chilling or after holding for 100 minutes corresponded to texture previously designated as “slightly tough” to “tough” by sensory panels. After 24 h aging, tenderness of all fillets was in the range considered to be “tender” to “very tender” by sensory panels. Cook yield of air chilled fillets was higher than immersion chilled fillets for all post-mortem aging times. Results show that rigor may develop at a faster rate when carcasses are air chilled as compared to immersion chilled; however, post mortem aging is still required for maximize fillet tenderness.
Technical Abstract: A study was conducted to determine the effects of chilling method and post-mortem aging time on broiler breast fillet quality. One hundred-fifty eviscerated broiler carcasses were removed from a commercial processing line prior to chilling and transported to the laboratory. Half of the carcasses were chilled by dry air, while the other half was chilled by water immersion. Immersion chilled (IC) carcasses were divided into 3 groups (0, 1.67 and 24 h) based on post-mortem fillet aging time on the carcass. Air chilled (AC) carcasses were divided into two groups based on fillets aging time (0 and 24 h). Because AC requires more time, fillets removed immediately after chilling (0 h) were aged for the same length of time as the 1.67 h IC fillets. Average pH values of IC and AC fillets were similar when fillets were aged for the same length of time post-mortem. Method of chilling has no effect on raw breast fillet color; however, post-mortem aging time had a slight but significant effect on fillet lightness. Shear values of IC fillets removed 0 and 1.67 h after chilling were similar and corresponded to sensory panel categories of “slightly tough” to “tough” (> 8 kg/g). Shear values of AC fillets deboned at 0 h (8.4 kg/g) were lower than IC fillets (10.3 kg/g) aged for the same length of time (1.67 h). After 24 h of aging, shear values for IC and AC fillets were < 8 kg/g and corresponded to sensory panel categories of “tender” to “very tender”. Cook yield of AC fillets was significantly higher than cook yield of IC fillets for all deboning times. Results show that air chilling has an effect on rigor mortis, but post-chill aging time is always required to maximize the proportion of tender meat.