Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/21/2009
Publication Date: 6/1/2009
Citation: Zhuang, H., Savage, E.M., Smith, D.P., Berrang, M.E. 2009. Effect of dry-air chilling on sensory descriptive profiles of cooked broiler breast meat deboned four hours after the initiation of chilling. Poultry Science. 88:1282-1291.
Interpretive Summary: Chilling of poultry carcasses or meat down to 4.4oC is an essential step in chicken postharvest processing to control microbial quality and safety of marketed products. In the U.S., ice water immersion chilling (IC) has been the primary chilling method; however, air-chilling (AC) has gained popularity in recent years. One of the benefits of air-chilling that have been claimed is to enhance the flavor and texture quality of chicken meat compared to water immersion chilling. But there is a lack of updated, published data to demonstrate this advantage. Our current research showed that when compared to no-chill chicken breast meat, the chicken breast meat that was chilled using a dry-air chilling method followed by 4h postmortem deboning showed the same sensory flavour quality and different sensory texture quality. However, there were no differences in the sensory texture and flavour quality between air-chilled samples and water immersion-chilled samples deboned at 4h postmortem. Our study demonstrates that air chilling, like water immersion chilling, could be an effective process to retain flavour and can improve texture quality of early-deboned chicken breast meat. However, it does not have any advantage in improvement of both sensory texture and flavour quality compared to immersion chilling. These published results supply useful information to today’s poultry processors in the U.S.A. who are interested in air-chilling technology for chicken processing.
Technical Abstract: Air chilled chicken products are gaining popularity in the USA. It has been claimed that air chilling (AC) results in improved tenderness and flavor of broiler meat compared with immersion chilling (IC). However, there is a lack of published sensory study results to support the claims. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of a dry-AC method on sensory texture and flavor descriptive profiles of broiler breast muscle, pectoralis major (p. major) and pectoralis minor (p. minor) deboned at 4h postmortem compared to those of the muscles hot-boned (no chill) and immersion-chilled. Total 120 eviscerated carcasses (from 6 weeks old broilers) were hot-boned, chilled by ice water immersion (0.3oC, 50 min) or chilled by AC method (0.7oC, 150 min) (40 birds per treatment). Both ice-chilled and air-chilled p. major and p. minor were removed from the bone at 4h postmortem. The sensory properties of cooked chicken breast meat were evaluated by trained panelists using 0-15 point universal intensity scales (21 attributes). Our study shows that the average intensity scores of the 9 flavor attributes analyzed ranged from 0.9 to 4.0, and regardless of breast muscle type, there were no significant differences between the three treatments. The average intensity scores of the 12 texture attributes ranged from 1.5 to 7.5 and there were no significant differences between the AC and IC muscles. The average intensity scores of the mechanic texture attributes, cohesiveness, hardness, cohesiveness of mass, bolus size, rate of breakdown and chewiness of the hot-boned samples were significantly higher than those of either of the chilled samples, which were not different from each other. These results demonstrate that the AC method can retain flavor and change texture of pre-rigor chicken breast meat when compared to no chill. However, AC does not show any advantage in maintenance and improvement of sensory qualities compared to IC method.